The Netherlands is stepping into the Supreme Court in the Urgenda case. Minister Eric Wiebes (Economic and Climate Affairs, VVD) announced that Friday. It is known that the Cabinet is considering entering into cassation.
The Hague Court of Appeals decided earlier that the state must do more to reduce CO emissions2 to fight. Because of this statement, the government feels limited in freedom itself to determine how high the reduction should be. The move to the Supreme Court is a matter of principle, said Wiebes after the Council of Ministers. "Because we want to know, in the highest example, whether a judge can sit in a political chair in such a way."
In a letter to the House of Representatives, Wiebes wrote that the government "continues to drive" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020, as stated by the Urgenda decision. Experts, however, hardly assume that the goal is feasible.
Director Urgenda Marjan Minnesma was not surprised about the cabinet's decision to enter cassation. "The government always says that his defense is only a matter of principle." He called it "no longer credible". Since 2015, when Urgenda won at the first level, greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased significantly, leave it to Minnesma. "If the state only cares about that principle, the Cabinet has taken major steps to limit emissions."
Climate change is a "real and serious" danger that must be protected by citizens, the court in The Hague decided last month. According to the court there was an international consensus that a 25 percent reduction in CO2emissions are needed to deal with climate change, and that two important fundamental rights are at stake if emissions are not adequately reduced. The court mentions the right to life and the right to personal or family life, from the European Convention on Human Rights.
The government believes that this reason, where international agreements are central, can have "major consequences" for climate policy, but also for "other policy choices".
The Supreme Court will now consider this case. The highest administrative judge only determines whether procedural laws and rules have been applied correctly.
In 2015, the Urgenda sustainability organization handled a case against the Dutch state. The approach of the process is to let the government do more to fight climate change. In the Urgenda court it was correct at the first level, after which the State appealed. In October, the court in The Hague once again approved the Urgenda Foundation. The Urgenda Judgment applies internationally as a breakthrough. For the first time, a country was forced to make greater efforts on climate change. The current policy is not enough for Urgenda. Marjan Minnesma: "We commissioned a study that showed that emissions would only decrease by 15 percent by 2020." The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency also showed that CO. Decline2emissions, partly because of strong economic growth.