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A series of farmer-led demonstrations against a government climate rule in the Netherlands could be the start of a global movement, experts at Fox News Digital say.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FSA), the Dutch government released a nitrogen emissions reduction plan in June, mainly targeting the country’s agricultural industry, which produces an outsized share of those emissions. The government, however, directly acknowledged that “there is no future for all” farmers to continue their business under the proposal.
In response, farmers across the country have reportedly taken to the streets in recent weeks, blocking roads to airports and Deliveries to food distribution points. A State Department spokesman said in a statement to Fox News Digital that the US is monitoring the situation and encouraging both sides to reach an agreement soon.
“I really understand their anger,” Marcel Crok, a Dutch science writer and co-founder of the Climate Intelligence Foundation, said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “Farmers are also angry because they say, ‘We are the only sector that gets all the blame.’ What about industry? What about traffic? Maybe we should just ban all cars in the Netherlands because they also emit emissions [nitrogen].”
“This plan means in practice that farmers in certain areas will have to reduce their nitrogen emissions by 70%,” he continued. “That means they just have to stop.”
The proposal to sharply cut nitrogen emissions is tied to a 2019 Dutch court decision forcing the country’s government to take more aggressive measures to curb nitrogen emissions. However, the Netherlands has heavily regulated agricultural emissions since the 1990s, and farmers have largely complied with those rules, Crok said.
The Netherlands emits a large amount of nitrogen due to its massive agriculture industry, which is responsible for about 87% of the country’s 124 million kilograms of annual ammonia emissions, the FSA report showed. The country exported $26.8 billion worth of food products, according to World Bank data, despite having a relatively small population compared to other major producers.
“It doesn’t make very good sense to curb Dutch agriculture considering it has the highest production per hectare in the world and therefore the environmental impact per kilogram of food is lower than anywhere else,” said Simon Rozendaal, a Dutch journalist and chemist at Fox News Digital . “So in a sense, Dutch agriculture is beneficial for both the climate and biodiversity.”
Experts also argued that the actions of farmers in the Netherlands mimicked previous protests around the world and could herald similar uprisings against government hyperbole. For example, the so-called “yellow vest” movement in France began as a protest against nationwide increases in fuel taxes.
“This is literally communism,” Dutch political commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “When the state says, ‘We will take away your private property for a greater good,’ then the state has the prerogative to create crises to deprive you of your rights. That’s what’s happening here.”
Vlaardingerbroek said farmers’ response to government action should “absolutely” be a warning to other governments pursuing similar goals.
“This will definitely affect normal civilians,” she continued. “It’s part of a global agenda, so everyone around the world, especially western countries, should be aware that it’s not just about the Dutch government. This is part of the ‘2030 agenda’, this is part of the ‘great reset.'”
Similar protests could soon take place in Britain and parts of the European Union, where natural gas and energy costs are close to historic levels, according to Benny Peiser, the director of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation. Increased prices are expected in Great Britain send 24% of householdsor about 6.5 million households, in energy poverty.
“The problem is that despite this growing energy crisis in Europe, some governments are still prioritizing the climate agenda that makes energy more and more expensive or forces farmers to close their farms because that is still the top priority for a number of governments. Peiser told Fox News Digital in an interview. “This whole green agenda is causing enormous strain.”
“The Dutch are going crazy with this policy because it is destroying their businesses and the farmers are resisting massively,” he said. “It will happen all over Europe. I have no doubt that there will be unrest across Europe in the winter, when millions of families can no longer heat their homes or pay their bills.”
In addition, thousands of Sri Lankans stormed the private residence of the nation’s prime minister over the weekend, forcing him and the country’s president to resign. Protesters were reportedly upset by an ongoing economic downturn and fuel shortages.
Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, noted that the Sri Lankan government has also banned chemical fertilizers, which environmentalists blame for water pollution. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the country’s now-ousted president, remarked during a speech at a United Nations conference last year that such products “resulted in adverse health and environmental impacts.”
“Of course all the crops have collapsed, they have no tea to sell because the tea crop is so low,” Ebell told Fox News Digital. “So they have no income to buy stuff from overseas and their own food production for Sri Lankan people is not there. They’re starving.”
“This is all the result of a government decision to limit access to commercial fertilizer,” he added. “There’s a connection to the Dutch movement because it’s about ‘you need to start consuming less’.”