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States risk being made liable for not doing enough to tackle climate change!

Across continents climate change litigation is picking up. Many see it as the only way forward to arm twist states to [aggressively] cut down on CO2 & GHG emissions. The recent decision by Netherlands Supreme ct. against the Dutch state is being touted as the strongest climate ruling yet as for the first time a state has been directed by the court to take action against climate change.

Climate science and the int'l community largely agree on the premise that the warming must be limited to no more than 2 deg C, and according to more recent insights to max. 1.5 deg C. Netherlands had set a target of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Urgenda, an env. group contested that emissions should be reduced by 40% or by at least 25%, compared to 1990. They argued on the basis of human rights and protecting the climate system for future generations.

Supreme ct was of the view that the state is obliged towards its residents to reduce GHG emissions from its territory as per ECHR. It said that there is a high degree of consensus in the int'l community on the need to reduce GHG by 25% to 40% by 2020; and ordered the state to cut down on emissions atleast by 25% by 2020. This decision is very likely to have a high degree of influence on other states.

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