Dutch province of Gelderland accelerates climate goals with the CO2 Performance Ladder


Dutch province of Gelderland accelerates climate goals with the CO2 Performance Ladder

The Dutch provincial states of Gelderland has recently adopted a motion to obtain a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder. This means that the province is ready to put plans into actions and achieve its ambition to reduce 49 percent of its carbon emissions by 2030. “A government that is serious about its climate policy cannot escape the responsibility to reduce its own carbon emissions. This is where the CO2 Performance Ladder will assist us”, says Titus Visser, fraction member of the political party PvdA within the provincial states of Gelderland.

Frontrunner in the fight against climate change

By adopting the motion, the highest administrative body of the province of Gelderland has decided to structurally reduce its CO2 emissions with the help of the CO2 Performance Ladder. In this motion the provincial states requests the operating body of Gelderland to initiate a trajectory of certification on the Ladder. Moreover, the motion states that the CO2 Performance Ladder is an excellent instrument to reduce the carbon emissions that result from the activities of the province. Several political parties have signed and supported the motion, PvdA among others.

“The cause for this motion is the fact that the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Water management (I&W) has recently obtained its second certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder. We noticed that there are plenty of governmental organizations that implement the Ladder in their tenders and procurement practices. However, there are only few public authorities that arrange audits performed by external parties to assess their efforts against climate change and thus obtain a certificate on the Ladder”, says Visser. Other than the ministry of I&W, the Dutch municipality of Renkum is certified on the CO2 Performance Ladder. “Climate change is an urgent problem that requires our immediate action. Therein governments play an important part. A government can barely uphold its credibility if it fails to act upon its climate responsibilities and does not become a frontrunner by setting the right example in terms of CO2 reduction.”

Energy agreement of Gelderland

The fraction member found support for the motion in different layers of the organization. “We have been assessing our climate goals for some time now, which made me confident about the support that this motion would receive”, says Visser. The fraction member refers to the Energy agreement of Gelderland, in which more than 200 organizations and institutions within the province of Gelderland collaborate in the fight against climate change. The agreement includes a statement of municipalities of Gelderland to implement the CO2 Performance Ladder within their organizations in an effort to cut back their carbon emissions. “The motion ensures that the province receives a push in the right direction to start the certification trajectory on the CO2 Performance Ladder.”

According to the fraction member, there are only a few governments that have obtained a certificate on the Ladder, because there exists a certain hesitance. Governments have heard of the system, but are in some cases not entirely convinced of its added value. Visser: “It is important to set up clear agreements for us to be fully prepared for the implementation of the Ladder. For this reason, we have contacted the municipality of Renkum and asked about their experiences. Based on our conversations, we can conclude that Renkum is very positive about the value and function of the Ladder. They managed to acquire their ambitions of CO2 reduction with the help of the CO2 Performance Ladder.”

“In our experience, there are two aspects that make a certificate on the Ladder valuable. The instrument provides substance to climate goals and ensures transparency, both internally as well as externally. With a certificate on the CO2 Performance Ladder, a government shows that it is serious about its climate policy. Moreover, a certificate on the Ladder strengthens a government’s position when it requests other parties to act on their responsibilities towards climate mitigation.”

Critical and transparent

“The CO2 Performance Ladder is an instrument that supports organizations in structurally cutting back its carbon emission. The instrument does not contain requirements that do not contribute to achieving climate goals. That is why the ministry of I&W decided to obtain a certificate. I can only imagine that other governments will follow the example of I&W and take the next step with the CO2 Performance Ladder”, Visser continues.

“Climate change is a problem we must face together as citizens, organizations and governments. On the one hand, governments need to encourage different parties by means of laws and regulations to take effective measures against climate change. On the other hand, governments can accelerate climate policies through finances. It is for example absurd that the greatest consumers of energy have lower taxes on their energy consumption compared to individuals that considerably consume less energy. An example of these practices on international level is the global usage of kerosene that does not require for users to pay taxes. By letting the greatest polluters pay for their impact, an organization can therefore achieve more in terms of sustainability.

Against this background, it is in my opinion of utmost importance for governments to become frontrunners in climate mitigation by cutting back their own carbon footprint first. It is not only important to encourage other parties in climate mitigation, but also to become transparent and vulnerable as a government by letting external parties assess your efforts in reducing carbon emissions. This is where the CO2 Performance Ladder becomes essential.”

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