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Dutch Climate and Energy Minister estimates NL’s fossil fuel subsidies at up to €46.4 billion a year, campaigners call for phase-out plan

Today the outgoing Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy Policy, Rob Jetten, published an analysis of the Netherlands’ fossil fuel subsidies, estimating these at between €39.7 and €46.4 billion a year, more than 4% of the Netherlands’ GDP. According to campaigners the analysis underlines the importance of an urgent phase-out plan, in line with the Dutch government’s long-standing promise to end these subsidies by 2025. 

Recent research by Dutch research and environmental organizations shows that this would allow the Netherlands to reduce its CO? emissions by up to 20% by 2030, while creating space for innovative and sustainable businesses and freeing up billions that can be reinvested in climate justice and social protection measures. The conclusions of the impact analysis for companies of subsidy removal that were also covered in today’s government publication mainly emphasize the short-term impacts for a select group of large energy-intensive companies that run on cheap fossil energy. Researchers and campaigners say this is too limited a perspective and should not stand in the way of an urgent phase-out plan.

Below reactions from the organizations involved in the recent report and a letter to the government calling for an urgent end to fossil fuel subsidies:

BORIS SCHELLEKENS, author of report Phasing Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the Netherlands said: “There is broad agreement about the level of fossil subsidies. If you phase out all fossil fuel regulations before 2025, there is a balance between what is politically feasible and the urgency of the climate crisis we are in. Waiting will only make things worse for all companies and phasing fossil subsidies out before 2025 is also in line with previous promises made by the government.”

KIRSTEN SLEVEN, Milieudefensie, said: “Jetten’s impact analysis gives a distorted picture of the consequences of abolishing subsidies. These are the largest emitters in the Netherlands. They have been receiving billions of dollars from the government since the 1970s, often give millions to their shareholders and remain trapped in a straitjacket of fossil subsidies.”

HISKE ARTS, Fossielvrij NL, said: “Fossil subsidies are a blockade for the new, sustainable economy. They create an uneven playing field – sustainable companies from construction to the food industry indicate that this prevents them from succeeding. Politics mainly looks at the short term and vested interests. The Netherlands must create an attractive business climate for sustainable companies that help us solve the climate crisis, instead of focusing on a ‘leakage effect’ for which there is no evidence.”

LAURIE VAN DER BURG, Oil Change International said: “After wasting years on empty promises, it is now time for the Dutch government to end its fossil fuel subsidies to give Dutch companies and households a liveable and sustainable future. This presents an important opportunity: by ending fossil fuel subsidies the Dutch government can reduce CO2 emissions and at the same time increase state revenues that can be used for climate solutions, social protection measures and international climate finance.”

RODRIGO FERNANDEZ, SOMO said: “The phasing out of fossil subsidies will free up a gigantic amount of money in the coming years to invest in society as whole and in making us less dependent on fossil fuels. For example by insulating houses to structurally reduce the cost of energy for low-income households and investing in public transport to ensure that the costs of mobility are reduced. These opportunities are not included in the overview that the government is presenting today.”

One Comment

  • Thom Hartmann has made the point that we subsidize fossil fuel interests, but also pay huge amounts to protect them, operating a navy to keep sea lanes open for shipping oil for interest. How many lives have we sacrificed to maintain Big Oil’s operations? Gas and Diesel really cost a great deal more than their pump prices.

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