Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dutch Court Orders Emission Cuts in Ruling Hailed by Greens

A Dutch court today ordered the Netherlands to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020 to combat climate change in a ruling that environmentalists hope will set a key precedent around the world.

Low-lying Netherlands is vulnerable to flooding, which could worsen with rising sea levels (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Urgenda, an advocacy group representing 900 Dutch citizens, brought the lawsuit claiming the government has a legal obligation to protect its citizens from ongoing threats, including climate change.

The Netherlands, with its lowland elevations, is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

"[I]t is established that if the global emissions, partly caused by the Netherlands, do not decrease substantially, hazardous climate change will probably occur," Judge Hans Hofhuis wrote.

"In the opinion of the court, the possibility of damages for those whose interests Urgenda represents, including current and future generations of Dutch nationals, is so great and concrete that given its duty of care, the State must make an adequate contribution, greater than its current contribution, to prevent hazardous climate change."

Urgenda had sought to force the government to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by between 25 and 40 percent from 1990 levels. Hofhuis settled on the minimum.

The ruling comes on the heels of Pope Francis' encyclical arguing a moral case for combating climate change.  Countries are also working to publish their climate change efforts in the run-up to November's U.N. conference in Paris, which some hope will lead to a global accord.

Read more at Dutch Court Orders Emission Cuts in Ruling Hailed by Greens

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