Many cities around the world have good climate plans, while Dutch cities don’t have much room to manoeuvre

Many cities around the world have good climate plans, while Dutch cities don’t have much room to manoeuvre

Cities like Madrid, Milan, Oslo and Paris are doing well in developing climate plans. And there are more every year, says the Environment Agency’s Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). It annually publishes a list of cities that can call themselves leaders in climate action. Of the 119 cities on this year’s list, a surprising number are in the UK. In the Netherlands, no city made the list. how is that possible?

CDP is a non-profit organization that encourages companies around the world to be transparent about their climate impact. Since 2018, it has also called on cities to make their climate plans public. They then monitor whether empty promises are made. To be selected by the CDP, cities must, among other things, make their climate policies public, have an inventory of city emissions, and publish a climate action plan. During the first edition of the list in 2018, only 43 cities were included in the list.

Several American cities were named leaders this year. In Europe, cities such as Madrid, Milan, Oslo and Paris are doing well. Things are also going well on the other side of the Channel. Last year there were 19 cities on the list in the UK, and this year 26.

Little room to maneuver

Are we that bad here in the Netherlands? No, says Mark Rolfsema, a researcher at the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). According to him, it can be due to two things that British cities are doing so well: “First, our national climate policy in the Netherlands is relatively strong. And in countries where climate is not on the agenda or lower, cities have to take the initiative themselves. “Local governments in the Netherlands do not have much ‘room to manoeuvre.’ Our policy is strongly focused on the national level.”

The researcher welcomes the fact that cities and companies are making their climate plans transparent. “This way, scientists can test whether agreements are being properly adhered to. It is also important for companies that are not accused of Greenwashing“.

Provide data annually

What are they doing well across the channel according to CDP? “British cities are showing great ambition to reduce their emissions. They are doing this by publishing scientifically proven targets,” a spokesperson said. Additionally, according to the CDP, many UK mayors belong to the C40, a global network of mayors. Who are taking action on the climate crisis.

CDP says there are Dutch cities that provide data, but do not make it their top priority. “The priority of providing us with numbers is to make room for the actual implementation of climate plans. So, while there are 119 cities on the list, there are of course many more cities that are showing climate leadership.

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