Opposition parties Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks have threatened to block the cabinet’s plans to tackle climate change unless the coalition parties come up with a more ambitious ‘Green Deal’.
The parties want to speed up the transition to renewable energy, with all coal-fired power stations closed within two years and an end to subsidies for fossil fuel-based industries.
They also say international train travel should be encouraged as an alternative to short-haul flying and landlords should be compelled to install solar panels on rental housing where possible.
An assessment of the government’s policies environmental planning agency PBL last year indicated it was on course to miss its target of reducing carbon emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030.
The PBL estimates that based on measures implemented so far, emissions will only fall by between 39% and 50%.
‘Our patience has run out,’ GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said, warning that his party would vote against the coalition’s plans in the Senate
Latest opinion polls indicate that the government parties will need the support of GroenLinks and PvdA after the new Senate takes its seats in May. The two parties have agreed to sit together in a combined group.
The senators will be chosen by provincial assemblies based on how many votes parties receive in next week’s provincial elections.
Klaver said the cabinet’s current strategy, including a decision to keep the three coal-fired power stations open until next year to offset the soaring cost of gas, was ‘greenwashing’.
‘In 2023 we cannot support a climate policy which we know does not do enough to keep our planet ínhabitable,’ Klaver said.
PvdA leader Attje Kuiken said her party would use its leverage to ‘force through the action on the climate that we so desperately need’.
Prime minister Mark Rutte has tried to depict the election as a straight contest between his party, the right-wing liberal VVD, and the PvdA/GroenLinks alliance.
He and Edith Schippers, the former health minister who heads the VVD’s list of candidates for the senate, have said the ‘left-wing cloud’ want to raise taxes and block the VVD’s plans to raise minimum sentences for violent crime.
‘You can see here there are two opposing visions of the world, two visions for the future of the Netherlands: left and right,’ he said on a campaign visit to Deventer at the weekend.
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