Tide is turning

Unprecedented: ban on fossil fuel ads in SIX (!) Dutch election manifestos

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The Netherlands takes the lead in a ban on advertising and marketing by fossil fuel industry. Today members of the ChristenUnie (Christian Union) voted to include such a ban in their election manifesto. With this decision there are now five Dutch political parties that argue for a ban on climate-damaging advertising. This is unprecedented.

In thirty years of climate policy all kinds of measures were reviewed. But politicians around the world have never seriously considered a ban on advertising that aggravates climate change, such as advertisements from the fossil fuel industry and for air travel and SUVs. For the national elections on March 17 2021, not just the Christian Union also Partij van de Arbeid (Labour Party), GroenLinks (The Greens), Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals), BIJ1 (‘Together’) and NIDA are arguing for such a ban.

Well-known weatherman

The well-known weather forecaster and climate expert Reinier van den Berg submitted the amendment for ChristenUnion. “I see an advertising ban as a tipping point. The ban on tobacco advertising completely changed the public opinion on smoking. I expect that same effect when a law that bans fossil fuel advertising will pass. It will be so difficult to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Why should we allow advertising and marketing to make climate problems worse?”

Obvious measure

An advertising ban is an obvious measure for the five parties that have adopted a ban in their election manifestos, because fossil advertisements encourage more use of fuels and thus go directly against the parties’ goals for climate action and clean air. All advertisements from the fossil fuel industry fall under the ban, including the so-called greenwashing advertisements. They use these advertisements to create a positive image of themselves and thereby influence public opinion and political decisions. Fossil companies invest no more than a few percent in fossil fuel. The rest of their business model is fossil.

Positive advice board

The Party for the Animals, BIJ1 and NIDA immediately included a ban on fossil fuel advertising in their election manifestos. The Party for the Animals and ChristianUnion also included a warning sign on points of sale. The Greens (GroenLinks)  and the Labour Party (PvdA) included a ban on climate-damaging advertising after an amendment that their board gave a positive advice to and the members voted in favor of an amendment. The board of the ChristianUnion refrained from giving advice and submitted the amendment to the congress. That voted in favor today with a large majority: 73%.

International

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Belgium, political parties are also calling for a ban on fossil fuel advertising. However, they are limited to advertising for SUVs.

Cities also want to ban fossil advertising

In December, the city council of Amsterdam became the first city in the world that specifically wants to ban fossil fuel advertising. A tweet from Greta Thunberg then sparked a worldwide wave of citizens asking their governments for such a ban.

The Vice Mayor of Stockholm has indicated that it wants to become the second capital to ban fossil fuel advertising. In the Netherlands political parties in The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, Zwolle and Nijmegen want to keep fossil advertising out of the streets.


Read the citizen’s initiative by Reclame Fossielvrij / Fossil Free Advertising for a ban on fossil fuel industry


Edit: this post was updated on February 15th with NIDA

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