In a leap forward for clean air, the Netherlands’ government has proposed a new bill requiring all new cars to be 100% emissions-free by 2035, if not sooner. The measure is part of a larger plan to lower the nation’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air pollution. In addition to pushing for clean vehicles, the Dutch government also plans to disconnect all houses in the country from the natural gas grid by 2050.
While supporters are lauding the government for its steps toward sustainability, some are concerned that the timeline may not be short enough. Nevertheless, the proposal–contained in the “energy agenda” presented by Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp on December 7–outlines a clear picture of what legislators are willing to do. Earlier discussions suggested the Dutch government might enact a 2025 ban on fossil fuel vehicles. Industry pushback and concerns about infrastructure led to a compromise of just 10 years later.
With the prospect of a 2035 cut off, some expect the market to respond with an increase in demand for electric vehicles, although it’s possible fossil fuel vehicle sales could spike in the interim. The Dutch proposal is similar to a decision recently made in Germany, which will stop issuing new registrations on fossil fuel passenger vehicles in 2030. Elsewhere in the world, several major cities have taken their own initiative in the realm of clean transportation, as Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City have all decided to ban diesel vehicles by 2025.