News / 28 augustus 2017

Politicians ask for sustainable export support

Last June, Both ENDS published a report which showed clearly that, through export credit insurance provider Atradius Dutch State Business (ADSB), the Netherlands is supporting the fossil fuel sector on a large scale. Between 2012 and 2015, ADSB provided billions of euros in insurance and guarantees, on behalf of the State of the Netherlands, to fossil-related export projects. This support is completely out of line with the Paris Climate Agreement. On 20 June, members of parliament Lammert van Raan (PvdD) and Sandra Beckerman (SP) submitted questions to the State Secretaries for Finance and for Infrastructure and the Environment.

They asked the state secretaries whether the government is planning to phase out insurances for fossil-related projects and focus more on sustainable energy. The Ministry of Finance answered on 12 July that export credit insurance indeed provides considerable support to the fossil sector but, because export credit insurance does not directly aim at achieving climate goals, the ministry sees no reason to phase it out. The government expects ‘export credit insurance to shift naturally towards sustainable projects in coming years’. ‘Excluding Dutch businesses from fossil-related projects that are going to take place anyway is not going to help the environment,’ the ministry added.


Make export credit insurance Paris proof

The trend towards more sustainable projects is indeed to be expected, but the urgency of the climate problem and the agreements made in Paris to address it call for a much more pro-active approach from governments. The European Commission agrees, as can be seen from its answer to questions from Euro MP Bas Eickhout (European Greens EU) in response to the Both ENDS report: ‘Although the Commission is of the opinion that the export credit activities of the members states are not directly addressed in the Paris Agreement, [each national government] must take due account of the main goals of the agreement in this area, as in all their activities.’ In our own words, governments must make their export credit insurance ‘Paris proof’.


Only support sectors that have to be stimulated

Van Raan and Beckerman were also dissatisfied with the State Secretary of Finance’s answer so, on 21 August, they asked a number of further questions. They called on the Dutch government to use export credit insurance to support economic sectors that we want to stimulate, like renewable energy, and not for sectors that we want to phase out, such as fossil fuels. They also demanded that the ministry be transparent about its support for the fossil sector, draw up a plan for phasing out the use of fossil energy, and report back on the steps it takes. This is in line with the Dik-Faber (CU) and Van Veldhoven (D66) motion, adopted in May 2016, on the contribution of the financial sector to achieving the climate goals.


Both ENDS hopes that the new government will decide to phase out export support for the fossil sector. For more background information, see our special page 'Paris Proof Export Support


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 (Photo: Schipyard in Suape harbour (Brazil) where, among others, pipe laying vessels are being produced for the fossil fuel industry)

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