In a landmark ruling that many hope establishes a new global precedent for a state's obligation to its citizens in the face of the growing climate crisis, a Dutch court on Wednesday said that the government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit, launched in November 2013 by the Amsterdam-based environmental nonprofit Urgenda Foundation along with 600 Dutch citizens, which argued that the government was violating international human rights law by failing to take sufficient measures to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions.
"The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment," read a statement from the Hague District Court.
Skagit County Superior Court dismissed Shell Oil Refinery’s appeal of a decision that required an environmental impact statement for their proposed oil-by-rail expansion. This decision follows the Skagit County Hearing Examiner’s February 2015 ruling that Shell’s proposed project posed a significant risk of harm to people, water and wildlife.
“It’s time to stop suing each other and get down to work,” said Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice. “The community deserves an honest conversation about this project and the court has said we are entitled to one.”