A ‘Silent Revolution’ – The Dutch Polder System

 In 1998, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spacial Planning and the Environment produced a book and a video titled ‘The Silent Revolution’. In these they looked at ‘Environmental Covernants’ based on the ‘Dutch Polder System’, whereby companies and the authorities agreed continual, monitored environmental improvement, rather than ‘command and control’

Taking a system view, this approach must surely be incorporated in the Emissions Trading Model as some industries will have severe problems in reducing their emissions in the short term and others have historical problems with carbon intensive processes. Any system that does not recognise this and forces transfer of these processes to other countries, or forces competitive disadvantage, is self-defeating.

Concentration on targets is also an exercise in self delusion as governments cannot deliver low carbon processes with low resource intensity, only a virtuous circle of enabled process learning can. Politicians worldwide seem incapable of perceiving this fact.

See http://www2.vrom.nl/pagina.html?id=9504

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The Polder Model in Dutch Economic and Environmental Planning

http://bst.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/4/237 the full article can be purchased

In an attempt to solve some serious economic and environmental problems, the Netherlands has embarked on an unique experiment over the past few decades. Based on a tradition of cooperation, consensus building, and democratic self-rule, the Dutch have revitalized a corporatist approach to economic and environmental planning. They refer to the polder model to describe the particular characteristics of this approach. Although the polder model is rooted in the past (i.e., the golden age of the 17th-century Dutch republic), its more recent application in planning efforts finds its start with the Wassenaar Accord in economic planning in 1982.

A similar approach was used in environmental planning with the introduction of the first National Environmental Policy Plan in 1989. The key feature of the environmental plan is a covenant between business and government.

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