The First Successful Climate Negligence Case: A Comment on Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands
Climate Law (Brill), 2015 Forthcoming
14 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2015 Last revised: 16 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 2, 2015
On 24 June 2015, the Hague District Court issued the long-awaited judgment in the case of Urgenda Foundation v the State of the Netherlands. The decision has been heralded as a historical landmark ruling, and rightly so. The Urgenda decision marks the first time ever that a court has ordered a government of the day to curb a State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Globally, it is also the first case in which the tort of negligence has been successfully used to hold a State liable for its failure to adequately mitigate climate change. This case commentary begins by briefly setting out some background on climate litigation. It then sets out the facts of the case and analyses key aspects of the decision. It concludes with some remarks about the significance of the decision.
Keywords: Climate Change, Tort, Environmental Law, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Human Rights
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