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Cablegate: Netherlands: Linking Climate Change with Water

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTC #0501/01 0800832
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210832Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8538
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0457
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 000501

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SENSITIVE
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STATE FOR EUR/PGI (IWEINSTEIN)
STATE ALSO FOR OES, EUR/UBI, EUR/PPD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL PGOV SENV ENRG TSPL NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: LINKING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH WATER
MANAGEMENT AND INNOVATION
REF: SECSTATE 14726
THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE HANDLE
ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Geographical realities in the
Netherlands and the economic consequences of rising sea
levels argue for a U.S.-Dutch dialogue that links climate
change initiatives with water management and innovation
efforts. In response to reftel, Post will continue to
encourage Congressional and state-level visits that link
climate change and water management. Post will also seek to
shape GONL climate change policy in a way that supports
President Bush´s energy and climate change initiatives,
identifies areas for cooperation, and encourages matchmaking
between U.S. and Dutch companies, investors, and research
institutions. Parallel to these efforts, Post will seek to
educate the Dutch public on the President´s initiatives and
to move public debate on climate change "beyond Kyoto" and a
focus on emission targets to a discussion of a
technology-based approach that incorporates economic growth,
development, and security concerns. The publication of the
Ambassador´s recent op-ed on U.S. energy and climate change
policy laid the groundwork for these efforts. The Ambassador
will continue to play a leading role in educating the Dutch
public on U.S. policies. END SUMMARY.

MANAGING THE UNAVOIDABLE
------------------------

2. (U) Throughout Dutch history, flooding and water
management have been major factors shaping the Netherlands,
geographically and institutionally. In a February 13 speech
on climate change, former Environment Ministry State
Secretary Pieter van Geel noted that even if the

SIPDIS

international community succeeded in reducing greenhouse
emissions by 8 percent by 2012 (Kyoto Protocol targets), sea
levels worldwide would continue to rise. With some 75
percent of Dutch gross domestic product generated at
locations below sea level, global warming (and the
consequential rise in sea levels) is one of the most
important challenges that the Dutch will face in the next
decades. Van Geel said the main challenge for the Netherlands
is to "avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable."


3. (U) While the Dutch view Kyoto Protocol commitments as a
first step, van Geel said GONL policy also sought to include
mitigation and adaptation policies. Adaptation had not
replaced mitigation, he emphasized, and Dutch efforts to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. The
Netherlands remains a strong proponent for the EU´s emissions
trading scheme (ETS), which they see as a means of reaching
their Kyoto target pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
by 2012 to 6 percent below 1990 levels. As of 2005, the
country was within 1 percent of 1990 levels, as compared to 2
percent above 1990 levels in 2004. However, from 1990 to
2004, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions within the Netherlands
increased by 13 percent, with the energy sector accounting
for 96 percent of the growth.

4. (U) As global temperatures and sea levels rise in the
coming years, van Geel said the Dutch would focus on
"climate-proofing," including technological and innovative
solutions to cope with the full effects of climate change.
He said the Dutch would follow a similar strategy when
providing foreign development aid to countries facing climate
change effects similar to those in the Netherlands.

5. (U) At the March 7-9 EU Summit in Brussels, Prime
Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced a pioneering plan for
CO2 storage within the Netherlands. Balkenende said the
project would involve the construction of a ´clean´
coal-fired power station where the CO2 generated would not be
released into the atmosphere but would be stored in gas
fields that had been pumped empty. He explained that the
GONL was still holding exploratory talks with potential
companies on the project.

LINKING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH WATER MANAGEMENT AND INNOVATION
-----------------------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) In response to reftel request and with the above
as a backdrop, Post believes geographical realities and the
potential economic consequences of rising sea levels argue

THE HAGUE 00000501 002 OF 003

for a U.S.-Dutch dialogue that links climate change
initiatives with water management and innovation efforts.
Given limited Mission resources, Post believes the most
effective way forward is to tap into existing Dutch programs
and initiatives that support U.S. policy and build on current
U.S.-Dutch cooperative efforts. The Mission plans to
reinforce activities in the following areas:

