Ruling party does not want to implement climate agreement

Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Commons)Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Commons)

Ruling party VVD is putting a brake on the climate measures in the climate agreement, which was signed in December. Party leader Klaas Dijkhoff does not want "ordinary people" to carry the bill for the climate measures. "It is not my agreement", VVD leader Klaas Dijkhoff said in an interview with the Telegraaf on Saturday. "I'm not going to do it."

The climate agreement was presented in December. It contains measures which are intended to help the Netherlands achieve its goal of halving its CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. Whether these measures will succeed in achieving that goal, and what it will mean for citizens' wallets, is still being calculated. Once these calculations are done, the politicians in The Hague will have the final say on whether or not to implement the climate agreement, according to Dijkhoff, however, already made up his mind.

"If we had gruesome luck, a great plan would have come from the climate tables through which the effects for households would be tolerable and neatly distributed. But that is not the case. Thanks for the advice and the hard work, but the chance that I will implement the agreement literally, is nil", Dijkhoff said to the Telegraaf. He is even prepared to put the government's survival on the line. "No one in the Netherlands will be better off if a cabinet falls. But that does not mean you have to do everything to keep it."

Coalition partners D66 and ChristenUnie are critical of Dijkhoff's statements, reports. D66 leader Rob Jetten called Dijkhoff's statements "political profiling in campaign time" that he "can not take so seriously". The Provincial States election, in which the Senate is elected, is happening in March. "The approach to the climate crisis is about the future of our children. For that reason I have agreements with Mr. Dijkhoff", Jetten said. "Halving the emissions in 2030 is a fair distribution of the burdens. I will hold him to that."

ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers is also holding Dijkhoff to his promises to reduce CO2 emissions in order to limit global warming. "I grant colleague Dijkhoff his one-liner in the Telegraaf, but we can not break an agreement", Segers said, according to the newspaper. "We have agreed that we want clean, self-generated energy, that we want to leave the world better for our children, that we want to help people make the transition to sustainability. Those are the agreements, that is what it's about, that is what we are going to do. Klaas Dijkhoff also has to stick to that."

Fourth coalition party CDA was critical of the climate measures in the past and therefore did not criticize Dijkhoff's statements, according to "It is important that the VVD now also sees that the climate agreement is not sacred and that the cabinet itself must make choices to ensure that the bill remains affordable for ordinary citizens", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said. Like Dijkhoff, Buma insists that the climate policy must be "feasible and affordable" for everyone.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver called Dijkhoff's statements "hypocrisy in the tenth gear". He points out that the climate agreement was signed by VVD members Ed Nijpels, Minister Erik Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, "with whom he himself was closely involved". Other opposition parties PVV, SP, PvdA and PvdD believe Dijkhoff's statements are an election stunt. 

Coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie and opposition parties GroenLinks, PvdA, SP, and 50Plus recently agreed on the Climate Act. It states that the Netherlands' CO2 emissions must be reduced by 49 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 and by 95 percent in 2050. All generated electricity must be sustainable by 2050. The Climate Act is only a framework, the climate agreement sets out how these goals will be achieved.