Saturday

16th Feb 2019

Dutch government appeals landmark climate ruling

The Dutch government is appealing a court ruling telling it to take more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also said it will start to implement the verdict, the environment minister wrote in a letter to parliament on Tuesday (1 September).

The government wants to hear from a higher court if the court in The Hague was not overreaching its mandate when it gave its landmark ruling last June.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Marjan Minnesma: 'It's another signal that we should take climate change seriously, and that we should act' (Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg)

The court based its verdict on the overwhelming evidence scientists have provided on the need to reduce carbon emissions, as well as international treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol, to argue that the Dutch government is not carrying out its “duty to care” for the Dutch population.

It said that the 17-percent reduction of planet-warming emissions by 2020, which is expected under current government policy, was not enough, and that the government should add measures to make sure that emissions are reduced by 25 percent, compared to 1990 levels.

The decision to both appeal and start carrying out new measures to reach 25 percent are a result of typical Dutch coalition compromise.

The current coalition, led by prime minister Mark Rutte, consists of the centre-left Labour party and Rutte's centre-right Liberals. The Liberals had wanted the government to appeal, Labour favours a more ambitious climate policy. Both parties have already said they support the compromise.

Activist Marjan Minnesma, who led the court case against the Dutch state, told this website the government is “giving two signals”, and that she is still waiting to see what the government will do to further fight climate change.

The environment minister's letter said it will propose additional measures before 30 June 2016.

“We received thousands of reactions from all over the world of people who had hope again, and of people who are considering a court case themselves”, Minnesma said on Tuesday in Paris, adding that she has been speaking with lawyers in England, Switzerland, Norway, and Ireland.

A similar court case against the Belgian government was already underway before the Dutch case was concluded.

Minnesma has also been encouraging people to ask the Dutch government not to appeal the historic ruling.

She is confident the court's verdict will hold, and that it has not overreached its mandate.

“I don't think you would be able to go to court for any other topic in this way, because … no other topic [than climate change] has such a big body of science, and 195 countries saying year after year yes we agree, it's very bad, and it gets worse every year.”

Minnesma thinks the ruling changed “the atmosphere” on climate change, and may have affected the debate in the run-up to the all-important summit for a new climate change treaty that will be held in less than three months in Paris.

“I think that [negotiators] will know now that the judge is one of the partners [of climate activists], next to the Pope, and others, that are all saying more should be done. It's another signal that we should take climate change seriously, and that we should act.”

Feature

Wanted: Dutch backyards to build wind turbines

EU member state are obliged to increase their renewable energy reliance. But the construction of wind turbines near residential areas in the Netherlands is being met with fierce resistance.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us