Press release: Government undermines its own climate policy with export credit insurance
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.
Niels Hazekamp, author of the report: “As part of its foreign trade policy, it’s the Dutch government’s ambition to put an end to financial support for the fossil sector. However, it deliberately excludes support through export credit insurance. The government wants to stop climate change on the one hand, while on the other hand it causes more emissions. In this way, we only help increase climate change and tax money used to save the climate is wasted money.”
Increasing international support for stopping the fossil sector
With 1.5 billion euros of export credit support for oil and gas per year, the Netherlands is a relatively large player in the fossil sector, comparable to China, Germany or Italy. Countries such as Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and Sweden are currently discussing thedecarbonisation of theirexport credit insurances. In the Netherlands, the discussion has so far been limited to the question of how the export credit agency can support more "green" projects.
Former world leaders against support for the fossil sector
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chairman of "The Elders", a think tank of former world leaders, says about the new Dutch figures:
“The Netherlands needs to urgently align its export support with its stated aim of fighting climate change. When insurances and guarantees for more than €1.5 billion are committed annually supporting fossil fuel projects overseas by the Netherlands’ export credit agency, its broader climate policies ring hollow. It is hard to reconcile a domestic phase-out of coal-fired power plants and a focus on clean energy with the billions supporting the continuation, and even expansion, of fossil fuel use around the world. The Netherlands, and its neighbours across the European Union, have an opportunity to lead the way and phase out the use of fossil fuels worldwide. However, this can only be achieved if export credit agencies urgently shift their insurances and guarantees into clean energy.”
Less export support for the fossil sector would make the development of renewable energy and measures to save energy much more competitive worldwide. By cooperating with other countries that are prepared to decarbonise their export credit insurance, the Netherlands could help to initiate an international policy change in that direction.
The report 'The fossil elephant in the room'
The annex of the report
For more information
Read more about this subject
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.
Publication / 17 November 2019
Publication / 18 June 2017
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Publication / 11 November 2020
Press release / 11 November 2020
Since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, rich countries have provided almost 50 times as much export support for fossil fuel related projects as for clean energy projects in four African countries. This is the conclusion of a report written by five environmental organisations from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda, in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Both ENDS. The rich countries insured energy projects with a total value of 11 billion US dollars through their export credit agencies (ECAs). More than half of this export support is related to fossil fuels. Only 1% went to sustainable renewable energy.
News / 22 November 2021
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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 / 19 May 2022
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News / 30 June 2020
Almost 40 civil society organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, today sent a letter to Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and State Secretary for Finance Hans Vijlbrief. They are asking the ministers to ensure that the expansion of export credit insurance as a result of the Corona crisis contributes to a green recovery.
News / 15 April 2021
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Event / 4 November 2021, 16:45 - 18:00
UNFCCC COP 26 side event ‘Aligning export finance with the Paris Agreement: high time to phase out fossil fuels’
Many countries heavily support fossil fuel investments abroad through their export credit agency (ECA). This contributes to carbon lock- in, whereby companies or even countries commit themselves to a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions for the lifetime of the infrastructure — oftentimes years or even decades. This seriously delays the transition to renewable energy sources, and is certainly not in line with Art. 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.
Highlighting the impacts caused by export finance in the global South, this side event will provide concrete recommendations to decarbonize export credit agencies.
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.
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.
News / 28 August 2017
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.
Press release / 19 May 2021
Amsterdam, 19 May 2021 – On 25 March, a day after violent attacks in northern Mozambique, the Dutch state decided to provide dredging company Van Oord with export credit insurance worth 900 million euros for its activities in the country. The company is conducting dredging operations for a highly controversial gas project that, according to Mozambican interest groups, is playing a prominent role in the escalating violence in the region. Civil society organisations Both ENDS, Milieudefensie and Oil Change International and their Mozambican partners are alarmed about the situation and have called the Dutch government and Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB to account.
News / 4 May 2021
Today, two independent experts brought out a legal opinion on the obligations of countries and their export credit agencies under international law in relation to export support for fossil fuels. According to the report, emissions by fossil fuels and the related infrastructure need to be reduced urgently.
External link / 31 May 2018
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News / 21 December 2021
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News / 12 July 2021
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