Finance

Flight tax and green farmers: 60 billion to nitrogen and climate

The Rutte IV government is allocating 35 billion euros for the climate and 25 billion euros for the nitrogen problem for the period up to 2030. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

And because the government does not want to end up just below that, the plans are working towards a reduction of 60 percent. With the idea that if things are disappointing by a few percentage points, the ultimate goal – which has also been set at European level – will still be met.

Special minister

There will be a minister of climate and energy who will have to realize these ambitions. Energy consumption must be reduced and we must make greater use of cleaner energy sources. The government wants to accelerate new major infrastructural projects in the field of energy; think of strengthening the electricity grid.

Education is also encouraged to provide more professionals for this. The energy sector is struggling with a shortage of qualified personnel, which means that even with extra money things do not get off the ground.

Customization vague

The government also wants to make ‘customized agreements’ with the large polluting industry. 22 billion euros is available to make companies such as Tata Steel and Shell Pernis greener. The agreements with those companies for reduced emissions must also become binding. Greenpeace Netherlands has little confidence in this. “We have had customization for decades, but no hard agreements are made.”

Director Andy Palmen of the environmental organization is pleased with the broad outline of the cabinet plans. “This is a trend break after decades of neglect. However, the flag can’t fly yet.”

Greenpeace thinks the plans are too general. “The really concrete measures are yet to come.”

Three nuclear power plants

The plans for nuclear energy do not sit well with the environmental organization. Rutte IV is allocating 5 billion euros for two new nuclear power stations and keeping the nuclear power station in Borssele open for longer.

“It’s a waste of time. Those new power stations won’t be built anyway,” says Palmen. “We are going to talk about it for a long time now, but it is much more expensive and there is little support. The real energy transition lies elsewhere.”

The government is also strongly committed to making homes and public buildings more sustainable. More than 6 billion euros will be earmarked for this until 2030.

Every year, 150,000 homes must also be fitted with a hybrid heat pump (which runs partly on gas and partly on heat from air, water or the soil). 900 million euros has been reserved up to 2030 for the additional costs involved.

Flying more expensive

The tax on airline tickets will be increased, which should yield 400 million euros. This should encourage travelers to take the train for shorter distances.

In addition, the coalition wants to work together with the EU to tax kerosene and to stimulate the use of synthetic kerosene.

road pricing

And the bullet is through the church when it comes to road pricing: Rutte IV will make preparations to introduce this in 2030, after their own reign.

From that moment on, all cars, including electric ones, pay per kilometer. The road tax, the bpm and the purchase tax will disappear. For example, it is not the possession but the use of the car that is taxed.

A lot of money is also being set aside to solve the nitrogen problem. Since a ruling by the highest administrative court, the Netherlands must significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen in order to comply with European legislation. Too much nitrogen is harmful to nature.

To get rid of that nitrogen surplus and to make the agricultural sector greener, an amount of 25 billion euros is earmarked until 2035. Those billions come from a fund and are borrowed. The money therefore goes not only to nitrogen reduction, but also to water, soil and biodiversity.

Less nitrogen faster

The current cabinet had already planned to solve the nitrogen crisis, but the next cabinet wants to accelerate it even more. Not in 2035, but in 2030, previously set nitrogen targets must be achieved. This means that nitrogen emissions must be halved by 2030. In 2020, the plan was to emit a quarter less by then.

Palmen of Greenpeace is happy with these ambitions. He calls the fact that a lot of money is going to the nitrogen crisis and nature a ‘serious turnaround’. However, a lot of policy still needs to be worked out in concrete terms.

‘Unrealistic’

Farmers’ lobby club LTO, on the other hand, is displeased. “This doubling of the drawing board is unrealistic and demands the impossible from the limited export capacity of the government,” said chairman Sjaak van der Tak. However, the farmers’ organization is happy with the financial support that is intended to make the sector greener.

In order to achieve the nitrogen targets, the relocation of farms will be considered, among other things. The government would prefer that this be done voluntarily. But in places where there is a lot of nitrogen emissions and nature is too badly damaged, politicians ‘enter into a conversation at the farmyard to look for possibilities’.

However, the word expropriation does not appear in the coalition agreement. Van der Tak is happy with this, although he would also like to see a proportionately more money reserved for innovation and less for farmers who stop.

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