The Dutch government is subsidising two highly-polluting factories in China, the Volkskrant claims on its front page today. The paper says the factories produce a coolant which releases a gas 11,700 times more polluting than CO2.
The Netherlands is contributing €69m towards a €775m package to keep both factories in operation until 2012. Italy and Spain are also involved.
The Chinese factories are getting the money as a reward for cleaning up their production processes: the reduction in pollution counts towards the Dutch commitments in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Environmental organisations said the Netherlands was effectively rewarding industries which were highly polluting. ‘This is a perverse incentive,’ Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace told the paper. ‘China earns a lot from such transactions and that makes it lucrative to set up new factories to pollute.’
A spokesman for the environment ministry said the Netherlands was careful not to put money into new plants. The Dutch contribution will lead to an effective cut in CO2 emissions of 16 million tonnes, the paper said.
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