The Dutch State has lost for the second time to justice an unprecedented case on the proportion of greenhouse gases (CO)2) that must be reduced to combat climate change. It should be 25% by 2020, compared to 1990. In 2015, the Court of First Instance of The Hague fixed that amount after the lawsuit filed by Urgenda, an environmental NGO. The State appealed, and this Tuesday the ruling goes even further. It does not matter that the Government intends to reduce harmful emissions by 49% by 2030. "It has the obligation to protect the citizens against harmful industrial activities. If he does not act, the current generation will endanger his life and his family life, "say the judges.
The Dutch State's advocacy argues that the courts could not meddle in politics, and should respect the separation of powers. They also stress that environmental protection is a matter for Parliament, "and the Netherlands is a small country in a global context regarding climate change".
The appellate judges have rejected both arguments without reservation. On the one hand, they consider that the country has signed international treaties related to climate, "that can be legally enforced before the national courts", without invading other competences. Regarding the size of the country, they point out that "it does not exempt from protecting the territory against climate change". "In case of danger to the population, the State must take preventive measures."
Finally, they add that "reduce the CO2 As soon as possible, it will reduce health risks and reduce costs. " The Central Bureau of Statistics indicated in September that, in 2017, the total number of greenhouse gas emissions was only 13% less than in 1990.
In 2015, Urgenda received the support of a thousand citizens, and it accepted European legislation on human rights. In particular, to the "right of damages" to demand the brake on CO emissions2. With this second victory, the followers have gone to the social networks saying that "the judges have made picadillo to the State".
"The ruling confirms that 25% less [de gases de efecto invernadero] It is the minimum. The Government must put hands to work. " The spokespersons of the NGO have then abounded in the relevance of the decision. "It is clear that time is running out for the Cabinet. It is no longer the time to agree. You have to act because the water reaches us already to the neck, but we do not see it ". For the moment, the State must pay the costs of the case. Then he will study the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court, "because it is not about the climate or its improvement policies, but about the courts entering into the political decisions of the Government."