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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

    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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    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.",
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