Despite climate agreements, the Netherlands supports the fossil sector with 7.6 billion euros a year
Although outgoing economics minister Henk Kamp stated in May of this year that fossil fuels are not subsidised in the Netherlands, a report out today shows that this is clearly not the case. The report. ‘Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies’, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-Europe), says that the Netherlands is supporting the fossil sector at home and abroad with more than 7.6 billion euros a year (1). The Netherlands made international agreements as long ago as 2009 (2) to ban subsidies for fossil fuels. Environment NGO Milieudefensie and Both ENDS – both members of CAN-Europe – call attention to these findings because they find it unacceptable that the government perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels in this way.
The report provides an overview of the substantial sums of money that eleven EU member states and the EU institutions continue to invest in the production and consumption of fossil fuels. In total, these investments come to 112 billon euros a year. The report concludes that most countries, including the Netherlands, have no concrete plans to phase out their fossil fuel subsidies.
“The government already has its work cut out to achieve the Paris goals,’ says Milieudefensie director Donald Pols. ‘So we shouldn’t be pumping money into the fossil sector. We can better invest the money in sustainable energy supplies – an area in which we are lagging seriously behind. Then we can also stop extracting gas in Groningen more quickly.”
The biggest fossil fuel subsidy in the Netherlands is the energy tax exemption for air transport and shipping, sectors that are way behind in terms of sustainability. The exemption poses a serious threat to achievement of the Paris goals, and costs the Netherlands 3.5 billion euros in lost tax revenues every year. The government also supports the oil and gas production industry in the Netherlands to the tune of 144 million euros a year. Investments by companies in the fossil sector that are largely in the hands of the state amount to 946 million euros a year.
The total amount with which the Netherlands supports the fossil industry every year is most probably much higher than the 7.6 billion euros calculated in the report. For almost half of the support measures the researchers identified, they could not determine exact amounts due to lack of transparency. Milieudefensie and Both ENDS find that unacceptable, as without transparency, it is almost impossible to determine whether the Netherlands is complying with its international agreements.
The Netherlands also supports the fossil fuel sector abroad with more than two billion euros a year. “It does this mainly in the form of export support,’ says Niels Hazekamp, policy advisor at Both ENDS. “The Dutch economy is strongly focused on exports and the government supports companies that are active abroad with, for example, export credit insurance to reduce their financial risks. By far the greatest share of export credit insurance goes to oil- and gas-related projects, while the Netherlands should really be supporting sustainable and innovative projects.”
For more information:
The full report Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies
The executive summary of Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies
Milieudefensie press information:
020-5507333 of firstname.lastname@example.org
Niels Hazekamp 020-5306639 of email@example.com
Masja Helmer 020-5306637 of firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) This consists of 4.4 billion euros in direct subsidies and fiscal arrangements, 2.2 billion in international public financing for oil and gas (by public financial bodies) and 946 million in investments by state companies in oil and gas.
(2) The European Union has committed itself to ending environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. In addition, through the G20 and the G7, European governments have made international agreements to ban fossil fuels.
Photo: Oil transport on Student Energy
For more information
Read more about this subject
News / 11 December 2017
Yesterday, the French President Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, met with international leaders and committed citizens from around the world in Paris. According to the organisers, the aim of this gathering was to 'address the ecological emergency for our planet' as 'two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement, it is time for concrete action.'
News / 8 November 2021
Today, the Netherlands announced that it will join a leading group of countries, including the United States, Canada and Italy, which declared that they would stop international support for fossil energy projects. At the day of the launch of the declaration at the climate summit in Glasgow on the 4th of November, the Netherlands had no intention of joining, but because of pressure from civil society and political parties, the responsible ministries decided to sign after all. Both ENDS, together with organizations at home and abroad, has been pushing for this for years, and we are very happy with this step. We will of course continue to monitor developments.
Almost two-thirds of the export credit insurances that Atradius DSB provided in the 2012-2018 period went to the fossil energy sector. That is contrary to the climate agreements that the Netherlands signed in Paris.
News / 22 November 2021
Export support – and especially that to fossil projects – has been in the spotlights quite often recently. This is a positive development, because the Netherlands alone provides fossil export support worth 1.5 billion euros per year. At the climate summit in Glasgow, the United Kingdom launched a statement promising to stop providing export support to fossil projects by the end of 2022. After having denied at first, the Netherlands decided to join the statement after all – which now has already been signed by nearly forty countries and financial institutions.
