Over the course of the last COP25 Climate Summit, the partners of the European Union reached the European Green Pact, an agreement that seeks to make Europe the first continent to reach the CO2 neutrality goal before 2050. A pact with which the old continent shows its desire to assuming world leadership in the decarbonisation of the economy, which, however, is not has been reflected, up to now, in an effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In the Netherlands, the judiciary has intervened to try to turn the commitments made into effective measures, even speeding up the agenda set by the EU.

Although the Netherlands has considerably reduced emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and other gases, Dutch CO2 emissions remain at high levels — a 15% reduction in 2018 compared to 1990 records —. Faced with this situation, on December 20, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled without appeal that the government must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020, compared to 1990.

The Court thus concluded the case presented by the citizen platform Urgenda, basing its decision on the United Nations Convention, the obligation of the State to protect the life and well-being of its citizens, and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court also referred to the broad consensus existing in the international scientific community on the urgent need for developed countries to cut their emissions by at least 25%.

The Court, however, leaves the decision on the measures to be taken to achieve the established objective in the hands of the political class.