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Cablegate: Netherlands: Feedback On Climate Change

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110710Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3236
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM 4253
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000546

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG KGHG NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: FEEDBACK ON CLIMATE CHANGE
NEGOTIATIONS

REF: STATE 70837

THE HAGUE 00000546 001.2 OF 002


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Several climate change issues are proving
difficult to resolve within the EU, according to Dutch
negotiators. For example, EU support for a 30 percent
emission reduction by 2020 is "crumbling" and the debate over
burden sharing of climate change costs is gathering steam.
Our interlocutors tell us they have a growing list of
specific impasses that ministers will have to resolve at a
political level in coming months as working groups cannot
reach consensus. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) EconOff met with key members of the Dutch climate
change team September 4: Sanne Kaasjager from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA), and Gerie Jonk from the Environment
Ministry (VROM). Kaasjager represents the Netherlands at EU
and international negotiations. Maas Goote, normally the
Dutch lead climate change negotiator, is seconded to the EU
this year to serve as the EU troika´s lead negotiator. By
virtue of Goote´s position, the Dutch have an insider´s
account of EU climate deliberations.

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-----------------------------------------------------
EU Support for 30 percent Mid-term Target "Crumbling"
-----------------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Kaasjager said Member States are now wrestling with
the question under what circumstances will the EU commit to a
30 percent -- rather than 20 percent -- emission reduction by
2020 versus 1990 levels. He said EU support for the 30
percent target is "crumbling" and this is emerging as a major
issue at European political levels. The Dutch government has
already sold its public on the need for a 30 percent
reduction in order to meet the goal of limiting global
warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Kaasjager indicated the Dutch
are holding firm to the 30 percent target because leaders
fear anything less will provoke a political backlash
domestically.

----------------------------------
Squabbling Over Financing Underway
----------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Dutch were pleased the draft October European
Council points mention the figure of EUR 100 billion by 2020
as funding needed to help developing countries deal with
climate change. This is not surprising as the Netherlands is
among the world´s most generous donor countries. However,
Kaasjager alluded to a fierce debate shaping up within the
Dutch government over where the Dutch portion of EU member
states´ contribution will come from. Opposing camps want the
money to be either "new and additional" funds on top of
existing development programs or diverted from existing
foreign aid accounts. He said this debate´s timing is
particularly unfortunate for Development Minister Bert
Koenders because it coincides with a larger government-wide
budget review process as the Netherlands tries to rein in its
climbing public deficit. Kaasjager predicted this debate
over climate finance "burden sharing" will gather momentum in
coming months in The Hague and other EU capitals.

5. (SBU) How developed countries should channel their climate
assistance funds is another sticking point within the EU,
according to Kaasjager. Opinion is split between advocates
of centralized and decentralized channels. The Netherlands
shares the U.S. preference to leverage private financing
wherever possible, but is more comfortable with centralized
UN administration of public funds to fill specific gaps.

-------------------------
Consensus on AAUs Elusive
-------------------------

6. (SBU) Kaasjager warned that handling the EU´s surplus
Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) is a technical issue quickly
escalating into a political one. He said Eastern European
Member States with substantial AAU surpluses want to carry
them forward post-2012 to provide "room for economic growth,"
allowing them to offset future emissions increases with these
old credits. He said countries like Germany and the
Netherlands are concerned these surplus AAUs will depress
carbon prices in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). He
said the EU has not reached consensus on this issue and will
likely trade off concessions on AAU surpluses against
intra-EU burden sharing levels.

THE HAGUE 00000546 002.2 OF 002

--------------------------------------------- -----
Dutch Questions about U.S. Climate Change Position
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (SBU) When asked about Dutch reaction to the U.S. approach
at recent climate negotiations, Kaasjager mentioned three
areas where they would like more information to help them
play a constructive role:
-- U.S. position on financing issues; they are eager to find
common ground.
-- U.S.-China climate cooperation and how EU can play a role.
-- What type of commitment the United States will be prepared
to make at Copenhagen (and how that affects the agreement´s
structure) as well as our preferred timeline (e.g., a
political pledge in December with a follow-up process to
complete negotiations).

GALLAGHER

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