This article was originally published on the Conversation


“The international community has widely acknowledged the severe threats posed by the impacts of climate change to a series of human rights, including the rights to life, health, and an adequate standard of living. But a stark gap has emerged between this acknowledgement in global climate policy – evidenced by a non-binding clause in the preamble of the Paris Agreement – and their actions to meet promised targets.

How can we hold governments accountable to their human rights duties? A Dutch case recently upheld by the appeals court might hold the answer. In June 2015, The Hague District Court and a group of 886 concerned citizens, united by the environmental interest group Urgenda Foundation, made history. This, the first successful climate change case brought on human rights and civil law grounds, saw the Dutch government ordered to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 25% on 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Three years on – against a backdrop of intense scrutiny and after an appeal lodged by the government – The Hague Court of Appeal upheld this decision on October 9. Indeed, it has gone significantly further in affirming the duties of care owed by the state to its people. The court considered the weight of the scientific evidence presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the recommendations of successive UN conferences to reach an informed conclusion on the required mitigation targets commensurate with the prevention of dangerous climate change…”

Read on at: the Conversation.