Publication / 18 June 2017
Press release / 18 November 2019
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
Publication / 17 November 2019
Publication / 15 March 2023
In 2011 one of the world’s largest gas reserves was found in the coastal province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of Mozambique. A total of 35 billion dollars has been invested to extract the gas. Dozens of multinationals and financiers are involved in these rapid developments. It is very difficult for the people living in Cabo Delgado to exert influence on the plans and activities, while they experience the negative consequences. With the arrival of these companies, they are losing their land.
News / 20 February 2023
Today, a letter, undersigned by almost 60 organisations from countries that face the consequences of fossil fuel projects or stand in solidarity, has been sent to the Dutch Members of Parliament. This Thursday, a debate about the export credit facility and the policies around it, will take place in the Dutch Parliament. The coalition calls upon Dutch politicians and policy makers to stand up against any form of export support for fossil fuel projects that are to be executed by Dutch companies abroad, expecially in the global South.
Press release / 14 May 2017
The Dutch pension fund, ABP, invested about two billion euros more in the fossil energy industry at the end of 2016 than the year before. This is announced by the report "Dirty & Dangerous: the fossil fuel investments of Dutch pension fund ABP," published today by Both ENDS, German urgewald and Fossielvrij NL. The report criticizes these investments because of the impact on the climate and the catastrophic consequences for the people in the areas where coal, oil and gas are being produced.
News / 15 April 2021
On Wednesday, April 14, seven countries, including the Netherlands, launched an initiative called Export Finance for Future (E3F), in which they set a number of ambitions with regard to phasing out export support for the fossil sector. Many NGOs worldwide, including Both ENDS in the Netherlands, have been calling for such an initiative in recent years and we are therefore pleased with this step. However, to achieve results and contribute to the Paris climate goals, countries will have to commit to much more ambitious goals than those now set. Concerned civil society organizations, including Both ENDS, therefore prepared a statement detailing the weaknesses they felt in the policy proposed by E3F, supplemented with recommendations for improvements.
Letter / 28 February 2023
This joint position launched by 175 civil society organisations from 45 countries calls on world leaders to end OECD export finance for oil and gas, and explains how it can be done.
Press release / 8 July 2021
Civil society organisations send urgent letter on climate to financial sector
Amsterdam, 8 July 2021 – The Shell ruling has consequences for the financiers of major climate polluters. That is the message in a letter from a number of civil society organisations, including Oxfam Novib, Eerlijke Geldwijzer, Milieudefensie, Greenpeace and Both ENDS, to the biggest banks, pension funds and insurance companies in the Netherlands. In the letter, they call on the financial institutions to reduce CO2 emissions from loans and investments in line with the 1.5 degrees goal laid down in the Paris climate agreement.
External link / 31 October 2021
In this short video, Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS talks about how the Netherlands stimulates projects related to the fossil sector abroad through its export credit agency (ECA) Atradius DSB. The ECA provides export credit insurance for very large-scale and high-risk activities abroad. About two thirds of this export support (worth around 1.5 billion euros per year) is going to the fossil fuel sector. Absurd, at a time when the whole world has to make the transition to sustainable energy. Our country should not support the fossil, but the renewable energy sector with such guarantees, and grab that chance of 1.5 billion!
News / 1 April 2021
Both ENDS is shocked by the dramatic news in the past days coming from Palma, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. Our thoughts go to those who lost their lives or who are still missing, and their loved ones. Both ENDS is in close contact with our local partners to support them wherever we can. Many people are still missing, among whom members of farmers union UPC.
Letter / 4 May 2023
The Dutch government, through its export credit agency Atradius DSB (ADSB), provides export support to companies that undertake activities abroad. The state wants projects it insures to have no negative consequences for people and the environment and therefore sets requirements for corporate social responsibility (CSR). A consultation on CSR policy ran until the end of April, to which a coalition of thirteen social organisations from the Netherlands and abroad, including Both ENDS and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth the Netherlands), responded.
Publication / 11 November 2020
Press release / 12 February 2019
Amsterdam, 12 February 2019 - Fossil fuel giant Royal Dutch Shell is facing legal action from environmental and human rights organisations if it fails to align its growth plans with global climate goals aimed at averting catastrophic global warming.
News / 15 October 2021
The Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB is not aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement; on behalf of the Dutch State, it continues to strongly support investments in fossil fuels. This is the conclusion of a report by German research agency Perspectives Climate Research (PCR), in which the export credit agencies of the Netherlands and Japan are measured in terms of their climate ambitions and alignment with the Paris Agreement.