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The Netherlands and its underexposed, polluting climate subsidies
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Climate Climate Man-Made

We are a poor environmental student by supporting fossil fuel sector.

In the Paris climate agreement, the Netherlands committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions. For example, with European countries, our country agreed to abolish the subsidy for the use of fossil fuels by 2020. According to a recent report, however, it appears that only Malta and Luxembourg are doing worse in this area than our country. So it is time for The Hague to get up.
Chimney's smoke
The report, Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe's fossil fuel subsidies, came out last September. This study looked at how far European countries are in abolishing subsidies on fossil fuels.
Today (Tuesday, ed.) The House of Representatives debates on the findings of the report. Environmental biologist Bas van Vliet of Wageningen University states that 'it has often been underestimated or has remained under the table that the fossil industry receives a lot of subsidy'. "It is always said that solar panels and alternative energy are so expensive," he says. "It is not told that fossil industry has been running on subsidies for years."
The report shows that the European countries are not yet on the right track to meet the 2020 target. Between 2014 and 2016, another € 112 billion was spent by the member states on subsidies for fossil fuels, of which € 4 billion by the European Union itself.
The Dutch government also subsidizes the fossil fuel industry according to the report. In this way the transport sector receives a subsidy of 3.5 billion euros. In addition, the energy sector for energy is made with fossil fuel 513 million euros subsidy, the foreign fossil fuel related projects 1.8 billion euros per year. Finally, in 2016 the Netherlands reintroduced the tax exception for the use of coal in electricity production. This happened remarkably enough after the tax exemption was previously abolished in favor of environmental considerations. So there is still a long way to go, the researchers say: "Governments must be held accountable for their subsidies on fossil fuels, and they must take the opportunity to halt support for the fossil fuel industry once and for all." this way, the climate goals of Paris are not met.

The Netherlands is not transparent

Furthermore, the report also criticizes the lack of transparency of the Dutch government. Unlike the Germans and Italians, the Netherlands does not publish a list of environmentally harmful subsidies. According to Dirk van Ros, spokesman for European MEP Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks), such a separate list would be an excellent option. "Let the Netherlands do that once," he suggests.
Although our country does not only come from the research with negative points. For example, our government has removed tax exemptions for diesel and our country is fighting against the use of coal abroad.
Nevertheless, according to environmental sociologist Van Vliet, the Netherlands plays a major role in the fossil fuel industry. "Our country is very favorable for this sector." As an example, he mentions the ports in Rotterdam, where there are many refineries. "That does not detract from the fact that we, as the Netherlands, have to take the lead," he says.

The old cabinet did not share criticism

The then state secretary of Infrastructure and the Environment Sharon Dijksma, criticized the report in October. She did not share the results of the researchers. "The instruments described by the researchers do not aim to stimulate the use of fossil energy and to favor the use of renewable energy, but are aimed at other purposes, such as stimulating innovation or strengthening the Dutch competitive position."
Van Vliet thinks that a competitive position or an innovation position in the field of fossil fuels is an outdated idea. "I think the innovation is now somewhere else," he says. "I would rather see the subsidy money invested in sustainable energy."
Pernis pipes shell
European role in energy policy

The environmental sociologist thinks there is still a lot to change. "Our society, but also European society is very much connected to a fossil energy system," he says. "Our landscape is completely geared to it. A lot has to change. A first step would be to abolish the subsidies on fossil fuels, and that should be done at European level."

By: HP de Tijd, Kees Kremer

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