The Dutch government has launched a bid to overturn a landmark climate ruling, arguing that judges in The Hague “sidelined democracy” when they ordered a 25% cut in carbon emissions by 2020.
Government plans for a lesser 17% cut in CO2 pollution were deemed unlawful three years ago, in the first successful lawsuit against a government’s climate policy.
The case inspired a wave of climate lawsuits against governments in Belgium, Colombia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, Uganda and the US.
But Mark Rutte’s government on Monday put the ball back in the plaintiffs’ court, arguing that judges in The Hague had overstepped their authority and were in danger of outflanking public opinion.
Climate minister Eric Wiebes told Dutch media: “We also believe that renewable energy should be increased and CO2 emissions should be reduced, so this is really about something else: it’s about how the judge has intervened in something that’s [called] democracy, and actually democracy has been sidelined.”