The Netherlands: giving up fossil fuels for good?
Gas consumption in the Netherlands dropped to a record low in 2022. It was 25 percent less than in the previous year. But what some commentators say points to the future of energy supplies is seen by others as just another symptom of crisis.
Don’t revert to bad habits
NRC Handelsblad praises the positive trend but stresses that it must be sustained in the long term:
“The dirty revival of gas was temporarily justified, but it must be phased out again. In any event gas will play a subordinate role in a future in which clean energy must soon gain the upper hand. ... This requires a permanent change in behaviour among citizens and businesses. The pandemic shows that this cannot be taken for granted. Despite all the good intentions, people have gone back to travelling just as much as before. And the daily traffic jams are just as long as they were back then. There must not be such a revival of the old behaviour after this energy crisis. The motto was ‘get away from gas’ before Russia got in the way. And that still applies.”
Basic industry under threat
The good news also has a downside, De Telegraaf comments:
“Factories went bankrupt, production lines were shut down, bakers closed their doors, flower growers slashed production. Not to spite President Putin, nor to help the climate, but out of pure financial necessity. ... The fear is that a large part of the basic industry is quietly moving out of Europe. Will it come back later? If not, the Netherlands will lose the foundation of its industry without any benefit to the climate.”