Geert Wilders is Bad News for Europe and the Environment
Netherlands newly elected leader Geert Wilders opposes anything and everything from the European Union to immigration, and cultural diversity to environment. He has a fiery tongue and doesn’t shy away from lambasting Muslims with an anti-Islam rhetoric.
No one has expressed utter disbelief at Wilders’ election win than environmental groups. Extinction Rebellion Netherlands expressed shock at the far-right party PVV’s victory. “This outcome will likely mean a rollback of climate measures, new fossil investments, exclusion of marginalized groups, and more.”
Friends of the Earth Netherlands said a Wilders government means four years of climate change denial, exclusion and a breakdown of the rule of law.
Is it really that bad?
Wilders is Bad for the Environment
He has been critical of climate scientists and says the Dutch government has spent too much on reducing carbon emissions. Wilders has advocated for coal and gas power stations to remain open. The new leader even proposed to stop the construction of solar parks and wind turbines. Moreover, he wants to withdraw the Netherlands from the Paris climate agreement.
The Dutch Wind Association (NWEA) said PVV, the far-right party that won majority in the elections, denies climate change and finds climate policy wasteful. The party’s manifesto described wind turbines as hideous and suggested a PVV-led government would shun renewable in favor of keeping coal plants open and doubling down on offshore oil and gas extraction. It also stated that the Netherlands Climate Act and other policies aimed at tackling the climate crisis would go straight in the shredder, if it assumed power.
A Dutch environmental organization Natuur&Milieu says politicians need to be honest about the challenges the Netherlands face because of climate change. It said the election highlighted that some Dutch people did not feel sufficiently represented by the incumbent political parties and that trust in politics and support for policy is also crucial for climate and nature policy.
Wilders is Europe’s Donald Trump
Geert Wilders has been compared to the former US president Donald Trump. It’s not surprising that their views, blond hair and rhetoric are similar. Wilders’ main campaign pledge was to stop the asylum tsunami, which he says contributed to the Netherlands’ housing shortage and high health costs.
He called for an end to asylum for refugees and to the free movement of labor within the European Union. Furthermore, Wilders is anti-EU and urged the Netherlands to reduce its payments to the bloc, and to stop entry of any new members.