Supreme Court docket Of The Netherlands Guidelines Dutch Authorities Should Sort out Local weather Disaster

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The decision of the Dutch Supreme Court could have an enormous impact on how other countries deal with increasing emissions.

Last updated on December 20, 2019 at 6:18 pm ET

Posted on December 20, 2019 at 5:13 p.m. ET


Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled on Friday that the government urgently needs to take action against climate change to protect the fundamental rights of its people.

This decision was taken in a groundbreaking case initiated by the Dutch environmental group Urgenda. International law in 2013 obliged the Netherlands to be the first in the world to examine whether citizens could use the Human Rights Act to force their governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Danger of dangerous climate change that can seriously affect Dutch citizens' rights to life and wellbeing. "

" Today, at a moment when people are around the world Hoping that governments will take urgent action against the climate crisis, the Dutch Supreme Court has taken a groundbreaking decision that confirms that individual governments must make their fair contribution to red greenhouse gas emissions, "said a spokesman for Urgenda after the judgment.

 Exceptional and much-needed good news: The Dutch Supreme Court upholds the historic ruling that the Dutch government is legally required to cut emissions significantly. Incredibly proud of brilliant colleagues @urgenda #climatecase

Exceptional and much-needed good news: The Dutch Supreme Court upholds the historic decision that the Dutch government is legally required to cut emissions significantly. Incredibly proud of brilliant colleagues @urgenda #climatecase

10.03 a.m. – December 20, 2019

Rising sea levels pose a serious threat to the Netherlands, a quarter of which are on land that is already below sea level.

Urgenda had already won the trial two instances ago. Today's judgment confirms the 2018 order that the Netherlands must cut emissions by at least 25% by 2020 compared to 1990 in order to “save life and that To protect the family life of citizens ”.

The Supreme Court ruled today that the decision of the Court of Appeal in 2018 will be "finally confirmed" and that the state is obliged "to protect the residents of the Netherlands from the serious risk of climate change".

The Netherlands has already worked However, reducing emissions, including the decommissioning of one of the five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2019, could require drastic measures to reach the 25% target next year. The Dutch government recently estimated that it was only on the right path to cut emissions by about 20% next year.

 Thank you, @Urgenda, for achieving an enormous legal victory for climate protection! The Supreme Court upheld the landmark ruling that forced the Netherlands to take more ambitious climate action. #climatecase

Thank you, @Urgenda, for achieving an enormous legal victory for climate protection! The Supreme Court upheld the landmark ruling that forced the Netherlands to take more ambitious climate action. #climatecase

10:29 – 20.12.2019

The need for climate protection measures has become increasingly urgent since Urgenda. Time is running out to avoid catastrophic warming, the United Nations said in a report last month that it found the world needed to cut emissions by 7.5% each year for the next decade. Global climate negotiations in the past 30 years have not solved the problem, and activists around the world are increasingly calling on the courts to intervene.

Friday's decision could have an impact far beyond the Netherlands. The Dutch court based its decision in part on the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty that is binding in 47 countries, including Russia and Turkey. This could allow citizens of these countries to use the Dutch decision to argue that European law is on their side in cases against their own governments.

"Governments must take even more seriously into account that they have legal obligations regarding Joana Setzer, a research associate at the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School, who stated that she may be indicted and brought to justice to be asked to take legal and political measures of Economics.

"The government has no discretion in violating human rights – it has a duty to take care of climate change."


Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Activists gather in Washington, DC on September 20, 2019 for protests against global climate change.

Environmental lawyers also believe that a future case, similar to that of Urgenda, will ultimately reach the supreme court created to enforce the convention, the European Court of Human Rights, which, over all states that have signed the treaty, is legally authorized. In this case, the Urgenda judgment will be an important precedent.

The Urgenda case has already had a global impact. At least a dozen similar cases have been filed in other countries in the past six years, including one in the United States that is still pending before the courts. Some of these suits have won significant victories. For example, judges in Pakistan and Colombia have decided that the government is required to take climate action to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens.

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