The Urgenda Foundation has initiated legal action against the Dutch government for taking insufficient action against climate change. To facilitate others in initiating similar cases against their own government, the Urgenda Foundation strives to also make its work available in English. After the translation of the summons, available here, the translation of the statement of reply is now also available here.
The summons marked the start of the legal proceedings at the district court in The Hague. Urgenda laid out the facts on climate change and why emissions need to be drastically reduced to avert great and potentially catastrophic damage. It provided the grounds upon which it claims the Dutch state is legally obligated to take action to reduce Dutch greenhouse gas emissions.
In its reply, the State acknowledged all the facts on climate change, including the potentially devastating consequences if no action is taken. The State even implicitly acknowledged that it is not doing its share to avoid dangerous climate change.
The State did however reject the notion that it can be legally obligated to act. In short, the State argues that there is no legal norm on the basis of which it is legally bound to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore the State argues that whether and to what extent emissions should be reduced is a political question in which the courts should not intervene.
In the statement of reply, the Urgenda Foundation strengthens the legal argumentation that was laid out in the summons and reacts to the defence of the State.
After the filing of the statement of reply, the State submitted one final written rebuttal before the hearing which took on 14 April 2015 at the district court in The Hague.
Urgenda is currently working on translating the pleadings that were delivered at the hearing.
The district court of The Hague is expected to reach its verdict on 24 June 2015.
Click here for more information on the Dutch Climate Case including background reference materials, downloads and press coverage.
The translation of the summons is available here.
The translation of the statement of reply is available here.
For all questions relating to the Dutch Climate case, you can contact Dennis van Berkel, legal counsel at the Urgenda Foundation