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date: 22 May 2017

Climate Change Communication in the Netherlands

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Please check back later for the full article.

Climate change communication in the Netherlands started slowly in the 1950s, but it was not until the late 1970s that the issue earned a place on the public agenda, as an aspect of the energy problem, and in the shadow of controversy about nuclear energy. Driven largely by scientific reports and policy initiatives, a first climate change wave was observed in 1987–1989, as part of a broader environmental consciousness wave. The Netherlands took a very active role in international climate change initiatives at the time, but struggled to achieve domestic emission reductions throughout the 1990s. Political turmoil dominated Dutch public debate in the early 2000s, until the movie An Inconvenient Truth triggered the second climate change wave in 2006–2007, generating peak media attention and broad societal activity. The combination of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) and Climategate in late 2009 marked a turning point in Dutch climate change communication, with online communication and climate-skeptic voices gaining much more prominence. Climate change was pushed down on the societal and political agenda in the 2010s. Climate change adaptation received much greater attention during the second climate change wave and was firmly institutionalized in the water sector. By 2015, a landmark climate change court case and the Paris Agreement at COP21 were fueling climate change communication again.