The Netherlands is easing its disputed goal of halving nitrogen emissions by 2030 in the run-up to November elections.
(Bloomberg) — The Netherlands is easing its disputed goal of halving nitrogen emissions by 2030 in the run-up to November elections.
The target, designed to comply with European Union rules on reducing nitrogen pollution, prompted uproar among farmers who said the measures would force them out of business.
The cabinet will now scrap the 2030 deadline as three of the four coalition parties no longer support the proposal, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. It is unlikely that the bill would be approved by a parliamentary majority, the people said.
The push to cut emissions by 2030 — instead of the 2035 deadline currently set under Dutch law — led to a stinging electoral defeat in March. The upstart Farmer-Citizen Movement become the biggest party in the Dutch upper house as the environmental policies from the coalition drew stiff opposition from the agricultural industry.
The reversal also comes as a recent study commissioned by the government shows that Dutch nature is even more sensitive to nitrogen emissions than previously thought. Intensive farming has devastated biodiversity in the Netherlands, the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, forcing the government to impose drastic measures to comply with EU rules on reducing nitrogen pollution.
If implemented, the government’s 2030 plan would have required cuts of as much of 95% in emissions in some provinces and forced livestock population in the Netherlands to be reduced by a third over the next eight years. Farmer protests drew global headlines last summer as farm-owners brought their cows to the Hague, blocking roads and prompting the agriculture minister to quit.
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