In a landmark case that may set a very important precedent for other countries around the world, especially within Europe, the Dutch government has been ordered by the courts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
The ruling came from a class-action lawsuit that was brought before the Dutch courts by Urgenda in 2012. The case, rather magnificently, was based on human rights laws. Specifically, Urgenda asked the courts to “declare that global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius will lead to a violation of fundamental human rights worldwide,” and that the Dutch government is “acting unlawfully by not contributing its proportional share to preventing a global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius.”
Today, a Dutch court at The Hague ruled in favour of Urgenda, ruling that the Netherlands’ plans to cut emissions by only 14-17 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 were illegal. Moreover, the wording used by the judges in the ruling is incredibly strong and clear-cut: “The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts … Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this.”
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