By Cliff Reece
The PVV (Party for Freedom) led by Geert Wilders (pictured above) emerged victorious in a seismic election in the Netherlands last week that resulted in fears from left-wing climate activists’ groups that it will adversely impact on the country’s global warming objectives.
The party is projected to win 37 seats in the 150 seat Dutch parliament, putting it in the driver’s seat to form a new government.
“We are shocked,” Extinction Rebellion Netherlands says. “This outcome will likely mean a rollback of climate measures, new fossil investments, exclusion of marginalised groups, and more.”
Friends of the Earth Netherlands spelled out what PVV’s rule could mean for Dutch society: “A Wilders government will mean four years of climate change denial, exclusion and a breakdown of the rule of law.”
Their concerns are based on the PVV manifesto which declares: “We have been made to fear climate change for decades… we must stop being afraid!”
“The climate is always changing. When conditions change, we adapt. We do this through sensible water management, by raising dykes when necessary and by making room for the river.”
“But we stop the hysterical reduction of CO2, with which, as a small country, we wrongly think we can ‘save the planet’.”
The manifesto also calls for more oil and gas extraction from the North Sea and keeping coal and gas power stations open.
While the PVV is too right wing for the majority of Dutch people, his win should ultimately lead to the formation of a far more sensible centre-right coalition if he can convince other parties to join the PVV in order to form government.
That in turn should lead to a realistic stance on global warming that dispels the myth that we are all going to die from extreme heat and must destroy our economies by unnecessarily transitioning to unreliable and costly renewables like solar and wind.
Meanwhile, things have gone from bad to worse for climate activists in Germany this week after a court ruling that’s forcing the government to do something truly shocking: be honest to voters about how much the net-zero energy transition will really cost.
The country’s highest constitutional court ruled this month that one of the coalition government’s main gimmicks for funding green projects violates Germany’s version of a balanced budget amendment.
That amendment, known as the debt brake, caps the government’s fiscal deficit at 0.35% of gross domestic product per year except in emergencies.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration had planned to devote €60 billion in emergency borrowing approved – but not spent – during the pandemic to subsidize green projects such as battery production and decarbonized steel.
The point was to conceal the true cost of these plans by averting new legislative votes. The judges saw through this when they ruled that emergency authorization to borrow in the past can’t be re-purposed for entirely different projects in the future.
This fiscal moment of truth has exploded into a political crisis in Berlin. It’s becoming clearer that the unwieldy coalition of Mr. Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), the eco-leftist Greens and the free-market Free Democrats (FDP) of Finance Minister Christian Lindner can’t agree on any other method of funding green priorities.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lindner’s ministry says it believes a separate fund worth up to €200 billion may also be unconstitutional under the same principle.
The German government planned to use this pot of money for energy subsidies just as German households and businesses struggle to cope with skyrocketing prices created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their left-wing government’s enthusiasm for costly and unreliable renewable energy.
At least the €100 billion special budget Berlin is devoting to defence is safe, since Mr. Scholz secured a constitutional amendment allowing that spending.
But that might be the only new money Berlin can spend as negotiations over the 2024 budget collapsed this week as politicians grapple with the fallout from the court ruling.
The Bundestag is unlikely to approve either a new or retroactive “emergency” declaration to allow this spending.
That leaves tax increases that Mr. Lindner would oppose, social-welfare cuts Mr. Scholz would hate, or an end to ambitious green spending in an embarrassment to Robert Habeck, the Green Party minister for economic affairs and climate action.
In other words, the government might have to make hard fiscal choices.
The push for Net Zero is coming undone as the Dutch and Germans are now discovering the reality of just how that will impact on their quality of life and also how much it will cost them as taxpayers.
It follows UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s declaration that, “We’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people.”
Hopefully, one day, we will have a government in Australia that is equally pragmatic.
Thanks to the Net Zero Watch newsletter (email@example.com) for much of the commentary in this article.
Cliff Reece is the retired Principal of consulting firm Crisis Risk Management, former Executive Director/CEO of the National Safety Council of Australia (NSW/ACT) and divisional manager with KPMG.
Originally published at: https://richardsonpost.com/cliff-reece/33857/dutch-and-germans-discover-reality-of-net-zero/