Federica Passarini

ECHR and Climate Change in the Netherlands’ Supreme Courte in the Urgenda Case

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On the 20th December 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court held that on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the Netherlands has a positive obligation to take measures for the prevention of climate change and that it has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions with at least 25% by the end of 2020, compared to 1990 levels. This contribution focuses on the aspects of the reasoning of the Court which will make the judgment a landmark for future climate change litigation. After having reviewed the decision, this contribution will analyze how the interpretation of the ECHR as a living instrument permitted the Dutch Court to apply, for the first time, the ECHR to enhance climate change prevention.


  • climate change
  • Human rights
  • ECHR
  • emissions target
  • art. 34 ECHR
  • causal link
  • common ground


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