Dutch join COP26 deal to end funding of fossil fuels abroad

The Netherlands on Monday said it would join countries who have committed at the COP26 climate summit for new fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of next year.

The United States, Canada and 18 other countries made the pledge to steer spending into clean energy instead of fossil fuels last week, but the Netherlands did not immediately support them.

Dutch building and dredging companies are actively involved in large oil and gas projects across the globe, helped by around 4.5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in credit risk insurances guaranteed by the Dutch state.

The Dutch initially said a decision to stop this support should be taken by a new government, which still has to be formed more than seven months after the last election.

But that stance shifted in recent days, as opposition parties and climate action groups stressed the fact that the new government coalition most likely would be exactly the same as the one now in charge.

"The climate summit is now, so there is no use in postponing this decision," Prime Minister Mark Rutte told broadcaster NOS on Monday.

Countries that signed the pledge last week together invested nearly $18 billion on average each year in international fossil fuel projects from 2016-2020, according to an analysis by non-profit Oil Change International.

But the deal lacked support from Asian countries, even though China, Japan and South Korea are the biggest backers of foreign fossil fuel projects in the G20.

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