On October 9, the Hague Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling in the landmark case of Urgenda Foundation v. The State of Netherlands , which in 2015 was the first case in the world to rule that governments have a “duty of care” to protect their citizens against climate change. The 2015 ruling ordered the Dutch government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). The Urgenda Foundation press release is here ; a compilation of documents by the Foundation, including the text of the decisions, is here and an English-language Explainer is here. The article in Climate Liability News expands on the global importance of this decision, which has inspired other court challenges in U.S., Norway, Pakistan, Ireland, Belgium, Colombia, Switzerland and New Zealand.
The Urgenda decision comes just as the highly- publicized Juliana v. United States case proceeds to its next court appearance on October 29. Juliana vs. the United States was originally filed in Oregon in 2015 under the Obama administration, and argues that the 21 young plaintiffs have constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, which are currently jeopardized by federal climate change policies. It is led by Our Children’s Trust and has been called “the trial of the century” and has received media attention throughout the ongoing challenges from the federal government.