The Netherlands needs to ramp up taxes on gas, meat and long-distance travel if it is to meet its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, researchers have said.
A study commissioned by energy minister Rob Jetten said the measures were needed to force changes in people’s consumption habits and save around 22 megatons in carbon dioxide and other emissions.
The interdepartmental study warned that hard choices were needed to hit the target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 55% of 1990 levels by 2030, with an aspirational goal of 60%. On current estimates the Netherlands is on course to achieve a maximum of 50%.
Laura van Geest, the executive chair of the financial markets regulator ACM, who chaired the working group, said in her introduction to the report: ‘Achieving our climate goals is not a soft option. Hard goals require hard choices. No pain, no gain.’
Implementing the plans would cost the government and citizens around €7 million, the researchers said. Jetten said the costs could be partly offset by adjusting some of the plans in the cabinet’s €35 billion energy transition plan, as well as with relief measures for the lowest incomes.
The proposals include raising taxes on domestic gas use and reducing them for electricity, to stimulate the energy transition. The date for ending sales of petrol or diesel cars for business customers should be brought forward to 2025.
The report also says long-haul flights should be taxed more heavily and exemptions to energy tax for heavy users such as the glasshouse industry should be phased out.
Higher taxes on meat and dairy products would encourage people to adopt more environmentally friendly diets and also support the government’s aims of reducing the total cattle herd, in order to cut nitrogen compound emissions.
Jetten described the report as ‘stimulating’ and said ‘a lot of political debate’ needed to take place before the government decides how to implement the report.