Press release / 18 November 2019

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.

More information:

The report 'The fossil elephant in the room'

The annex of the report 

For more information

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