The Netherlands Supreme Court on Friday ordered the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the end of 2020. In their decision, the court noted that “every country is responsible for its part and can therefore be called to account for it.”
The Urgenda Foundation brought the suit on behalf of 886 Dutch citizens in 2013, claiming that the state is exposing its citizens to danger. The court agreed with the Urgenda Foundation and rested its decision on the UN Convention on Human Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the Netherlands’ affirmative obligation to protect the lives and well-being of its citizens.
“This obligation applies to all activities, public and non-public, that can jeopardize the rights protected in this way, and certainly applies to industrial activities that by their nature are dangerous.”
In order to fulfill the requirements of the ECHR, the government will need to increase the speed with which they are addressing climate change, “the EU itself has stated that it considers a 30% reduction in 2020 to be necessary.” It will be up to Dutch lawmakers to take appropriate measures to reduce emissions by the end of 2020.The