HISTORICAL JUDGMENT: AN ENVIRONMENTAL VICTORY
News that could end up having global significance has occupied a small space on the pages of the general press on December 20, 2019.
Urgenda, a Dutch environmental NGO,
has succeeded in making the Supreme Court of his country oblige the government to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 25% compared to 1990.
That’s right, the Dutch Supreme court has ordered the Government to reduce greenhouse gases from January 1, 2020, because it considers that “it must protect the citizen from the deterioration of the environment and that the fight against climate change is a matter of general interest.”
The first time in the world
In 2013, Urgenda sued the Government supported by a thousand accusers. It was the first time in the world that a group of citizens relied on European human rights legislation to demand for pollution to be reduced.
In 2015, the court sided with the NGO and set a world precedent.
The ruling indicated that the authorities “have an obligation to protect citizens against harmful industrial activities, because otherwise, the current generation will see their life and family life in danger.”
An unavoidable sentence?
The Dutch Supreme Court has issued an unavoidable sentence: and not obeying it would have legal consequences for those responsible for executing it.
In the words of Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda:
“We have appealed to human rights, unprotected when a government does not do enough to combat pollution. Now there is a clear legal mandate and a goal, the year 2020, to fulfill the obligation to protect the life of the citizen.
People want solutions, and our case has inspired other groups in various countries. I would like it to be clear that, together, we can achieve CO2 reduction.”
As citizens, we have rights
As voters and consumers, we have power
At the gates of 2020, the planet’s environmental future is not written.
Currently, in what may be a cascade of sentences favorable to the preservation of the environment, there are similar lawsuits in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, and others similar in Canada, the United States, New Zealand or South Korea.
We are on time, and soon governments and companies that want to survive in this 21st century will be obliged to implement the essential measures to preserve the environment.
This way, not only will they avoid legal repercussions, but they also will gain the respect and goodwill of citizens (consumers and voters).