Dutch say companies too must work to stop climate change

Amsterdam Climate March

A new report from the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute says that 12 corporate sponsors of the current climate change talks in Paris are involved in fossil fuels or lobbying against pollution controls or other environment-unfriendly practices.

Generali and BNP Paribas, for example, finance coal and other forms of ‘dirty’ energy while Air France fights against tougher rules on aircraft emissions, the report says.

‘The UN climate talks are a “greenwashing” heaven: companies spend lavishly to invent dramatic examples of their stellar climate performances, to claim the most virtuous social practices, and to increase their profits,’ the institute said.

Leaders from 150 countries plus 40,000 delegates from 195 countries are attending the COP21 conference. The aim is to agree on legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which will keep global average temperatures below a two degree increase on pre-industrial global temperatures.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters in Paris that companies as well as governments will have to take action to reduce global warming.

The efforts which countries themselves can make will not reach the target of a maximum 2% rise in global temperatures, Rutte said. ‘To reach that, you need a contribution from companies and social organisations.’

Despite the Netherlands’ poor performance in some rankings, the country is making progress, Rutte said. ‘We are one of the most densely populated countries in the world and we are in a river delta,’ he said. This, Rutte said, makes it more difficult for the Netherlands to reach climate targets than other countries.

The Netherlands is represented at the detailed negotiations by newly-appointed junior environment minister Sharon Dijksma.

‘Both developed countries and developing countries take responsibility and contribute according to their ability,’ she said in a statement ahead of the talks.

‘In particular, the Netherlands wants a climate agreement that will help the poorest of the poor bear the impact of climate change and that will take particular account of small, precarious island states,’ the statement said.

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