In a landmark court case taken by the Urgenda Foundation representing 886 Dutch citizens, the Hague District Court has ruled today that the Dutch government’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to date are insufficient given the severity and scope of the climate problem and more action must now be taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.
The Urgenda climate case is the first in Europe in which citizens have held a state responsible for inaction to combat climate change and the first case in the world in which human rights provided a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change.
The Green Party of Ireland congratulates the Urgenda Foundation on their success and welcomes the outcome as a legal precedent for Ireland given our own country’s poor track record on climate action.
At a Climate Justice conference hosted by Trocaire yesterday at Maynooth University, Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Prof. Jean-Pascal Van YPeresele warned that urgent action is required to avert dangerous warming of the planet. Maynooth University’s Prof. John Sweeney provided further evidence that Ireland is not doing its proportional share to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and that the potential damage from future climate-related impacts could cost Irish tax-payers millions of euro and put the safety and well-being of Irish citizens in jeopardy.
Following today’s ruling on the Urgenda case, the Green Party’s Climate Change Spokesperson, Dr. Cara Augustenborg said:
“Ireland is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases per capita in Europe and one of ten countries in the world with the largest environmental footprint, yet our Taoiseach and Ministers continue to argue that Ireland’s emission reduction obligations should be lower. Our current political leaders are knowingly exposing citizens to the dangerous effects of future climate change. The Urgenda ruling creates a precedent for our government to be held legally accountable for taking insufficient action to prevent foreseeable harm from climate change.”
The Green Party calls for today’s ruling in the Hague to provide an impetus for swift and significant action to sunstantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland and hopes that the Urgenda case gives Irish citizens inspiration to stand up against our current government’s failure to act on their behalf.
Notes to Editors
· Further details on Urgenda: http://www.urgenda.nl/en/climate-case/
· Hague District Court ruling: http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:7196&keyword=urgenda
· Trocaire’s Climate Justice Conference: www.climatejustice2015.org