As reported in the June WCR , the courts of the Netherlands ruled that the government has a legal duty of care to its citizens to improve the environment, and ordered the government to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020. However, on September 1, the Dutch government announced it would appeal the decision. Environmentalists around the world have been inspired by the implications for their own legal systems: see “Around the world in five climate lawsuits” . A sampling of thought from Canada: Dutch climate court win – What does it mean for Canada? (June 26) at and Dutch Judicial Lessons for Canada (West Coast Environmental Law ); What the Dutch Climate Court win means for Canada (Ecojustice); Exciting developments in Climate Change Law (Alberta Environmental Law Centre); “Are countries legally required to protect their citizens from climate change?” (Corporate Knights , July 28). And most recently, the reports sparked by a public lecture in Toronto by Roger Cox, Urgenda lawyer: “Dutch climate lawsuit could work in Canada: lawyer” in The Tyee (Sept. 15); and “Canadian Courts could face Climate Change cases in wake of Dutch ruling” Globe and Mail (Sept. 14).
From Australia: Could Australians sue for climate action ?. For a U.S. viewpoint, see The Enormous Significance For Climate Law and Ethics Of a Dutch Court’s Order Requiring the Netherlands To Reduce Its GHG Emissions by 25% by 2020 at the Ethics and Climate website. From a legal viewpoint, The Urgenda decision: Balanced constitutionalism in the face of climate change? (Oxford University Press).
Watch the Urgenda Foundation website for news of the appeal by the Dutch government.