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The Netherlands can be climate neutral by 2050 without adjusting its economic structure, according to new research by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). A condition is that the production of biobased raw materials and green hydrogen will be scaled up considerably.
Editorial office / The Hague

PBL calculated over 30 techno-economic pathways and concludes that postponing or excluding options in advance will make achieving climate neutrality in the Netherlands in 2050 almost or even completely impossible. All raw materials and techniques are useful and necessary, including the use of biofuels, CO2 capture and storage (CCS) and adaptations in agriculture and rural areas.


In cost-optimal paths to a climate-neutral Netherlands in 2050, electricity production will grow by a factor of 3 to 5. More than half of the energy will come directly or indirectly from solar, wind and nuclear power. Biofuels (3 to 6 times more than today) and hydrogen will become the necessary replacements for today’s fossil energy carriers, especially for the production of advanced aviation and shipping fuel and as feedstock for the chemical industry. Scaling up production and logistics for biofuels and green hydrogen in the short term is urgent. However, in the period up to 2050, these indispensable substitutes for fossil fuels will remain scarce. Burning biomass for power generation is therefore not an obvious option.

If the availability of biofuels and hydrogen is insufficient, changes in the use of energy and raw materials will make climate neutrality in the Netherlands in 2050 considerably more expensive or even impossible, PBL warns. In that case, climate neutrality is only feasible through more CO2 storage or a different lifestyle that uses considerably less energy and raw materials.

A climate-neutral Netherlands in 2050 does not have to be entirely fossil-free, by the way. In most calculated trajectories, some fossil fuel is still used, the emissions of which are compensated within the Netherlands.

See the PBL website for more information.

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