The Dutch are critical of the current climate policy of the Dutch government. They fear the consequences for their wallets and consider the burden sharing between companies and citizens to be unfair. That concludes the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) in the report on Tuesday Climate approach: future-determining choices for our society, for which 2,384 adults were surveyed on a sample basis.
The belief that climate change is happening, the concern about it and the importance of combating climate change are widely supported in society. A majority of those surveyed (65 percent) believe that rapid action is necessary because “otherwise it will be too late”. Measures such as saving energy and switching from fossil fuels to green energy are supported by three quarters of the respondents. In addition, a small majority of those surveyed are also willing to take steps against climate change within their own household.
Despite this benevolence, many citizens currently seem dissatisfied with Dutch climate policy. About three quarters of those surveyed fear that the current measures are insufficient to combat global warming. A group of about the same size is concerned that climate policy will suffer financial loss. Also, almost two thirds of the respondents disagree with the burden sharing. They believe that companies are relatively less heavily taxed than citizens in the climate issue.
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In addition, four in ten respondents believe that “a small group of Dutch people impose climate measures on the rest”. For example, they feel that they are insufficiently involved in the formulation of policy. An equally large group of citizens believes that the climate approach restricts certain freedoms, so that they “cannot enjoy anything anymore”. According to the SCP, this sentiment may be due to the emphasis in climate discussions on behavioral restrictions, such as driving less, flying less and eating less meat.
The measures to combat climate change are received differently in the research. Respondents are particularly in favor of making homes more sustainable (about eight out of ten), followed by raising taxes on companies that use fossil fuels (almost three quarters). Many Dutch people (almost six in ten) also seem to be in favor of a subsidy for the purchase of electric cars. About half of the respondents support the introduction of a flight tax. There is significantly more support for taxing companies more than for taxing citizens, for example through price increases on airline tickets.
The EU member states recently reached an agreement on a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2030. According to the SCP, the report illustrates that combating climate change is not only a technical or economic, but also a social challenge.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of June 22, 2021