Climate Change:
How does the Netherlands take action?

Our climate is changing. In the Netherlands and its surroundings, temperatures are rising even faster than the global average. How does climate change work and what does it mean for us in practise? How can we avoid extreme climate change while adapting to the unavoidable consequences?

Life on earth would not be possible without the sun. It provides warmth and enables plants to grow.

Greenhouse gases cause the atmosphere to retain the heat of the sun.

This is climate change

Greenhouse gases cause the atmosphere to retain sun radiation

Global warming is measured against the year 1850, when humans used little fossil energy and greenhouse gas emissions were low.

Industry, energy production, transport and agriculture emit greenhouse gases. These cause the atmosphere to retain the heat of the sun, causing temperatures to rise.

Sources of greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases per sector in the Netherlands and worldwide

69 Megaton

27 Gigaton

37 Megaton

7 Gigaton

29 Megaton

3 Gigaton

24 Megaton

12 Gigaton

3 Megaton

1 Gigaton




Is a warmer world a problem?

Consequences of global temperature rise compared to 1850

It is currently 1°C warmer than in 1850.

Hundreds of millions of people are confronted with water stress

Heat causes diseases and other health issues

Crop productivity is better in some areas but worse in others

Increased risk of extinction of 30% of plant and animal species

Most coral reefs bleach and will disappear completely if temperatures rise further

Increasing risks of flooding

Crop productivity decreases globally

Loss of 30% of coastal areas

Globally human health suffers severely due to climate change

Extinction of a large number of plant and animal species

Consequences of temperature rise

Temperature rise compared to 1850

+1 °C
+2 °C
+3 °C
+4 °C
>5 °C


Increased water availability in moist tropics and at high altitudes
Decreasing water availability and increasing drought at mid latitudes, and semi-arid at low latitude
Hundreds of millions of people exposed to increased water stress


Increased coral bleaching
Most coral bleached
Widespread coral mortality
Significant cases of extinction of species all over the world
Increasing shifts in species range and increasing wildfire risk
Increased risk of extinction for up to 30% of species
Ecosystem changes due to weakening of the warm Gulf Stream
Terrestrial biosphere tends towards a net carbon source: 40% of ecosystems affected
Terrestrial biosphere tends towards a net carbon source: 15% of ecosystems affected


Complex negative effects at local level for small farmers, subsistence farmers and fishermen
Tendencies for cereal productivity to decrease in low latitudes
Decreased productivity of cereals in some regions
Tendencies for some cereal productivity to increase at mid- to high latitudes
Decreased productivity of all cereals at low latitudes

Coastal areas

Increased damage from floods and storms
Millions more people could experience coastal flooding each year
Around 30% of global coastal wetlands lost


Changing spread of vector-borne diseases (such as malaria, dengue and Lyme disease)
Substantial burden on health services
Increased morbidity and mortality due to heat waves, floods, and droughts
Increasing burden from malnutrition, diarrhoea, cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases

What are the consequences
for the Netherlands?

Climate change has large consequences for the Netherlands: sea level rise, heavy rainfall, drought, heat waves, and new diseases such as dengue. We can partially prevent climate change while at the same time adapting to the unavoidable consequences, so that in 2100 the Netherlands will still be safe and liveable.

Since 1850 the sea level has risen 20 centimetres in the Netherlands. By 2100 85 cm will have been added. We can lower this to 60 cm if we prevent climate change.

Risks of flooding increase because extreme rainfall will occur more often. By providing more space for rivers we lower the chances of flooding.

By isolating buildings we can save energy. Climate change increases the risk of flooding the low parts of the Netherlands. Through adaptation we can minimize these impacts.

Climate change causes increased drought, heat waves, extreme rain and damage from storms.

Industry and electricity production are a source of greenhouse gases. By greening our industries and by saving energy we can lower emissions.

In a warmer climate, exotic disease agents, such as the tiger mosquito, can more easily establish themselves in the Netherlands. These threats will be monitored in order to prevent and respond to them.

Sustainable energy helps prevent climate change.

Agriculture contributes to global warming due to inter alia methane emissions from cows. By changing what we feed them we can lower emissions.

Transport emits greenhouse gases. Our aim is that all cars are free from greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution in 2100, inter alia by transitioning to electric vehicles.

Our current dikes protect the Netherlands. By reinforcing these dikes we make sure the Netherlands is also safe in the future.

The Netherlands in 1850

What action do we take against climate change?

This is what the
Dutch government does

The Netherlands takes action along the following lines, based on its Climate Agenda

Working Together

In the Netherlands

We can only tackle climate change successfully if we work together. Therefore the government helps companies, researchers and civilians in general to develop and implement smart initiatives.


An ambitious climate policy requires numerous actions internationally. To this end the Netherlands is working together with other countries on a UN climate agreement. Other action items are the Dutch contribution to international climate finance and involving the private sector globally.

Climate Change Adaptation

Get the Netherlands prepared

We are creating a national adaptation strategy to plan how the Netherlands can prepare for the impacts of climate change, including cities, infrastructure and agriculture.

Climate Change Mitigation

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

We tighten the rules on greenhouse gas emissions and provide incentives for companies to run their business in a climate friendly way.

Renewable energy

We put tremendous effort into providing sufficient onshore and offshore wind energy.

Sustainable mobility

We are making the transition towards more efficient, cleaner and smarter transport of people and goods.

Sustainable industry

We stimulate industry to improve efficiency of production, to use more organic resources and to reuse waste as a resource.

Sustainable agriculture and horticulture

We stimulate farmers to produce more food while polluting less. We stimulate people to eat those products that have caused least pollution.

For more details download the Climate Agenda

Now you know how the Netherlands takes action against climate change