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Power to the people: Dutch people sue govt for inaction on climate change and win

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Recently in a landmark judgement, the people of Netherlands who sued their government for being inactive in the matters of climate change, were handed the victory.

The ruling mandated the Dutch government to reduce its greenhouse emissions at least by 25 per cent by the year 2020.

The lawsuit was filed by the common people of Netherlands, which included not just environmental activists and lawyers, but people from all walks of life. More than 900 people had joined the cause and expressed their support.

From teachers to architects to school kids, everyone was present in the courtroom as co-plaintiffs in the hearing of the case which was filed by Urgenda, an NGO.

“This is a great victory — the judge said exactly what we wanted and had the courage and wisdom to say to the government that you have a duty of care toward your citizens,”Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda was reported as saying.

This judgment arrived after a long wait of more than a year.

The plaintiffs’ arguments were indeed justified, as they maintained that the government has a legal obligation to protect its citizens from looming dangers, including the dangers to health posed by the climate change caused by greenhouse gases.

This incident is a good example of a democratic verdict where the people’s voice remained unanimous and strong and was heard by the legal authority.

“The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment,” read a statement from the court.

The Dutch government, however, can repeal the case at a higher court. It is still unclear as to how the ruling will be imposed, as the court can only fine the government if they fail to comply with the ruling. The court hasn’t imposed such fines in the past and neither did Urgenda request this.

This verdict, which gives power to the people, can be an inspiration for the developing countries across the world who face similar issues of climate change caused by the greenhouse gas emissions.

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World could see 140mn climate migrants by 2050: Report

World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said the new research provides a wake-up call to countries and development institutions

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climate change is happening at a quickened pace and thus leading to melting of huge ice bergs
climate change is happening at a quickened pace and thus leading to melting of huge ice bergs
  • Three regions can witness migration due to climate change
  • The regions also include South Asia
  • It is important to take measures to control climate change

Three densely populated regions of the world, including South Asia, could see internal climate migrants of over 140 million people in the next three decades if climate change impacts continue, a new World Bank Group report finds.

The report, “Groundswell — Preparing for Internal Climate Migration”, released on Monday, finds that unless urgent climate and development action is taken globally and nationally, the three regions — Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America — together could be dealing with tens of millions of internal climate migrants by 2050.

World can witness migration of many due to climate change. VOA
World can witness migration of many due to climate change. VOA

These people will be forced to move from increasingly non-viable areas of their countries due to growing problems like water scarcity, crop failure, sea-level rise and storm surges.

The “climate migrants” would be an addition to the millions of people already moving within their countries for economic, social, political or other reasons, the report warns. The exodus could create a looming humanitarian crisis and will threaten the development process.

Also Read: Climate change driving dramatic rise in sea levels: NASA

However, with concerted actions — including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level — this scenario could be dramatically reduced by up to 80 per cent or more than 100 million people.

The report is the first and most comprehensive study of its kind to focus on the nexus between slow-onset climate change impacts, internal migration patterns and, development in these three developing regions of the world.

World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said the new research provides a wake-up call to countries and development institutions. “We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality,” Georgieva said.

It is important to control climate change now.

“Steps cities take to cope with the upward trend of arrivals from rural areas and to improve opportunities for education, training and jobs will pay long-term dividends. It’s also important to help people make good decisions about whether to stay where they are or move to new locations where they are less vulnerable.”

The research team, led by World Bank Lead Environmental Specialist Kanta Kumari Rigaud, include researchers and modellers from CIESIN Columbia University, CUNY Institute of Demographic Research, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Also Read: Maharashtra’s climate action plan yielded disappointments

They applied a multi-dimensional modelling approach to estimate the potential scale of internal climate migration across the three regions. They looked at three potential climate change and development scenarios, comparing the most “pessimistic” (high greenhouse gas emissions and unequal development paths), to “climate-friendly” and “more inclusive development” scenarios in which climate and national development action increases in line with the challenge. Across each scenario, they applied demographic, socio-economic and climate impact data at a 14 sq.km grid-cell level to model likely shifts in population within countries.

This approach identified major “hotspots” of climate in- and out-migration – areas from which people are expected to move and urban, peri-urban and rural areas to which people will try to move to build new lives and livelihoods. “Without the right planning and support, people migrating from rural areas into cities could be facing new and even more dangerous risks,” the report added. IANS