Netherlands: the Hague District Court orders Dutch State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

On the 24 June 2015, the civil section of the Hague District Court ruled that the Dutch State must take more action in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands.

The decision was rendered in a case initiated by the Urgenda Foundation (also acting on behalf of 886 individuals) against the Dutch State (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment). Basically, the foundation requested the Court to declare that: (i) the joint volume of the current annual greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands is unlawful; (ii) the State is liable for this volume of emissions; and (iii) the State would act unlawfully if it fails to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emission by certain levels.

The Court held that, due to the high risk of hazardous climate change, the State has a serious duty of care to take effective preventing measures. In its view, given that the current government policy regarding mitigation of greenhouse emission levels does not comply with the standards established by climate science and international policies, the State has breached its duty of care towards its citizens. Therefore, the Court ordered the State to limit the joint volume of annual greenhouse gas emissions, so that this volume will have reduced by at least 25% at the end of the year 2020 in comparison to the levels of 1990.

The full text of the decision can be found via the following link: Link