Dutch court of appeals upheld aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction, puts government on notice

"The court of appeal's decision puts all governments on notice. They must act now, or they will be held to account."

Image Credit: Chantal Bekker/Urgenda

A Dutch appeals court upheld a legal ruling in favor of climate change on Tuesday. With the pending climate catastrophe, the ruling ties the Netherlands government to aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Guardian, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced “at least 25 percent by 2020 – measured against 1990 levels – higher than the 17 percent drop planned by Mark Rutte’s liberal administration” in order to prevent the dangerous effects of climate change.

“The government has done too little to prevent the dangers of climate change and is doing too little to catch up,” the court said in a statement on Deutsche Welle, a German news website.”There is a clear chance that the reduction will fall far short of the 25 percent goal, which is unacceptable,” the ruling continued. “The state is acting unlawfully and in violation of the duty of care.”

Many climate campaigners celebrated the ruling calling it “one for the history books!”

“The special report of the IPCC emphasizes that we need to reduce emissions with much greater urgency,” Marjan Minnesma, director of the Urgenda campaign, which brought the case to court, said. “The Dutch government knows that as a low-lying country, we are on the front line of climate change. Our own government agencies recently concluded that in the worst case scenario sea levels might rise by 2.5 to 3 meters (8.2 to 9.8 feet) by the end of the century.”

But the historic ruling by the Dutch court of appeals “puts all governments on notice.”

“They must act now, or they will be held to account,” Minnesma said.

“Your victory should inspire people around the world to hold their governments legally accountable for climate change,” Greenpeace said in a tweet.


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