October 14, 2016 / 2:40 PM / in 3 years

Dutch government: may meet 2020 carbon emission goals after all

The monument "The Men at Sea" by Danish designer Svend Wiig Hansen Esbjerg stands on the coastline as smoke billows from a chimney in the background near Esbjerg in western Denmark September 16, 2009. REUTERS/Bob Strong

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government may meet its 2020 carbon dioxide emission goals after all, it said on Friday, thanks to a more rapid rollout of wind energy and 100 million euros ($110 million) in extra spending.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the goal “within grasp” after the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency estimated carbon reduction by 2020 will be around 23 percent, compared to 1990 levels, up from a previous estimate of only 17 percent.

The government announced an extra 100 million euros of debt funding for carbon storage and energy-savings projects, in additional to existing sustainable energy subsidy programs.

In a landmark ruling in June 2015, a district court found the government had fallen behind in attempts to meet its official Kyoto goal of a 25 percent reduction by 2020, and ordered it to take steps to comply.

Many observers said the only way to meet the goal was to close at least two of its five remaining coal generation plants, three of which have come on line in the past two years.

Dutch Energy Minister Henk Kamp said on Friday that official estimates for wind turbines to be installed on Dutch soil by 2020 were outdated and a goal of 6,000 megawatts may be met after all.

Kamp said in a statement that the Cabinet expects to update parliament in November about its efforts to comply with the court’s ruling.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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