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Netherlands sociologist says government addressing climate change

  • Mandy deWilde was the keynote speaker for a conference on climate change held October 10 at the L. William Seidman Center, sponsored by the Koeze Ethics Initiative in the Seidman College of Business.

Posted on October 11, 2018

Mandy deWilde, a researcher with the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, said Dutch government and business officials are committed to addressing climate change.

deWilde was the keynote speaker for a conference on climate change held October 10 at the L. William Seidman Center, sponsored by the Koeze Ethics Initiative in the Seidman College of Business.

"There has been a shift in political discourse over the past four or five years in the Netherland," said deWilde. "Ambitious programs have been proposed to address the effects of climate change." 

deWilde said the use of polders, a piece of land in a low-lying area that has been reclaimed from a body of water by building dikes and drainage canals, is being used as a way to reduce the effects of climate change. 

deWilde said the Dutch Climate Agreement, a proposed law supported by seven political parties, would mean the most carbon reductions in the world.

"The agreement calls for a 95 percent reduction in emissions and 100 percent carbon neutral electricity by 2050," she said. "The Dutch government would also be obligated to present an update on climate plans every five years."

deWilde said grassroots efforts to address climate change are increasing, citing the landmark Urgenda lawsuit against the Dutch government.

"The ruling said the government must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the end of 2020," she said.

The conference included panel a discussion on energy policies and practices, and business progress and profit in an age of climate change.

Panelists included representatives from the Michigan Public Service Commission, Consumers Energy, Environment Law and Policy Center, Steelcase, Meijer, Perrigo, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Grand Rapids, Sierra Club, Climate Witness Project, and U.S. Green Building Council - West Michigan Chapter.