Yesterday the supreme court of the Netherlands came to a historic landmark verdict: the Dutch government’s lack of strong climate change action was branded illegal.
Organised by the climate campaign group Urgenda, 886 Dutch citizens sued their own government for failing to act in line with climate science, and therefore endangering lives. The Hague ruling used existing human rights laws and tort law – a form of common law that every country has, that refers to the basic duty to avoid causing harm.
The judges said that based on existing policies, the country is set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) at the very most – which was deemed unacceptable considering the severe risks of global climate change, the country’s status as an advanced and affluent state, and the flat and low-lying geography of the country that poses a significant flooding risk.
Yesterday’s ruling has ordered the Dutch Government to instead reduce emissions by at least 25% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. The verdict is legally binding, Continue reading