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.
Protect and improve
Stijn van den Heuvel, Regulatory Manager at Nuon, explains the background to the court ruling.
“NGO Urgenda that started the law case and also represented 886 individuals claimed in court that the State must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment. The court agreed and ruled that the State must increase its efforts.”
Van den Heuvel 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.”
The District Court’s ruling can be appealed by the government.
On Thursday (25 June) the government had not issued an official statement on the ruling.
“The ruling is binding if it isn’t appealed,” states van den Heuvel who finds the development highly interesting. Nuon firmly stands behind the implementation of climate targets and we look forward to continued efforts in co-operation with Dutch authorities.”
The Dutch court ruling has attracted a lot of international attention and similar court processes are on-going in both Norway and Belgium.