Higher taxes on meat and flights needed to reach climate goals, Dutch study says

Higher taxes on meat and flights needed to reach climate goals, Dutch study says

In a new report, government ministries have issued a stark warning to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet, stating that tougher measures are required if the Netherlands is to reach the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Netherlands aims to reduce emissions by 60 percent by 2030

Signed by representatives from the Netherlands back in 2015, the Paris Agreement states that by 2030 the country needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels. The current coalition government has committed to cutting emissions by 60 percent, in order to accommodate for any potential setbacks. 

While 2030 is only a few years away, a large-scale study conducted by civil servants working across several government departments has concluded that the Netherlands is far from reaching its goals - indeed, a study published at the end of last year revealed that the country is instead on track to reduce emissions by between 39 and 50 percent.

Higher taxes on meat and flights needed to reach Dutch climate goals

The researchers say that tough measures will need to be taken if the country hopes to significantly reduce emissions over the next seven years. In the report, they list a series of potential solutions, many of which focus on raising taxes on high-emission products and services.

For example, researchers advise the government to raise the tax rate on gas while lowering the tax on electricity, in the hopes that this would encourage residents to reduce gas consumption and seek out other more environmentally-friendly energy sources. Similarly, the report calls for a higher tax on meat and dairy products. The proceeds of the tax could then be used to invest in more sustainable farming technologies.

Finally, in what is likely to be one of the more controversial plans set out in the report, researchers call for yet another increase to the passenger tax, especially for long-haul flights. At the start of 2023, the tax rate on flights rose from 7,95 euros to 26,43 euros per ticket, but the study argues this isn’t enough. Instead, they suggest raising taxes to between 75 and 150 euros per ticket for distances of over 2.500 kilometres.

Government ministries call for higher taxes and tougher policies

The proposed changes would affect transportation, housing, and food policy in the Netherlands, as well as farming and other industries. Some of the other key measures set out in the study include:

  • Raising the tax rate on non-electric vehicles 
  • Ensuring that all lease cars are electric from 2025 
  • Implementing changes to better prevent food waste 
  • Encouraging citizens and residents to eat more plant-based proteins 
  • Ensuring that all owner-occupied homes are insulated from 2025
  • Tightening the insulation regulation requirements for homes (e.g. all residential properties must have an energy rating of at least B from 2033)
  • Ensuring farmers reduce livestock numbers by 30 percent

Researchers estimate that implementing the proposed policies would cost the country around 7 billion euros. In response to the advice, Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten said there was much to be discussed and decided. “There is now a whole menu of possible measures that we can use. There will be a lot of political discussion about that. Ultimately, I want to present a package that everyone can participate in,” NOS quotes Jetten as saying. He’s set to present his plan in the spring.

Thumb: Markus Mainka via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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