On 13 February 2019 the first copy of the Report ‘The costs of the Energy Agreement’ was presented to Frits Bolkestein during a meeting at the Royal Institute of Engineers (KIVI) in The Hague.
For more information about the report see here . (Use Google translate to see costs to average family)
Here is the word of thanks from Frits Bolkestein.
First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the promoters and authors of this bulky report for their invitation to me to be the first to receive this report.
As I said, it is a bulky report. In terms of size, it fits with the reports we are used to from official government institutions, such as the CPB and the PBL. But this is a report that comes from private initiative – from society – without public funding! As far as I know, it is therefore unique in that respect.
For a vital democracy, an active involvement of society in the design of government policy is crucial – especially where themes in principle can have a profound influence on our prosperity and way of life. In short, in that perspective, nothing but praise for the initiators.
The report is larded with figures and graphs. As such, it is a favoured land for the betas among us. The alphas, among which I count myself, and where the overwhelming majority of political decision-makers must also be expected to belong, will probably take note with admiration, yes, even awe. But they will probably have more difficulty understanding its implications.
Yet I would like to call on them to make the necessary intellectual effort. In the end, the proposed energy policy is a collective national enterprise, which has been compared by some commentators with the post-Second World War reconstruction. Certainly not a small beer, to express it euphemistically!
In order to avoid misunderstanding, it must be emphasized that this does not concern the financial consequences of the so-called Climate Agreement – so far only a concept – to which the Climate Tables have recently made proposals. These proposals are now being examined by the CPB and the PBL, which will soon issue an opinion on this.
No! This is a policy that has already been decided in the framework of the so-called Energy Agreement – an agreement that is already being implemented and that involves a huge amount of money. The resulting policy has far-reaching income consequences for the Dutch population. But in comparison with the climate agreement it can yet not be considered to be more than a foreplay – as a first step.
And that first step appears to have drastic consequences, as you have heard from the previous speakers. Per four-person family, a total of 25,000 euros is to be spent on it, half of which has already been spent or pledged to operators. Until recently almost unnoticed, but this year the energy bill for many families is rising by hundreds of euros, and thus also the price of the purchases with a comparable amount. Both as a result of the now almost forgotten Energy Agreement. This sheds dark shadows on the effects of the Climate Agreement, yet to be concluded!
The enormous scale of the costs is aptly illustrated in the report by contrasting it with all major post-war projects of this country: 28 billion euros. There we received the Delta Works, the Betuwe Line, the High Speed Line (HSL), the North / South Line and the Joint Strike Fighter. All are intended as pillars under our prosperity and security.
We also heard that from 2025 onwards, sub-modal families in the Netherlands will probably lose their vacation allowance entirely to the costs of the energy transition.
The lowest brackets already have a very low disposable income at the moment and need the holiday allowance almost entirely for necessary expenses. Probably, many families will therefore get into financial problems because of the substantial increase in their energy bills. This is already the case in Germany and is called the Energy Armut (Poverty) phenomenon. This is a very worrying prospect.
The current debate in politics is not about the level of the costs, but their distribution: the suggestion is made that these costs are bearable if we just put a large share on the backs of industry. That is also refuted in this report. All additional costs of the energy transition ultimately end up with the citizen, regardless of how you disguise it.
Finally, the report emphasizes that the method of settling the costs (namely largely through the energy bill, outside the government budget), not only affects the people where they are most vulnerable, in their disposable income, but also affects the economy in its heart, namely, in the turnover of SMEs, the job engine of the country and the anchor of our social structure. This is rightly called for attention.
Thus some important conclusions of this report.
Now there is a cost-benefit analysis of the Energy Agreement for us. That is profit!
But I would like to add two caveats.
In the first place, this analysis – and I repeat it even more for the sake of certainty – does not concern the draft climate agreement, which the climate tables recently proposed. That concept agreement concerns policy until 2050 and promises to become considerably more expensive than the Energy Agreement. There are estimates of the tenfold!
In the second place, this cost-benefit analysis – to put it mildly – is rather partial. In modern Dutch you could say that it was ‘framed’ in the wrong way. After all, the costs in money are compared with the benefits of avoided CO2 emissions, as is also the case in the official information provided by the government. But in the end it is not that! It is about avoided warming!
What then is that avoided global warming? And is global warming harmful to the Earth and humanity? This avoided warming is so small that it is not measurable – not even at the end of the century. And the mainstream of environmental economists believes that low global warming has in the end a positive effect on nature and humanity.
I have been involved in Dutch politics for many years. In the course thereof, I have learned that in many parts of the political spectrum there is an almost irrepressible need for us as Dutchmen to profile ourselves as a guide country. But the guide must be careful not to lose his followers. On our own, we can not save the planet – as far as that would be necessary.
In this light I would like to repeat what I wrote earlier in ‘de Volkskrant’.
Crucially, the question is what we are all doing this for. Various independent experts have calculated that the hypothetical cooling effect – hypothetically, because on the basis of climate models (which have so far proved unreliable) – of the Dutch climate effort on a global scale at the end of this century is so small that it is not measurable. Both de Volkskrant and the NRC have subjected this statement to a fact check and came to the conclusion that it was correct.
It is clear that the policy, as set up by the climate tables, leads to great sacrifices, unrest and division in society. In this light, it seems sensible to take a breather in climate policy, so that we can arrive at a renewed, rational, non-emotional evaluation of what we want, based on the latest scientific insights and the cost-benefit analysis of the proposed measures. do it.
I hope that politics will decide to do this and also hope that in doing so it will give the report the attention it deserves.
Link to the full document in Dutch: