The Dutch parliament voted to reduce the carbon emission in the country by 55 percent. The country can reduce its carbon footprint by 2030 only if all the coal-driven power plants in the country are shut down.
The bill was carried by 77 votes to 72. The move will bring the Netherlands in line with the climate policies and assurances defined by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Albeit an unbinding vote, both the Liberal and Labour party has assured that they would push for the speedy implementation of the bill. Last year, five coal-fueled power plants were closed in the Netherlands. However, another five are still operating in the country of which, three came online last year.
Stientje van Veldhoven, the Vice President of the Dutch parliament has sounded vociferous support for the motion:
“Closing down big coal plants – even if they were recently opened – is by far the most cost-effective way to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, and all countries will need to take such far-reaching measures. We cannot continue to use coal as the cheapest source of energy when it is the most expensive from a climate perspective.”
In 2015, the Dutch PM Mark Rutte was ordered by the court to decrease the carbon emissions by a quarter by 2020. The legal counsel for the group that brought the case, Dennis van Berkel said that the vote was a significant move towards a better and improved climate policy for the Netherlands.
The center-right coalition government is setting a climate package to be released in early November and is also filing an appeal to the higher country. Meanwhile, the economic minister, Henk Kamp has criticised the suggested closure of the three new coal-fueled power plants built by EOn, RWE and Engie.
“They are the cleanest (coal plants) in Europe. We’d be crazy if we shut them.”
The parliamentary vote was spurred by a recent study commissioned by Eneco, a Green power company from the Netherlands. The study suggested that the easiest and the cheapest way to meet the climate commitments made by the country in Paris would be to shut down one or two new coal plants.