Urgenda Foundation and 886 Individuals v. The State of the Netherlands: The Dilemma of More Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action by EUMember States

Marjan Peeters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The remarkable decision of a Dutch lower civil court ordering the State of the Netherlands to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels has attracted ample attention across the world. The court decision deals with the fundamental question of the extent to which a civil court can intervene in environmental decision making, particularly where this concerns the national policy of a European Union (EU)Member State. This case note considers the court decision from an EU law perspective. Although from an environmental perspective ambitious climate action is to be very much praised, several critical legal issues merit scholarly discussion, particularly regarding the competence of the Dutch court to decide the case, the need for a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the right understanding of complex EU climate law, but also regarding judicial activism and the way climate science is used in courtrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalReview of European Community and International Environmental Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Eu climate law
  • emissions trading

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