THE HAGUE, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch State must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent in the year 2020, compared to those in 1990, the Hague District Court ruled on Wednesday.
According to the court, the Dutch State currently takes too little action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. The Dutch State can appeal against the verdict.
Dutch sustainability foundation Urgenda had requested the court for a ruling in the climate case together with around 900 Dutch citizens acting as co-plaintiffs. They argued the Dutch government has a duty to protect its citizens from the potential dangers of climate change.
According to calculations by the court the Netherlands will achieve a reduction of 17 percent at most in 2020 based on the current policy, which is below the norm of 25 percent to 40 percent indicated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deemed necessary for developed countries.
In October last year the EU leaders agreed a domestic 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40 percent compared to 1990, as proposed by the European Commission in January 2014.
"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," the court in The Hague stated. "The State is responsible for effectively controlling the Dutch emission levels."
"Moreover, the costs of the measures ordered by the court are not unacceptably high," the court added. "Therefore, the State should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts. Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this."
The court emphasized that it had not interfered in politics. "The court must provide legal protection, also in cases against the government, while respecting the government's scope for policy making," the court stated.
Director of Urgenda Marjan Minnesma called the ruling a great victory. She hopes other citizens in other countries will follow their example. "This is what we always hoped for, but everyone said this will never happen," she told national broadcaster NOS.
"This verdict makes it very clear that climate change is a major problem that must be addressed more effectively and that states can no longer afford not doing enough," she added on the website of newspaper De Telegraaf.