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Environmental damage and energy tax reform: the Dutch challenge


The ‘green result’ of the Dutch energy tax system could be significantly improved by better aligning the tax structure with overall environmental damage costs. Energy tax reform in the Netherlands should be prioritised on the basis of its long-term contribution to a robust tax structure, not only in terms of its revenue-raising capacity but also its environmental regulatory impact.

Visible energy transition in the Netherlands


The Netherlands National Energy Outlook reveals that objectives for renewable energy and energy saving cannot yet be achieved, but climate targets will be. Employment in the energy sector is shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy and energy saving.

Climate researcher wins wager with climate sceptic


Late 2009 PBL climate researcher Bart Strengers had an online discussion with climate sceptic Hans Labohm. Strengers wagered that the mean global temperature over the 2010–2014 period would be higher than the mean over 2000 to 2009. According to the UAH today, temperatures appear to have been an average 0.1 °C warmer over the past five years than over the 10 years before that.

Global CO2 emissions increase to new all-time record, but growth is slowing down


2013 saw global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reach a new all-time high. This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies over the past ten years.  However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2%) than on average in the last ten years. This slowdown signals a further decoupling of global emissions and economic growth.

Proposed climate policy pledges important step forward but fall short of 2°C


Pledges to reduce emissions in China, Europe and the US provide an important step forward for climate change action, but a more comprehensive effort is needed to stabilize the climate below critical thresholds. Climate finance can cover investment gaps and alleviate distributional tensions. This study looks into several key negotiation issues on the road from the climate summit in Lima to the one in Paris 2015.


Smart Cities - Visualising the Challenge for 21st Century Urbanism

The discourse on ‘Smart Cities’ is everywhere. It promises an era of innovative urban planning, driven by smart urban technologies that will make cities safer, cleaner and, above all, more efficient. Efficiency seems uncontroversial but does it make for great cities? In this book, Maarten Hajer, Director-general of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Ton Dassen, urban sustainability researcher at PBL, plea for a ‘smart urbanism’ instead of uncritically adopting ‘smart cities’.

Green Gains: In search of opportunities for the Dutch economy

If the Netherlands is to remain a strong player in the global economy, it needs to intensify its efforts in greening its economy. The Netherlands lags behind competing neighbouring countries, who began their transition towards a green economy earlier, focus more on doing so, have ambitious long-term targets in place, and invest heavily in research. The business community by itself cannot bring about a green Dutch economy; the government also has an important role to play. What is needed is a stronger, greener innovation policy.