The State of the Netherlands v Urgenda Foundation: The Hague Court of Appeal upholds judgment requiring the Netherlands to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions

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Abstract

One of the world's most successful climate litigation cases thus far, the remarkable Urgenda ruling by a Dutch Court in 2015, survived appeal. In October 2018, the Court of Appeal of The Hague rejected all of the State's objections, including that on the alleged infringement of the balance of powers principle. The court confirmed that, when so asked by individuals or nongovernmental organizations, courts are obliged to assess government actions (including policies) against human rights obligations. By setting the required outcome of policies (at least 25 percent emissions reduction by the end of 2020), the court left it up to the Dutch Government and Parliament to discuss which policy interventions to adopt to achieve this outcome. The Court of Appeal also confirmed, and sometimes even put greater emphasis on, a number of important elements of the Urgenda ruling, such as the role of the precautionary principle, the issue of causality (including the ‘drop in the ocean’ argument put forward by the State) and the potential role of climate engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
JournalREVIEW OF EUROPEAN COMPARATIVE & INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date22 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2019

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appeal
greenhouse gas
Netherlands
climate
precautionary principle
balance of power
human rights
causality
nongovernmental organization
parliament
non-governmental organization
court
obligation
engineering
policy
ruling

Keywords

  • Urgenda
  • climate litigation
  • climate law

Cite this

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