Dutch parliament to set target of 95 percent CO2 reduction by 2050

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Dutch parliament will approve a law requiring the Netherlands to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050, compared with the level in 1990, lawmakers representing 75 percent of the seats in the Dutch Lower House said on Wednesday.

The law also targets a 49 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and requires the electricity supply to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The proposed bill, expected to come into effect next year, did not give an estimate for the cost of reaching the goals, nor an indication of how they might be achieved.

The Netherlands, where emissions of greenhouse gasses were 13 percent lower last year than in 1990, is among the most polluting countries in the European Union.

“Politicians can’t deny climate change,” said Jesse Klaver, leader of the environmentalist Green Left party, at the presentation of the draft bill.

“This makes clear which targets we should meet,” Socialist Party leader Lilian Marijnissen added. “These can no longer be discussed.”

The ministry of Economic Affairs has asked all sectors involved in the reduction of greenhouse gasses to come up with plans to meet the climate goals in the coming weeks.

But progress has reportedly stalled as large industrial companies fear they will become less competitive if the Dutch want to take on climate change faster than other European countries.

Industry is responsible for a quarter of the total CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, with 12 large companies responsible for 75 percent of that amount.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Potter