Voter turnout was up substantially in the country's provincial election on Wednesday, compared with turnout in 2015. Some 57.9 percent of eligible voters showed up at polling places, up from 47.8 percent four years earlier, according to RTL Nieuws.
The ruling coalition that forms the Cabinet in The Netherlands was projected to lose seven seats and its majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. Eerste Kamer relative newcomer Forum voor Democratie (FvD), a nationalist right wing party, was projected to secure ten seats in the Dutch Senate, and left wing GroenLinks was expected to take eight seats. There are 75 seats in the chamber, with the coalition currently holding 38 for a razor thin majority.
The latest poll by Maurice de Hond shows right-wing party FvD gaining massive support compared to the votes the party got in the 2017 parliamentary election. Ruling party VVD, on the other hand, is losing support. The Provincial States elections are on Wednesday, March 20th.
In the parliamentary election, the FVD got 2 parliamentary seats. If that election was held again today, the party would get 18 seats, according to the poll. The VVD would see its seats drop from 33 to 22. That puts only a two seat difference between the two parties.
Thousands of school pupils gathered in Amsterdam on Thursday afternoon to protest for a better climate policy. They marched from Dam Square to the Museumplein, carrying signs with texts like ‘Make the earth cool again’. According to the police, around 6 thousand people were present, NOS reports.
The turnout was lower than for the first march in The Hague in February, when around 10 thousand pupils participated.
The Dutch government wants to reduce the energy costs for citizens and let the industry pay more for the Netherlands' climate plans, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a response to the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL and central planning office CPB's calculations of the climate agreement. This will involve less energy taxes on citizens, and a CO2 tax on companies, NOS reports
The agreements made in the climate agreement will likely not achieve the Netherlands' goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 48.7 megatons in 2030 compared to 1990. The Industry in particular is not providing enough CO2 reductions, were the main conclusions of the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL and the Netherlands' central planning office CPB's calculations of the agreement, NU.nl reports.
The first debate for the Provincial State elections of 20 March, which will ultimately also determine the composition of the Senate, happened on RTL on Thursday. The climate was one of the main points that the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66, PVV, SP, PvdA and FvD debated, NU.nl reports.
The works councils of 17 large companies in the Netherlands are calling on politicians to be careful of what measures they implement to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. They worry about what effect a possible CO2 tax will have on the industry, they said in an open letter in the Volkskrant.
The number of Dutch people who are worried about climate change decreased significantly over the past months. While the group who thinks that addressing greenhouse gas emissions is going too far is growing since the government announced their climate plans, according to a survey by Peter Kanne of I&O Research, AD reports.
Almost a third of Dutch voters want to punish the Rutte III government for its policy during the Provincial States election on March 20th, according to the latest poll by research bureau I&O. A quarter of voters want to support the cabinet with his or her vote. And almost half said that they won't take into account whether or not the government coalition will get a majority in the Senate when they cast their vote, AD reports.
The business community will pay their "fair" share in the implementation of the climate agreement, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during question hour in parliament. The Prime Minister was called to parliament by GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver. He believes that in the negotiations on the climate agreement the government, like with the scrapping of dividend tax, listened too much to the business community, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a number of thinly veiled insults aimed at Amsterdam while speaking on television program Buitenhof on Sunday. While speaking about the climate agreement, which the government and business community signed in December, Rutte mentioned the "Amsterdam elite" and later also the "white wine sipping elite", Het Parool reports.
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."
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
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.
The climate table led by former PvdA leader Diederik Samsom is planning large shifts in energy tax in order to get individuals, businesses and housing corporations disconnected from the natural gas network. Over the next 12 years the negotiators want energy tax on gas to increase by around 75 percent, while tax on electricity decreases by over 50 percent. This gradual energy tax shift will almost certainly be included in the Climate Agreement, sources around the climate table said to the Volkskrant.
Used cars from abroad are more popular than ever in the Netherlands, and that is bad news for the government's climate ambitions, according to car dealers' association RAI. In the first three months of this year, the Dutch imported a record number of over 56 thousand used cars from abroad, ANP reports.
Nearly a third of these imported used cars were an alternative to purchasing a new car in the Netherlands, according to RAI. On average, used cars emit 12 percent more CO2 than new cars, the association calculated.
The Dutch government plans to build three more offshore wind farms, in addition to five new wind farms already agreed upon in the Energy Agreement. The government wants the total offshore wind farms to produce 40 percent of the Netherlands' current electricity consumption by 2030.
American companies will face detrimental consequences if U.S. president Donald Trump decides to withdraw his country from the Paris climate agreement, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden warned in an interview with British newspaper Financial Times. Van Beurden is one of the first to criticize Trump's decisions from the business community, which is set to benefit from Trump's promises of tax cuts and relaxed rules, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Wadden area may well be permanently under water before the end of this century, according to a study by TU Delft and Utrecht University on behalf or the Wadden Association. The study concludes that the impact of gas and salt mining has been underestimated, and drastic measures are needed to make sure the area does not disappear, NU.nl reports.
Greenpeace, Milieudefensie, Oxfam Novib and BankTrack filed a joint complaint against ING over the bank's continued investment in fossil fuels. According to the organization, ING still invests billions of euros in fossil energy and is thereby violating OECD guidelines, BNR reports.
Emissions of greenhouse gas methane is much higher in the Netherlands than existing figures would suggest, according to De Correspondent. Since 1990 methane emissions did not decrease by 43 percent, but only by 20 percent, the newspaper reports based on measurements in the field by journalist Han van de Wiel.
Methane gas is a much stronger and more dangerous greenhouse gas than CO2 and is especially released by cattle. Existing figures on this gas are based on estimates and unverifiable claims from the industry - not actual measurements, according to the newspaper.
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.
The Port of Rotterdam is taking its first steps in going green. On Thursday Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port, is meeting with almost everyone involved in the port on the ss Rotterdam to present two ambitious options for the port's energy transition, NRC reports.