/ 24 October 2022

We quit, says the Netherlands of fossil fuel agreement

Robjetten Afp
Pullout: Rob Jetten, Holland’s environment and energy minister, said it would withdraw from the deal over climate change concerns.

The Netherlands will withdraw from a recently renegotiated 52-nation deal on fossil fuels because of climate change concerns, the environment and energy ministry said this week.

In June, the European Union struck a compromise deal to update the decades-old Energy Charter Treaty, which governs cross-border energy trading and investment. The treaty, involving 52 nations mainly from Central Asia and Europe, was initially signed in 1994 to protect energy investments in volatile ex-Soviet countries.

The EU had pushed to rejig the deal to halt legal action from investors and companies that could jeopardise ambitious climate goals. 

The compromise deal, struck in June after two years of talks, allows for new fossil fuel investments to be excluded from protections and institutes a 10-year phase-out period for protections on existing investments.

Climate groups had slammed the loopholes left in the update and said they could put efforts to curb global heating at risk.

Late on Tuesday, the environment and energy minister of the Netherlands, Rob Jetten, told parliament the country would withdraw from the agreement.

“The minister indicated the negotiated result cannot be reconciled with the Paris accord” on climate change, a ministry spokesperson said. “For this reason, the Netherlands, preferably with the entire EU, will withdraw” from the treaty, the spokesperson said, adding the official withdrawal date had not been set.

The compromise deal struck in June is an agreement in principle and had been due to come into force next month, if none of the signatories objected.

On the EU side, it has to be approved by the European Parliament and member states. — Agence France-Presse