-- PROMOTE CONTINUED COOPERATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER
MANAGEMENT: Since early 2006, the Mission has been engaged
with relevant GONL agencies on exchanges and visits that have
underscored the importance of linking climate change and
water management. These efforts have included visits from
five U.S. delegations, including separate visits from
Louisiana Senator Landrieu and Texas Representative Poe,
whose states were adversely affected by Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita, respectively. The Mission has also supported three
other delegations (Pennsylvania Representative Schuster, a
congressional staff delegation, and a California State
delegation), which focused on Dutch technical expertise in
water management and flood protection. Mission will continue
to support such exchanges as a key to promoting U.S.-Dutch
cooperation on water management. Linking climate change to
water management in such a public-private dialogue will
resonate well with the Dutch as it tracks with the Dutch
approach to water management and flood protection within the
Netherlands, known as the Netherlands Water Partnership.

-- SHAPE DUTCH CLIMATE POLICY: In recent talks with
Mission´s Science and Technology officer, Dutch officials
responsible for climate change policy clarified that a GONL
strategy on this issue -- beyond just lowering greenhouse gas
emissions -- was still in the formation stage. Relevant
ministries include the Environment, Transportation, Economic,
and Foreign Affairs. As many Dutch officials responsible for
water management (primarily within the Transportation
Ministry) are a part of this dialogue within the GONL, they
can provide a point of engagement as Post attempts to steer
Dutch climate change policy in a direction that supports
President Bush´s energy and climate change initiatives.

-- ENGAGE THE DUTCH ON INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS: The recent rise
in Dutch CO2 emissions from power generation could prove to
be another point of engagement for furthering cooperation on
innovations in energy and efficiency. Balkenende´s proposed
power plant and CO2 sequestration initiative is in line with
efforts envisioned under President Bush´s initiatives, as
both focus on novel technology and clean coal. Such
initiatives could lead to closer USG-GONL cooperation as well
as matchmaking between U.S. and Dutch companies, investors,
and research institutions.

-- TAKE OUR MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC: Parallel to these
efforts, Mission personnel will reach out to the Dutch public
regarding President Bush´s new energy and climate change
initiatives. Post´s public outreach, coordinated through the
Mission´s Speakers Bureau, will begin with visits to Dutch
universities and colleges by the Science and Technology
officer, who will serve as the main point of contact. A
background briefer (and corresponding powerpoint presentation
with statistics and charts) on current U.S. initiatives will
be drafted for use by Mission officers.

-- REFRAME THE DEBATE, MOVING IT "BEYOND KYOTO": Given
strong disapproval among the Dutch public of the USG approach
to Kyoto, Mission´s Science and Technology officer will
prepare briefing materials for Mission officers to use when
discussing Kyoto and other similar binding agreements that
focus on emissions targets rather than a technology-focused
approach that accounts for economic growth, development, and
energy security concerns. Since the Dutch are still focused
on cap-and-trade emissions schemes for existing fossil fuel
sources of energy, these materials will focus on technology,
including the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which brings together
all partners in a public-private dialogue.

-- UTILIZE THE AMBASSADOR´S ROLE: As a follow-up to the
Ambassador´s recent op-ed on U.S. energy and climate change
policy (carried in the left-leaning Dutch daily, Volkskrant,
on February 1), the Science and Technology officer will
prepare remarks to be delivered by the Ambassador related to
U.S. energy policy, economic growth, and the role the U.S. is
playing in combating climate change. The venue and timing
are yet to be determined, but will be coordinated through the

THE HAGUE 00000501 003 OF 003

Public Diplomacy, Economic, and Global Issues sections at the
Mission.
PROMOTING COOPERATION AND EDUCATION
-----------------------------------

7. (SBU) The desired outcomes of the Mission´s initiative
are two-fold: 1) Engage with the Dutch government "beyond
Kyoto" and identify areas and projects where U.S. policy
goals overlap with GONL goals, particularly in areas such as
water management and energy innovation and efficiency; and 2)
Educate the Dutch public on U.S. efforts and our commitment
to combating climate change. The prevailing Dutch
perspective appears to be focused on the misperception that
the U.S. is doing very little because we did not ratify Kyoto.

ARNALL

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