Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands

Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands, C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 (24 June 2015)
Hague District Court 

The Hague District Court found that the Netherlands must do more to avert the imminent danger posed by climate change in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment. In addressing the fact that Dutch contribution to global climate emissions is 0.5%, the Court said:  “[I]t has been established that any anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission, no matter how minor, contributes to an increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere and therefore to hazardous climate change.” Para. 4.79.  In addition, the Court found a sufficient causal link “can be assumed to exist” between Dutch emissions, global climate change, and the effects.  The Court determined the Dutch government must reduce CO2 emissions by a minimum of 25% (compared to 1990) by 2020 to fulfill its obligation to protect and improve the living environment against the imminent danger caused by climate change. 

UPDATE: 9 October 2018

The Hague Court of Appeal issued a decision today upholding the lower court decision finding that the Netherlands is breaching its duty of care by “failing to pursue a more ambitious reduction” of greenhouse gas emissions and agreed with the lower court’s finding that the State should reduce its emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020.

After highlighting important scientific facts related to climate change, the Court states that “it is appropriate to speak of a real threat of dangerous climate change, resulting in the serious risk that the current generation of citizens will be confronted with loss of life and/or a disruption of family life. . . . [T]he State has a duty to protect against this real threat.” Para. 45.

The unofficial English translation of the decision:
The official version of the decision is the Dutch text: https://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2018:2591

Netherlands v. Urgenda, The Hague Court of Appeal, Civil-law Division
Case number: 200.178.245/01
Case/cause list number: C/09/456689/ HA ZA 13-1396
Ruling of 9 October 2018

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