Groundbreaking Climate Case: The Urgenda-Appeal Verdict (The Hague Court of Appeal Case No 200.178.245/01) Case Comment
On 9 October 2018 the Hague Court of Appeals issued a ground-breaking verdict in the appeals case Urgenda Foundation v The Netherlands, that has been discussed earlier on this weblog. The court of appeals upheld the intial verdict of 2015 and rejected the appeal of the Netherlands, ordering the state to achieve a level of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by end-2020 that is more ambitious than envisioned by the state in its current policy. The Netherlands are now obliged by the court to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020, compared to 1990-levels. The decision is based on the duty of care under articles 2 (the right to life) and 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (the right to family life, which also covers the right to be protected from harmful environmental influences). From a legal theory point of view the decision raises questions about the possible interpretation of the precautionary principle.