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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

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 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.

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