Enviro Political Revolution

The Netherlands: Climate Change Is Taken to Court

We’ve been waiting for something like this. In a landmark legal case, Dutch citizens are suing their government for failure to act on climate change.

In Landmark Case, Dutch Citizens Sue Their Government Over Failure To Act On Climate Change

For the first time ever, climate change is being taken to court over human rights.

Public arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the Netherlands, where nearly 900 Dutch citizens have filed a lawsuit against their government for failing to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change.

“What we are saying is that our government is co-creating a dangerous change in the world,” Roger Cox, a legal adviser for the plaintiffs, told RTCC. “We feel that there’s a shared responsibility for any country to do what is necessary in its own boundaries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as much as is needed.”

The plaintiffs will ask the court to force the Dutch government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 25 and 40 percent relative to their 1990 levels by 2020 — reductions that the IPCC has said developed nations must make if the world wants a 50 percent chance of avoiding a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperature. Currently, the European Union has committed to reducing its emissions 40 percent by 2030, but the Netherlands has not made any specific commitments, saying instead that it intends to adopt any international agreement that comes from the Paris climate talks later this year.

Nearly a quarter of the Netherlands is below sea-level, which forced the country to become an early adopter of climate adaptation strategies and renewable energy. But while the adaptation strategies meant to shield the country from rising sea level and more frequent storms are still in place, it has begun to fall behind when it comes to clean energy. According to the International Energy Agency, the Netherlands lags behind much of the European Union in renewable energy sources. In 2013, 4.5 percent of energy consumed in the Netherlands came from renewable sources, far below the country’s goal of getting 14 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

— Natasha Geiling, Climate Progress

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.

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