Climate change and human rights – the Urgenda case

States’ legal obligations on climate change extend beyond international treaties and include independent legal obligations towards their citizens. Hague District Court’s landmark ruling held that the Netherlands must take more action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions

Coming within a week of the publication of Laudato si’, on 24 June 2015 the Hague District Court handed down its judgement in Urgenda Foundation v The State of the Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment [2015] Case C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 [English Translation]. The court Press Release summarizes the proceedings:

“The Hague District Court has ruled today that the State must take more action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. The State also has to ensure that the Dutch emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25% lower than those in 1990. The Urgenda Foundation had requested the court for a ruling. Continue reading