Netherlands works to fight Trump's pro-fossil fuel policy
Departing State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment is organizing a conference in the United States to try and influence the U.S. administration's climate policy, NRC reports. This follows U.S. president Donald Trump's decision to put an end to the climate policy of his predecessor Barack Obama, calling it a "waste of money". Dijksma fears that without cooperation from the U.S., it may be impossible to reach the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the newspaper.
During his election campaign, Trump already said that he would prefer to scrap the climate agreement. The agreement states that countries will work to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius this century. In a first reaction to Trump's decision to scrap Obama's climate policy, the Dutch government said that the federal government in the U.S. seems to hark back to its fossil addiction, according to NRC.
The Netherlands started discussing this conference during a meeting with European environment ministers in February already, due to concerns about what the United States will do. The plan was supported by countries like Germany, France, Austria and Luxembourg, Dijksma said to NRC. She believes that these countries will participate in the conference - which may be held as soon as May - as well as progressive U.S. states and cities. Other possible participants include Canadian states and cities and Aruba. "But the U.S. federal government is also invited", Dijksma said. She is working closely with Governon Jerry Brown fo California for this conference.
The intent for the conference is "to show that the train put in motion in December 2015 [Paris Climate Summit] can not be stopped. Not even by the president of the United States", Dijksma said to NRC. She is calling the conference "Climate First" - a nod to Trump's campaign slogan "America first". And while the conference does not have a set goal, Dijksma hopes to make concrete agreements on how to become more sustainable and combat climate change.
Dijksma also hopes to show that the energy transition does not have to go at the cost of business life and jobs. The Dutch government asked the Social Economic Council to investigate what impact the energy transition will have on employment and how to best support those who are part of the 'old economy' into the new, sustainable economy.