Left wing parties demand climate deal changes before Senate passage

Left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks and PvdA are demanding some changes to the Climate Agreement before they will support it in the Senate. "If you think that we are applauding, then you are wrong", PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said during the first parliamentary debate on the Agreement on Wednesday, NOS reports. "If there are no concrete solutions, you can forget our support."

The PvdA wants compensation for tenants who suffer under high energy bills because their landlord refuses to insulate the home. GroenLinks wants large companies to pay more for their CO2 emissions. The green party also wants the costs of the energy transition and other anti-climate change measures to be more fairly distributed among citizens and companies, party leader Jesse Klaver said. 

In the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, the Rutte III government can get majority support for the Climate Agreement with just the votes of the four coalition parties. But the coalition does not have a majority in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. That means that at least one of the larger opposition parties need to support their plans for them to pass through the Senate. The two left-wing parties seem like the most likely candidates, both because they support measures that combat global warming and because other opposition parties are vehemently against the Climate Agreement.

The SP, for example, believes that the Climate Agreement hits low-income households too hard and the industry not hard enough. The party will therefore not support the Agreement. The PVV does not believe in global warming and finds it stupid that the government is spending so much on reducing CO2 emissions. "It is climate madness", PVV parliamentarian Alexander Kops said in the debate. Thierry Baudet, leader of the other populist party FvD, called the Climate Agreement the "largest suicide letter" due to its potential harmful effects on jobs and mobility. He wants the Agreement to be completely scrapped.

It is perhaps for that reason that coalition parties D66, ChristenUnie, and CDA showed their willingness to listen to the demands of the PvdA and GroenLinks. "This is not a closed agreement. We are open to suggestions", D66 leader Rob Jetten said. The cabinet is also willing to listen. "The government takes your concerns very seriously", Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said to PvdA leader Asscher. Landlords who refuse to insulate their properties will be forced to lower their rents, she said. 

Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs told GroenLinks leader Klaver that it is not possible to immediately respond to his wish not to put a disproportionate burden on citizens. "There is not one solution now", the Minister said. The climate measures in the Agreement span 30 years. "It plays until 2050. Every year we'll gage if it is going well."