On 24 June The Hague District Court ordered the Dutch government to take more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the ruling, the government must ensure that the Dutch emissions in 2020 will be at least 25 per cent lower than those in 1990.
Based on the State’s current policy, the Netherlands would achieve a reduction of 17 per cent at most in 2020, which is below the norm of 25 to 40 per cent for developed countries.
Number of arguments
On 1 September the Dutch government declared that it will appeal the ruling by the Hague District Court.
Stijn van den Heuvel, Head of Public & Regulatory Affairs and Media Relations at Nuon, says:
“The government motivates its decision to appeal with a number of arguments. First, it stresses the need to have the ruling confirmed by a higher legal court. Furthermore, the government questions if the ruling sufficiently considers the space a state requires to make an integrated assessment of different interests. In addition, there are questions about to what extent international law and international treaties such as the Kyoto protocol which doesn't address citizens directly can be translated into national law.”
The government must file an appeal by 23 September at the latest. The court process is expected to last a few months.
“Even though the government will appeal, the current ruling still stands and has to be executed. Execution means that research on the effectiveness of Dutch CO2 policy has been initiated,” van den Heuvel says.
He states that an increased reduction from 17 to 25 per cent might not sound much.
“But those eight per cent equals the total emissions of one third of the Dutch households.”
Van den Heuvel states that the appeal does not mean an end to the Dutch Energy Agreement.
"The targets in the Dutch Energy Agreement are very ambitious and require a great effort from all parties involved, including the energy sector. We have a series of projects that can be executed relatively quickly if the right conditions are in place. We look forward to continued efforts in co-operation with Dutch authorities to reach the targets of the Energy Agreement and beyond.”