Advocates for climate action celebrated Friday after the Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld a landmark ruling that found the Dutch government is obligated under worldwide human rights law to more ambitiously reduce greenhouse gas emissions that drive global heating.
Dennis van Berkel, a lawyer at the Urgenda Foundation which brought the case against the Dutch government, talks to Al Jazeera. That court has formulated its human rights decision and states that the government owes its citizens a duty of care to protect them from damage.
In order to fulfill the requirements of the ECHR, the government will need to increase the speed with which they are addressing climate change, "the European Union itself has stated that it considers a 30% reduction in 2020 to be necessary".
Emissions in the Netherlands were 15% lower than in 1990 past year, and are expected to be reduced by around 23% in 2020, the government's environmental advisory body PBL said last month.
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Damian Rau, one of the co-plaintiffs who initiated the case, said in a statement: "I was 12 when we first filed our climate case in 2013".
The court ruled that the Dutch government must cut emissions by at least 25% compared with 1990 levels by the end of 2020 "because of the risk of a risky climate change that can also seriously affect the residents of the Netherlands in their right to life and well-being", according to a translation from BuzzFeed News.
The ruling, greeted by cheers from supporters, means that the government must now reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 25% by the end of next year, when compared with 1990, the court said.
Scientists say global emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants have to start falling rapidly as soon as possible to meet the Paris goal of keeping global warming by the end of the century well bellow 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F). The plaintiffs are now awaiting a decision in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit about if the trial is able to move forward.
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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the ruling.
A raft of initiatives unveiled this year would cut emissions to 43-48pc below 1990 levels by 2030 if introduced on time, according to the government's environmental body PBL.
This is the third court victory for Urgenda. Those efforts, however, have set off repeated protests by farmers and construction workers against government efforts to cut emissions, saying that has hurt their jobs.
In technical phrases, the Supreme Court docket's choice will drive the authorities to take robust motion to attain the 25 proportion lower, which could embody closing coal-fired energy vegetation, just a few of which began as not too long ago as 2016.
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Minnesma said the problem of climate change is already clearly visible - citing the wildfires raging in Australia as an example - and things like risings seas pose a very real threat to the low-lying Netherlands. The judge dismissed that argument and said, "Every country is responsible for its share".