Rutte at climate summit: ‘The Netherlands has also talked too long and done too little’

Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the press this afternoon at the climate summit in Glasgow.

“You see an increasing irritation that plans to combat climate change are sticking. To be honest, we have had a hand in that in the Netherlands,” said Rutte. “In that regard, the Netherlands has also talked too long about plans and done too little.”

Fighting global warming

That is one of the reasons why it is so important that the Netherlands is present at the summit, says the prime minister. “As far as the plans are concerned, we must stick to our ambitious goals. In terms of action, we must not only combat global warming, but also combat the consequences of that warming.” He mentions the rising sea level as an example, which, among other things, Bangladesh has to deal with.

According to Rutte, we are ‘closing the gaps’ with regard to the climate goals of our home base in the Netherlands. “It is not good enough yet, but the gap is getting smaller. With the climate agreement, the climate law, the 7 billion that has been promised for next year.”

He is also hopeful about the plans and contributions of the next cabinet. “What I expect to come out of the formation at this point is a very ambitious plan to close further gaps, but also for it to be one that is focused on execution.”

Complex problem

The climate problem is complex, says Rutte. But also: “That applies to the whole world. The Netherlands is not alone in this and ultimately we as the Netherlands must make our contribution – and if possible more than others in the world, because we can do that too.”

He considers the summit a success once the implementation of the climate plans has been discussed. “If we look back in a few years and say: this was the first summit where it was not just about objectives, but also about their implementation. And how you can help countries in the short term that are dealing with rising sea levels. If we can look back on that proudly, it is a success.”

In that light, the absence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping is not necessarily a negative sign for Rutte. “At the G20 they were present live via a video link, perhaps that is more difficult to plan here because so many countries are participating.”

According to the prime minister, the ambition is to take action in China. “They realize that they have to take the necessary measures. They have to deal with the consequences themselves, with air and environmental pollution. If China decides to do something, you see that it actually always happens in practice.”

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