Tuesday, October 9, 2018
US courts -- take note! On Tuesday, Oct. 9, a Dutch Appeals Court in the Hague upheld a lower court ruling ordering the Dutch government to, by 2020, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from benchmark 1990 levels. The case was initiated by 900 Dutch citizens.
Climate litigation is underway around the world, including in the United States. The Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, with Arnold & Porter, maintain a comprehensive data base of both US and non-US climate change cases. A short analysis of the human rights dimensions of climate change cases is available here.
One high profile case is the lawsuit filed against the US government by a group of Oregon youth, arguing that the government's failure to address climate change violates their constitutional rights. The case is scheduled to go to trial later in October, but last week, the federal government sought to stay the proceedings so that it could seek Supreme Court review. Prior government efforts to get the case dismissed have failed.
The timely ruling from the Netherlands will undoubtedly lend momentum to US citizen efforts to force government recognition of, and action, on climate change -- a profound human rights issue.