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Dutch companies want next government to focus on shift to clean energy

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screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-23-00-27Dozens of Dutch companies called on the country’s next government on Tuesday to establish an independent climate authority, environment minister and national investment bank to speed up the shift to clean energy.

The rare call for more government came from 39 companies, including oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, insurer Aegon and engineering consultancy Arcadis.

They argued that future Dutch leaders must adopt a comprehensive “climate law” after the general elections next March 15 that would establish bodies to oversee policies needed to meet targets set out in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

The coalition “wants to be part of the solution and chooses unequivocally to accelerate the energy transition,” the open letter said. “Acceleration costs more, but yields more. It offers the Netherlands the chance to be a leader in sustainability.”

After falling behind on its own emissions reduction targets, the Dutch government said earlier this month that it may meet its 2020 carbon dioxide emission goals after all due to a faster rollout of wind energy and 100 million euros ($110 million) in extra spending.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the goal “within grasp” after the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency estimated carbon reduction by 2020 will be around 23 percent, compared to 1990 levels, up from a previous estimate of only 17 percent.

A dedicated climate authority would oversee the implementation of policies, while the national investment bank would fund innovation and large-scale energy projects, the group said.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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