On the recommendation of Climate and Energy Minister Jetten, the Dutch government has approved the appointment of nine new members of the Scientific Climate Council (WKR) effective April 15, 2023. TU/e scientist Heleen de Coninck will take a seat on the council as deputy chair, alongside chair Jan Willem Erisman of Leiden University.
The Scientific Climate Council (WKR) is an independent, scientific body that provides solicited and unsolicited advice to the government or parliament on future climate policy, based on independent scientific knowledge. The initiative follows from the coalition agreement signed by the Dutch governing parties.
Heleen de Coninck will combine her work on the council with her current positions. At Eindhoven University of Technology, she is a professor of Technology, Innovation & Society at the department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences and a researcher at the TU/e energy institute EIRES. De Coninck also works as a professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen.
Curbing global climate change
As lead author of the influential IPCC climate reports, De Coninck tries to use sound research to help curb climate change worldwide. In doing so, she actively seeks international cooperation and connection. As a researcher, De Coninck focuses primarily on the role of innovation and technology in international climate negotiations, and on policies to make energy-intensive industries climate-neutral. She also looks at the social dynamics of new technologies to combat climate warming, and the viability of those innovations. She also chairs the steering committee of the Netherlands Climate Research Initiative, which aims to use Dutch climate research to accelerate system transitions, both in the Netherlands and in developing countries.
Heleen de Coninck: "It is a tremendous honor to be able to contribute to the Scientific Climate Council and a better climate policy in the Netherlands. Until 2030 it is already a challenge to meet the targets, but it’s nothing compared to what we are facing in the decades that follow. The rapid system transitions needed for net zero CO2 emissions in twenty years’ time as well as the necessary climate adaptation will benefit from independent advice from science. I look forward to learning a lot from the other members and interacting with the ministry!"
You can read more about De Coninck’s work in this interview, which she gave on the occasion of her inaugural lecture last year at TU/e.
Input for Climate Plan
The first advice of the WKR, to be publised before February 1, 2024, deals with dilemmas and directional choices that the Netherlands faces in the coming years in the transition to climate neutrality. This advice serves as input for the Dutch Climate Plan that describes the outlines of climate policy for the coming years. The government will present the Climate Plan in the fall of 2024.
Chairman Jan Willem Erisman, who was appointed as the council's first member on March 1: "In the composition of the council, we have given careful consideration to scientific qualifications, knowledge of and experience with climate issues and policies, and diversity in composition and scientific disciplines. I am pleased with this strong and diverse team with which we can provide government and parliament with broad, well-supported scientific advice in the years to come."
Full member list
The composition of the full council is as follows:
- Jan Willem Erisman (chair) (Leiden University);
- Heleen de Coninck (deputy chair) (TU/e, Radboud University);
- Sanne Akerboom (Utrecht University);
- Kornelis Blok (Delft University of Technology);
- Marjolijn Haasnoot (Utrecht University);
- Machiel Mulder (University of Groningen);
- Wouter Peters (Wageningen University and Research, University of Groningen);
- Wieke Pot (Wageningen University and Research);
- Linda Steg (University of Groningen);
- Behnam Taebi (Delft University of Technology).
This article was first published on 24 March by TU/e.