Government cuts endanger Kyoto targets

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The across-the-board cuts in financial support for renewable energy and energy efficiency announced by new Dutch economics minister Herman Heinsbroek (page 23) will make it more difficult for the Netherlands to reach its Kyoto targets, acknowledges environment state secretary Pieter van Geel. As a result, Van Geel is planning a special environmental budget this month in which he will announce supplementary measures intended to put the Dutch back on track for a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008 to 2012, compared with levels in 1990. "This can be achieved partly by including the environmental cost in the price. At the moment people don't see the connection between the many environmental regulations and their lives. Consequently the cabinet is going to take another look at the way regulations and subsidies influence people's behaviour." Van Geel's announcement comes on the heels of figures showing that in 2001 Dutch CO2 emissions were 15% higher than the 1990 Kyoto reference year, largely due to increased electricity consumption and car use. When Van Geel will release his budget is not known.

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