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Netherlands - Hague District Court- Urgenda Foundation vs. the State of the Netherlands (C/09/456689 / HA ZA 13-1396) – Link to judgment (updated)

The Urgenda Foundation (Urgenda) brought this claim against the Netherlands, alleging that it has a legal obligation to take more ambitious measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Urgenda argued that the State has a duty of care towards Urgenda itself, the 886 individuals that Urgenda represented and Dutch society. The Hague District Court rejected the 886 individuals’ claims, believing that Urgenda had in any case successfully subsumed those claims. The Court concluded that the State has acted negligently and therefore unlawfully towards Urgenda by starting from a reduction target for 2020 of less than 25% compared to the year 1990. The Court found that its role was to offer legal protection, also in cases against the government, while respecting the government’s scope for policymaking. The State’s argument concerning the separation of powers was rejected. The Court ordered the State to limit the joint volume of Dutch annual greenhouse gas emissions, or have them limited, so that this volume will have reduced by at least 25% at the end of 2020 compared to the level of the year 1990. This order was confirmed by the Hague Court of Appeal in 2018. On 20 December 2019, the Supreme Court further rejected the Dutch state's cassation and ruled that the Court of Appeal was allowed and could decide that the Dutch State is obliged to achieve the 25% reduction by the end of 2020, on account of the risk of dangerous climate change that could also have a serious impact on the rights to life and well-being of residents of the Netherlands (see: https://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie-en-contact/Organisatie/Hoge-Raad-der-Nederlanden/Nieuws/Paginas/Dutch-State-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-25-by-the-end-of-2020.aspx)

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