Some 900 Dutch citizens have banded together and filled a lawsuit against the Dutch government over human rights, citing the latter’s lack of decisive action against climate change. This is the first such case in Europe where a group of citizens holds its government responsible for ineffective climate policy, and also the first to be based on human rights law.

Image: Hague Court, Netherlands

Image: Hague Court, Netherlands

“What we are saying is that our government is co-creating a dangerous change in the world,” Roger Cox, a legal adviser for the plaintiffs, told RTCC. “We feel that there’s a shared responsibility for any country to do what is necessary in its own boundaries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as much as is needed.”

The plaintiffs want the court to force the Dutch government to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emission  between 25 and 40 percent relative to their 1990 levels by 2020. We remind you that the European Union has committed to cut emissions by 40% past 1990 levels until 2030, however the Netherlands has abstained from joining. Officials said they would instead join any conditions imposed by the Paris climate talks later this year, which will hopefully regulate emissions this time on a global scale. The plaintiffs’ request is in line with the IPCC recommendation that developed countries must take in order to have a 50% chance of avoiding a 2 degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century. Or a 50% chance the world only warms by 2 degrees, depends on how you look at it.

Almost a quarter of the country is below sea level, but the Dutch have been adapting to these conditions for centuries, building damns and water walls. In terms of renewable energy, however, Netherlands is lagging far behind the EU average. In 2013, 4.5 percent of energy consumed in the Netherlands came from renewable sources, which makes it quite far from its intended goal of reaching 15 percent by 2020.

The lawsuit, successful or otherwise, might inspire others to follow suit in other countries as well. Already, in Belgium  12,000 people have already pledged their support for a court case holding the government responsible for its actions on climate change.

via Think Progress

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