Sunday, December 22, 2019

Reading of the Urgenda Verdict

Here's an abbreviated reading of the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, with English subtitles. It's only 18 minutes long, and clearly stated (as far as legal language goes). It's a dream for anyone wanting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions -- the court took the science into account (which the two parties did not dispute), explained why it has jurisdiction, then gave the verdict, ruling the government must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). (Court costs are to be paid by the Dutch government, but they didn't look too high.) I don't yet know the numbers or how onerous and difficult these cuts will be.

Update: According to the BP Statistical Review 2019, the Netherlands emitted 196 Mt CO2 in 1990 and 203 Mt CO2 in 2018. So they have their work cut out for them. A 25% drop from 1990 would be 2020 emissions of 147 Mt CO2, so it's actually a 28% drop from 2018. That seems near impossible.

Watching this, it seems to me that the ruling was made on the basis of Dutch civil law, not on their adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights. But I'm not lawyer and would be happy to hear from anyone who is, or others here who followed the verdict better than I did.