Dutch politician Frans Timmermans pledged to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands as he draws upon his time as the European Union’s climate chief in his bid to win the premiership.
(Bloomberg) — Dutch politician Frans Timmermans pledged to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands as he draws upon his time as the European Union’s climate chief in his bid to win the premiership.
Timmermans, who resigned his EU role after being named the leader of the Dutch Green and Left Labor party combination on Tuesday, said the current climate challenge facing the country is “gigantic,” but solvable.
“The Netherlands has made a very good start with the energy transition, but that still needs to be accelerated,” the 62-year-old politician said at a news conference in the Hague on Tuesday. The Netherlands has targeted reducing CO2 emissions by 55%-60% by 2030, compared to 1990.
Timmermans called for a wider reduction in household energy use and stressed the importance of making public transportation more attractive. “We need to show that these solutions exist,” he said.
The Dutch Central Bank warned recently that the country was falling short in its energy transition targets, citing an over-reliance on subsidies and a lack of proper financial incentives.
Before becoming an EU commissioner, Timmermans was the foreign minister of the Netherlands. His return to domestic politics comes as the collapse of the fourth coalition government and Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s decision to retire created a political vacuum in the country.
The merged left parties would take 27 seats, narrowly trailing Rutte’s VVD party with 28 seats ahead of the elections scheduled for Nov. 22, according to a poll by Ipsos/EenVandaag. The July 25 poll was conducted before popular lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt announced the launch of his own political party.
Separately, Timmermans said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s pledge for allies to spend 2% of gross domestic product on defense spending should be enshrined in law.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been reaping the benefits of the peace dividend for decades, he warned. “So we have no choice, for our credibility, and for our own defense, we have to do what we agreed with NATO. And I think that the united Left must also deliver on that promise,” he said.
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