Interview about the Dutch National Elections 2017

Interview with the Renovate Europe Dutch National Partner – the National Renovation Platform

How did energy renovation feature in the Dutch national elections?

Strangely enough there was all but no attention towards energy-efficiency and climate in the weeks and days before the elections. Could it be, that the political leaders thought, that that was of no interest to the Dutch voters? Or could it be that they wanted to avoid the subject, due to the huge financial impact it’s going to have in the coming years? The latter seems to be more probable, since so many people in the Netherlands have deep concerns about climate and energy in the future. Especially young people have taken a considerable interest in the matter.

How did NRP contribute to the debate?

NRP Spaar het Klimaat focused on the political leaders and worked to organise two political debates to raise attention around energy efficiency in buildings among candidates for the new parliament. It also focused on raising support for candidates who declared their support to stop energy waste in buildings. The campaign website was launched and approximately 100 000 followers on twitter and facebook were informed. 8 candidates of 6 political parties (CDA, PvdA, D66, Greenleft, ChristenUnion) signed the declaration.

On 25-2-2017 we hosted the first political debate, in cooperation with football club SC Heerenveen with 7 candidates for the Parliament: VVD, PvdA, CDA, D66, Greenleft, ChristenUnion and 50Plus. Following the success of this debate we scheduled the second debate on 12-3-2017 in Amsterdam in cooperation with the Amsterdam Arena. Due to the fact that a debate on this issue was clearly, in the end, not in the interest of all political parties, it was called off a few days before the debate by withdrawal of one of the leaders. An argument that was used at that moment, was that the issue of climate change was part of the last public debate on television.

How do you think the new government will tackle energy renovation?

Traditionally the Association of Employers in the Netherlands contribute publicly and with great influence on national political matters. They have chosen to demand a “green agenda” for the next government. In their motivation there are lots of words about the positive economic impact of such a choice and especially where building and renovation of real estate is at stake. It’s likely that this will have an impact on the political agenda.

Although almost absent in the Dutch political debate, in the written and agreed programs of the respective political parties, energy and sustainability, are important chapters with detailed plans and goals. That’s why I anticipate a thorough discussion on the “green subjects” in the formation of a new government, now the elections are over. That’s unavoidable, because all parties seem to take the Kyoto-Paris obligations about the climate very seriously.