Fossil subsidies are the most extreme inconsistency in public policy ever, a group of leading economists and climate scientists argue in an opinion piece published by the Financieele Dagblad. “It’s like turning on the air conditioning and the heating at the same time: it achieves nothing and just costs a lot.”

Tax breaks

The Hague has so far kept the tax breaks in place, arguing that abolishing them would mainly affect poor households. The government also suggested that fossil fuel producers and major consumers would simply relocate to other countries where they could still get tax breaks. According to the scientists, there is too little evidence to support either of these claims.

Last week, tax breaks for large consumers of fossil energy were revealed to be even bigger than previously thought, totalling up to 46.4 billion euros a year. This is more than the 35 billion euros earmarked for the government’s climate fund in the coming years.

Climate protest

Last weekend, climate activists from Extinction Rebellion blocked the A12 motorway in The Hague to protest tax breaks and subsidies for big fossil energy consumers and fossil energy companies. The group included scientists dressed in gowns and lab coats.