This is the first time that a national government has been taken to court with regard to climate change — as well as this is the first time that a group of citizens in Europe have made an attempt to hold its government legally responsible for inefficient climate norms.
As it stands, the European Union has verbally promised to cut emissions 40% by the year 2030, but no concrete commitments were made by the Netherlands. The aim of the case is to pressure the government of the Netherlands to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25–40% by the year 2020. The attainment of these figures would put the country in accordance with the safety guidelines outlined by the IPCC.
Much of Holland is low-lying, and as the story of the little Dutch boy, more than half the country is vulnerable to flooding, the problem is made worse as most of the population live in areas that are below sea-level. So a plan has to be put in place to protect these areas, with miles of dykes and dams to act as first level flooding defences.
Imagine, sea level has risen around 20 centimeters due to the rise in temperature and the break down of ice in our polar regions. For a country like Holland, what kind of consequences does this have for the country?
But having said all this, is it the government alone or the citizens who need to take the initiatives to curb pollution? Because reducing carbon dioxide emission will require major changes to most common and ultra-modern lifestyles and are the people of the Netherlands ready for that? Because walking, bicycling and turning to the renewable source of energy is not going to fulfill or support the modern lifestyle requirements.
40% of the Netherlands sits below sea level
Let’s wish them luck, because if these citizens see this to the end and see their country in court, and they win. The consequences could be far reaching, with other countries finding themselves in court from their citizens, because of their lack of ability or reticence to deal with the problems associated with climate change.