Dutch European Commissioner Frans Timmermans is pushing to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent, and to achieve this by 2050, according to a 'Green Deal' he and European Commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen will present on Wednesday. The package of measures will overhaul the entire European legislation, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
The European Union's policy on air quality led to much cleaner air in the Netherlands, according to a study by public health institute RIVM. Without the European measures implemented since the 1970s, air pollution in the country would be much higher and the average life expectancy in the Netherlands would be about six years lower, the RIVM said.
Farmers are planning to move their protest against the government's nitrogen policy from The Hague to Amsterdam. But that doesn't mean the Malieveld in The Hague will be left empty. Construction workers are planning to protest there next week Wednesday.
The Ministry of Defense is supporting the police and the municipality of The Hague on Wednesday in cordoning off the city center, including the Binnenhof, to large vehicles. Hundreds of farmers are expected to go to the city today to protest against nitrogen measures.
Hundreds of farmers have taken to the streets on their tractors in another protest against nitrogen measures. They will start their protest in De Bilt, near the national institute for public health and environment RIVM, and then move on to The Hague around midday. Traffic is already piling up, with 346 kilometers of traffic jams reported by 7:15 a.m., according to the ANWB.
The provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel and Drenthe followed Friesland's example and announced on Monday that they are reversing the nitrogen measures they announced last week. This happened as hundreds of farmers took their tractors to protest at eight provincial governments. "This is asking for further actions", Jan Brouwer, director of the Center for Public Order and Safety, said to NOS.
Farmers in the Netherlands are planning more protests. On Wednesday next week, action group Farmers Defense Force plans to hold a major demonstration "somewhere in the Randstad". And action group Agractie has two actions planned in the coming four to six weeks, De Gelderlander reports.
Evening rush hour will be busier than usual and start earlier than usual on Tuesday due to farmers protesting in The Hague, travelers' association ANWB expects. The rainy weather will also contribute to longer traffic jams.
Traffic was already at a standstill in many parts of Den Haag and the surrounding area by 3:30 p.m.
Hundreds of farmers from across the Netherlands are on their way to The Hague on their tractors, where they will demonstrate on Tuesday. The police are escorting multiple processions of tractors, to keep traffic problems as limited as possible. But despite this, traffic chaos is building up on multiple highways.
By 7:30 a.m. there were over 650 kilometers of traffic jams caused by the farmers, in combination with the rainy weather and a few accidents, according to travelers organization ANWB. Usually there are around 250 kilometers of jams by this time on a Tuesday.
Agricultural pesticides used in the Netherlands may cause Parkinson's disease. Farmers who work with these pesticides are up to 60 percent more likely to contract the incurable brain disease, epidemiologist Roel Vermeulen said to Zembla.
Last year the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands was 2 percent lower than in 2017 and 15 percent lower than in 1990, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday. The Netherlands still has a long way to go to achieve its climate goal of 49 percent less emissions in 2030 compared to 1990.
Coalition party D66 wants to reduce the number of livestock in the Netherlands by half. This will reduce nitrogen emissions, and create more room to build new houses, D66 parliamentarian Tjeerd de Groot said to RTL Nieuws.
It's a simple calculation, according to De Groot. "70 percent of Dutch nitrogen emissions come from agriculture, a large part of which comes from intensive livestock farming. That is huge. At the same time, the contribution of intensive livestock farming to our own economy is not even 1 percent. The ratio is completely missing."
After months of negotiations, the coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie finally agreed on a Climate Agreement. The main changes to the draft agreement is that the government decided to balance the burdens more evenly between individuals and businesses by shifting the climate tax from citizens to companies and adjusting the energy tax, NOS reports.
Hundreds of products are incorrectly sold as "organic" in Dutch stores. This involves products from over 200 farmers who do not comply with the organic rules on animal welfare, medicine use and the environment, RTL Nieuws reports based on its own study of more than 1,500 inspection reports from regulator Skal.
While perhaps more commonly known for floods than droughts, The Netherlands is allocating seven million euros to combat excessively dry seasons in the country. The money will be used to build larger water reservoirs in sandy areas, to monitor levels of evaporation, and to reduce the impact of salinization on drinking water production, the government announced on Friday.
The consequences of last year's dry summer are still noticeable in large parts of the Netherlands. The average precipitation deficit in the country is currently at 65 millimeters, while there is usually a surplus of around 200 millimeters on March 31st, Weeronline reports.
The spraying of agricultural poison on the Dutch bulb fields exposes many more local residents to much higher concentrations of these pesticides for much longer periods than was expected, according to a scientific study by research committee pesticides and residents OBO. These pesticides are found in the diapers of babies who live 250 meters away from the bulb fields, television program Zembla, which has the research report in its possession, reports.
After the exceptionally dry year last year, the Netherlands will continue on the same foot in the coming weeks with little to no rain expected. As the groundwater level has still not recovered to standard everywhere in the Netherlands, this may mean that farmers in some areas will have to kick off the growing season with an irrigation ban. Farmers and waterboards are very concerned, AD reports.
Agricultural organization LTO Nederland and the producer organization for pig farmers POV are planning to take action against animal rights organization. They will help farmers in filing charges against wat they call "animal extremism", De Gelderlander reports.
Entrepreneurs in retail, hospitality, recreation, agriculture, and horticulture, among others, are protesting against the Labor Market in Balance Act, which is making temporary work more expensive. They will hand a manifesto with their concerns to the permanent parliamentary committee for social affairs and employment on Tuesday afternoon, NU.nl reports.
A number of bird species disappeared from the Netherlands over the past decades and more will follow if measures aren't taken, Vogelbescherming said in a new book Bedreigde vogels in Nederland. At least 10 bird species are on the brink of disappearing due to the destruction of their habitats and the decline of insects, NU.nl reports.
Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture wants to use a "light form" of genetic modification as part of her efforts to make agriculture in the Netherlands more sustainable. She is currently working with companies, farmers and Wageningen University to investigate the possibilities for experimenting with the so-called CRISPR-Cas method. She will send parliament a letter about their progress in the coming weeks, she said to the Volkskrant.
The drought in the Netherlands is still persisting. On Monday afternoon the water level in the Rijn river at Lobith was 6.73 meters above sea level, thereby breaking the previous low record of 6.87 meters from August, De Gelderlander reports.
Landscape ecologist Alphons van Winden expects the water level in the Rijn to drop another 20 to 25 centimeters if it doesn't start raining in the river's catchment area. "As it looks now, we are going to set a new record every day this week. The water level just continues to fall."
Former Environment Minister Ed Nijpels presented the Netherlands' Climate Agreement to Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate on Tuesday. This concerns the agreement in broad terms, with some concrete goals set and agreements made. The rest will be worked out and finalized later this year. The aim is to implement the Climate Agreement in 2019, NOS and NU.nl report.