Jan 25, 2023 at 11:17 Update: 7 minutes ago
It is unclear exactly how much money the cabinet is spending on climate measures. The costs are between 4 and 6.9 billion euros annually and will only increase, but the ministries involved do not provide a clear overview of where the money comes from and where it goes. This makes it difficult for the House of Representatives to carry out its monitoring task.
The overviews of climate expenditure differ per ministry and there is no clear definition of what does and what does not fall under climate policy and climate expenditure, the Court of Audit concludes in a study published on Wednesday.
“The result is that the House of Representatives does not get a consistent picture of climate expenditure,” the researchers write to parliament. Over the years, the House has actually asked for clear overviews of expenditure on climate policy.
The costs of reducing CO2 emissions are only expected to increase. The cabinet wants to set up a fund of no less than 35 billion euros for this. Insight into how that taxpayer’s money is spent will only become more important.
“Without an unambiguous registration and a clear definition of climate policy and climate expenditure, it will be difficult to exercise your budget right and monitoring task properly”, warns the Court of Audit.
Different amounts for the same measure
The cabinet works as follows: Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs) includes all climate plans in her budget, on the basis of which Minister Sigrid Kaag (Finance) draws up the budget memorandum containing the cabinet plans for the coming year.
It is up to Minister Rob Jetten (Climate and Energy) to provide insight into all these expenditures and measures. He does this every year through the climate memorandum. Jetten uses the information from Adriaansens, but does not check it.
As a result, different amounts appear for the same measures. In some cases, that difference even amounts to 200 million euros per year, the Court of Audit writes.
Kaag writes in the government plans, for example, that the connection of offshore wind farms costs 150 million euros less than what her colleague Adriaansens reports in her budget.
In summary, reorganization of pig farming appears to be much less expensive
Things also go wrong with the reorganization of pig farming. The general overview states that these measures will cost 44 million euros between 2020 and 2027. But 259 million euros are set aside for this in the agricultural budget. The fact that ministries are allowed to determine at their own discretion what does and what does not fall under climate spending is avenging itself here.
In addition to the different amounts and a lack of clear definitions, the Court notes that some measures actually go against the climate objectives. This mainly concerns the tax benefits for fossil companies. For this year, these subsidies are estimated at no less than 4.6 billion euros. This is not included in the overview that the government sends to the House.
In a response to the Court of Audit, Jetten admits that some ministries use different amounts and promises to improve. The House will be informed about this at a later date.
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