Environmental groups withdraw from climate agreement

Wind turbines in Amsterdam
Wind turbines in AmsterdamPhoto: Pantona / Wikimedia Commons

Five environmental organizations, trade union FNV, and an organization for sustainable entrepreneurship will not sign the current climate agreement, they announced at a press conference on Thursday. The signing will continue as planned on Friday, NU.nl reports

The union and environmental organizations are particularly dissatisfied with the agreement's proposals in the field of industry. According to them, the business community should be held more accountable for the CO2 they emit and the pollution of the climate caused by it. A conversation with Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate could not change their dissatisfaction.

"If these fundamental points are not resolved, we can not put our signature under the final agreement in 2019", the organizations said in a joint statement. The ball is now in the government's court, they said, adding that it would take "a miracle" to get them to sign the agreement.

Greenpeace director Joris Thijssen called the plans in the agreement "not fair and ineffective". According to him, the industry can choose to become greener and sustainable, or do nothing at all. The second option will be the one they chose, he  believes. "We can not connect our name to an agreement with insufficient ambition." The plans also do not contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement's aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, he added. "The agreements are just not hard enough."

FNV vice president Kitty de Jong sees too few guarantees for employees in the agreement. She wants a "coal fund" to compensate people working in the coal industry that will lose their jobs because of increasing sustainability. According to De Jong, the government is refusing to set aside money for this. "That is a big problem for us."

Ed Nijpels, who led the climate agreement negotiations with representations from the government and various sectors this year, stressed that an agreement will still be signed on Friday, although it is now thought of as a "draft climate agreement". Nijpels finds it very unfortunate that the environmental organizations decided to leave the negotiations and not sign the agreement. "But the door is always open and the chairs are always ready for the environmental movements to resume negotiations."