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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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Women Are Rarely “Put Front And Center” At The Heart Of Climate Action

Feminism doesn't mean excluding men

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Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017.
Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017. VOA

Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and U.N. rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday.

Robinson, also a former U.N. climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely “put front and center” of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

“Climate change is a man-made problem and must have a feminist solution,” she said at a meeting of climate experts at London’s Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.

“Feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and – in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change.”

Research has shown that women’s vulnerabilities are exposed during the chaos of cyclones, earthquakes and floods, according to the British think-tank Overseas Development Institute.

In many developing countries, for example, women are involved in food production, but are not allowed to manage the cash earned by selling their crops, said Robinson.

Earth depletion
Earth depletion, Pixabay

The lack of access to financial resources can hamper their ability to cope with extreme weather, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the event.

“Women all over the world are … on the front lines of the fall-out from climate change and therefore on the forefront of climate action,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, executive director of Britain’s United Nations Association.

“What we — the international community — need to do is talk to them, learn from them and support them in scaling up what they know works best in their communities,” she said at the meeting.

Also read: Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

Robinson served as Irish president from 1990-1997 before taking over as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice. (VOA)