Farmers Protest Emissions Mandates in the Netherlands By Blocking Traffic With Tractors

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People aren’t just protesting in the United States these days. Protests are popping up everywhere, even in the Netherlands.

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The government there has “mandated reductions in emissions of up to 70 percent in many places close to protected nature areas and as high as 95 percent in other places,” reports Aljazeera. The government calls it “unavoidable” because over the past few years courts there have not issued permits for housing or infrastructure because the country was not meeting its targets regarding emissions.

Recently the government published nationwide targets for reducing emissions which angered farmers and others in the agricultural business because they could lose their livelihoods. Specifically, the government wants to lower emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia. With the changes the government is mandating, farmers will have to drastically reduce their number of livestock, maybe even to zero. This is because a large part of the emissions comes from animal feces.

To protest this government action, farmers gathered with their tractors near Amsterdam. They plan to drive their tractors across the Netherlands in protest and are already causing traffic jams on major highways.

The mandates must be carried out by the provincial governments and the provinces only have a year to develop their plans to meet the newly required targets for emissions.

“Farming is a key sector in the Dutch economy, with exports worth nearly 105 billion euros ($110bn) last year. But it comes at a cost of producing polluting gases, despite farmers taking steps to reduce emissions,” AlJazeera said. Of course, without farmers, there is no food.

One person described what is happening over there as “quite crazy.” They described “Tractors driving against traffic direction on highways, evading road blockades, unscrewing license plates to evade detection, politicians warning protestors to obey the police.”

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This type of protest is reminiscent of the freedom convoys in both Canada and the United States. Snarling traffic gets everyone’s attention because no one can get anywhere they need to go. Do you think the farmers will be successful in getting some sort of resolution?

Stacey Warner

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