Urgenda, the organization that sued the Dutch Government because they didn’t do enough to prevent dangerous climate change, got victorious Wednesday last week. The judge ordered the Dutch Government to cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 by 25% by 2020.
My first reaction was amazement. Wasn’t there something like the separation of powers? Yet, now judicial power is intervening with legislative power. Aren’t they a democracy? Yet, now a small activist group is bypassing the majority.
Then there was this statement made after the judgement that kept on resonating in my head:
“A courageous judge. This is fantastic,” said Sharona Ceha, another Urgenda worker. “This is for my children and grandchildren.”
In a way, I can agree with this one, but obviously not how they see it…
Let’s for a moment look at reality. Global warming/climate change is something, well, global. If you just look at the global emissions, they go up, steeply up. Three countries are responsible for more than half of the emissions and for 3/4 of the increase in global emission compared to 2012. These are China (which isn’t planning to decrease emissions until 2030), USA (which is telling that it favors emission reduction, but doesn’t ratify anything and knowing the republicans are in the majority, this could make it rather difficult) and India (which said they will not decrease emissions in the first place).
Let’s look at some numbers to get some feel for the proportions. These are the three largest emitters which consists of more than half of the emissions compared with the total emissions and emissions of the Netherlands: