The increased focus on climate change, pollution and pressure on resources is not unique to one part of the world. However, one aspect of the discussions in the Netherlands is that of nitrogen emissions. In general, nitrogen emissions destroy flora and fauna, pollute the air, and have become a huge concern in combatting climate change. With the issue being a global one, countries must come together to resolve it, which is why treaties such as the Nitrogen Oxide Protocol were developed. As a result, the Dutch government brought in a strict policy to rapidly reduce emissions. Now, it seems that this legalised policy was much too optimistic in the realisation of the set goals, considering other economic issues and societal welfare. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled back in December 2019 that the government was obligated to uphold its own policies about reducing nitrogen emissions. In these policies, the Dutch government aims to reduce emissions by a minimum of 25% compared to those in 1990, which is used as a frame of reference in global nitrogen emissions. Since current reductions are set at around 15%, the likelihood of success looks slim. At this point in time the Dutch government proposes strong measures to be executed, but these have been somewhat relaxed due to the impact of COVID-19. Dutch senators have approved of multiple necessary measures to reduce emissions, as well as ground contamination. These measures have consequences for construction projects, livestock and the improvement and restoration of the nature sites known as Natura 2000. Next to lowering the speed limit (which has already been introduced during the day) and creating nitrogen limits for events, the government is trying to further reduce the emissions from livestock. After proposing a cut in livestock by half, farmers went on strike several times. In response, senators approved three other motions. One of these motions was asking the cabinet to be more forthcoming and open on their nitrogen calculation models.
Click here to learn more.