The highest court in the Netherlands ruled Friday that the nation’s government must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of next year. The landmark case marks the first time a country has been held responsible by its courts to take action against climate change.
“The lives, well-being and living circumstances of many people around the world, including in the Netherlands, are being threatened” by climate change, Presiding Judge Kees Streefkerk, said in the decision. “Those consequences are happening already.”
The government was attempting to appeal earlier rulings that it must cut emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 from 1990 levels. The Supreme Court upheld the rulings that humans have a fundamental right to be protected from the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change by their government, because “there is a serious risk that a dangerous climate change will occur that threatens the lives and well-being of many in the Netherlands.”