The Netherlands faces pressure as global ‘test case’ for deep emissions cuts in 2020

(Climate Home News, 26 Feb 2020) The Netherlands is under pressure to slash emissions in sectors such as power generation and agriculture in 2020 after a ruling by a top court made the government a reluctant ‘test case’ for tougher global climate policies.

The government of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte is working out new measures after the Dutch Supreme Court in December ordered it to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020, compared with 1990 levels, as its fair share to combat climate change.

It is a daunting task – latest official figures showed only a 15% drop on 1990 levels by the end of 2018, meaning sharp cuts will be needed in an economy where major emission sources are manufacturing, energy generation, transport and agriculture.

The case marked the end of a six-year legal battle by the non-profit Urgenda Foundation and was seen as a landmark moment for climate justice. UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment David Boyd called it the “most important climate change court decision in the world so far”.