The Dutch High Court upheld on Friday a ruling ordering the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster than planned and to ensure they are at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by the end of 2020.
The court said the government had not done enough to protect its citizens from the dangerous effects of climate change, which can “threaten their lives and wellbeing”.
Emissions in the Netherlands were 15 per cent lower than in 1990 last year, and are expected to be reduced by around 23 per cent in 2020, the government’s environmental advisory body PBL said last month.
The ruling meant a final defeat for the government in the case brought on by environmental group Urgenda Foundation, on behalf of nearly 900 Dutch citizens.
An appeals court last year already upheld the original 2015 verdict by a lower court, ordering the government to step up the fight against climate change.
A raft of environmental initiatives announced this year would cut emissions to 43-48 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030, if the plans are all rolled out on time, according to PBL calculations.
That would be less than the 49 per cent target that Dutch authorities have set for 2030. The current EU-wide goal for CO2 emissions over the next 10 years is a 40 per cent cut.