Ruling coalition divided on climate policy, coal energy

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No image availableNL Times

That the  policy on climate change and the use of coal powered energy plants have the ruling coalition thoroughly divided, once again became evident during Tuesday's municipal debate to prepare for the climate summit in Paris next week.

The newest points friction are the PvdA and GroenLinks proposal for a climate law and the call made by 64 professors to close all operating coal plants in the country.

In their proposal PvdA leader Diederik Samsom and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver state that the Netherlands should reduce its CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030 when compared to 1990. That is 15 percent more than the 40 percent reduction by 2030 that the European Union will commit to at the summit.

VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra thinks that this plan will make the "Netherlands poorer and the world still hotter", he said in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, Trouw reports. According to him, the Netherlands plays only a marginal role in the climate problem. "If we were to do a lot more, the world would not even notice", he said, adding that the Netherlands is only responsible for 0.4 percent of the global CO2 emissions.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, VVD, also spoke out against harsher climate measures in the debate - the closure of coal plants in particular. According to the Prime Minister, the affordability and supply of energy must be guaranteed. "If you also close the new coal plants, you may need to import energy produced in power plants that are much more polluting", he added as another point to consider "in the decision of whether and at what pace we'll close the coal plants".