In December 2019, the highest court in the Netherlands upheld a ruling that demands from the government to reduce their greenhouse emissions by at least 25 percent of 1990 levels by the end of 2020.
This case was brought several years ago by the environment group Urgenda in an effort to make ministers reduce more than the set EU targets.
But, the outlook of the government reaching the target wasn’t looking good. And, by the end of 2018, their gas emissions dropped only 15 percent from the 1990 levels.
According to environmental researchers from the Netherlands, these levels could drop by 23 percent by end of 2020; however, they believe the reduction can be as low as 19 percent.
Dutch Court Rules Government to Lower Greenhouse Emissions
The Hague government presented their climate accord at the end of June 2019 with plans for a drop of 49 percent in greenhouse emissions by 2030 and removing coal power generation as of 2020.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Have Changed Scarcely in the Netherlands
Even though there have been reductions in methane and nitrous oxide and some other gases, the carbon dioxide levels have dropped only a bit since the 90s.
The Dutch ministers announced a reduction in the daytime speed limit to 100 km/h after the pressure to do something about the nitrogen oxide pollution.
The State’s Council forced the government to act in that case by declaring that rules for building and farming permits were in breach of the EU law that protects nature.
And, the Supreme Court in the Netherlands said that they based their ruling on the UN climate convention and that the state is legally obliged to protect the lives and health of Dutch citizens.
There’s an Urgent Need of Dropping Greenhouse Gas Emissions
According to the Supreme Court, the scientific and the international communities agree about the need of lowering greenhouse gases by at least 25 percent in developed countries.
Despite the EU goal for a cut of carbon being 20 percent of the 90s levels, Urgenda took up the case of 886 citizens arguing that their government is legally bind to avert climate change and therefore, they should seek a higher reduction.
The first case they won was in 2015; however, it was challenged by the government and it reached the Supreme Court.