Milieu- en Natuurplanbureau MNP - RIVM, 2004-10-20
The quest for sustainability is about the quality of life and the possibilities for maintaining this quality in the future. The extent to which this quest is fulfilled will depend both on the public opinion with respect to the desired quality of life and the distribution of this quality of life across the globe (reflected in four world views), and the scientific understanding of the functioning of humans and natural systems. The intention of this sustainability outlook then is to contribute to an ensuing public debate on the sustainability issue, through analysis of societal values and scientific insights.
The ambitious policy plans of the Fourth Dutch National Environmental Policy Plan (NMP4) are technologically feasible, with challenges on the political, social an institutional area. In September 2000 the Fifth Dutch National Environmental Outlook was published. It shows that several environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity decrease and urban air quality, will be hard to deal with in the decades to come. The NMP4 is a governmental reaction on the environmental issues posed and involves a strategic policy plan for the long term (2030). Ambitions are high: the aim is to protect in a sustainable way at least 95% of all nature in The Netherlands, as well as to abolish all environmental public health effects. Apart from these environmental health risks, several unproven health risks exist, such as radiation from cellular phones or power lines. These may pose problems in the future and therefore deserve attention as well. To realise the ambitious goals, emissions of acid substances, fine particulate matter and volatile organic compounds will have to be reduced by 70-90%. With present-day technologies and developments in technology, these percentages are hardly conceivable. The 95%-ambition with respect to protection of natural area requires a mix of generic and area-specific policy, with possible additional effect oriented measures. To deal with the effects of climate change, CO2 emissions will have to decrease by 30-50% within the following decades in Western Europe. This seems technologically feasible at relatively low costs. Main challenges are of political, institutional and social nature.
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2001-11-01
The Environmental Balance describes trends in the state of the environment and the effectiveness of the policies pursued. It also evaluates the degree to which the stated goals of environmental policy have been achieved. In a number of cases the expected developments over the next four years are presented to allow a better assessment of trends.<br>
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