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How Was the Preparation of the WKR Report?

Last Friday, the Scientific Climate Council (WKR) presented its first advice, titled ‘Moving Forward Together,’ aimed at a climate-neutral and climate-resilient future. The WKR advises based on scientific insights, remaining independent and interdisciplinary. The advice to the government concerns the Climate Plan 2025-2035, urging the government to centralize a broad and shared vision of a climate-neutral and climate-resilient Netherlands in the Climate Plan. Choices should be based on this vision to expedite becoming climate-neutral and climate-resilient, contributing to economic opportunities for the Netherlands as a trading nation and a just society.

One of the WKR members is Linda Steg, a professor at the University of Groningen. Since April, she has contributed to this report. We asked her to shed light on the process and creation of the report – both the highlights and challenges.

Tell us more about the WKR?

“In April 2023, the Scientific Climate Council was established as a new government advisory body. The WKR is tasked with advising the government and the First and Second Chambers on climate policy. The Council provides advice based on scientific insights, is interdisciplinary, and operates independently. The government is expected to publish the Climate Plan for 2025-2035 in 2024, and the WKR is requested to provide advice on this.”

What did you start with?

“We first determined the main messages and then, with a significant effort from the support staff, started writing the texts.”

What did you find challenging about the process?

“The challenging part of drafting this initial advice is that the WKR is new; we have to get to know each other and understand each other’s language because we all have different expertise. The support staff is also new and needs to get accustomed to working together. It takes time. But this way of working also has great value because you get a much better advice when you bring in different expertise. None of us could have written the advice alone in this way; it truly is teamwork.

Another challenge was the timeline – we delivered the advice earlier so that it can play a role in the formation of the government, so the time pressure was significant.”

What did you enjoy the most?

“We quickly agreed on the main points, and it’s beautiful to see that from different disciplines, we come to the same conclusions. It is very inspiring to be part of the WKR because I always try to combine scientific impact with societal impact. In the WKR, this can be achieved well. It is an enthusiastic and enjoyable group of people. I learn a lot, and it is inspiring to collaborate.”

What does the new government mean for the WKR?

“That is, of course, a big question. We hope that the new government embraces the advice; a promising perspective for a just, climate-neutral, and climate-resilient society is in everyone’s interest.”