Netherlands appealing critical greenhouse gas ruling

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The government will be appealing against the court ruling that stated that they should be doing more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but is willing to take additional environmental measures to achieve this.

Sources in The Hague confirmed this to Trouw. What environmental measures the government is planning is still unclear. PvdA State Secretary Wilma Mansveld of Infrastructure and Environment will send a letter on this topic to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Tuesday afternoon.

In June the court in The Hague ruled in a case filed by activist group Urgenda that the state should be more aggressive in its climate policy. The court ruled that the government should ensure that by 2020 the greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by at least 25 percent compared to 1990, in order to protect citizens from the dangerous effects of climate change. The government had been aiming for a 17 percent reduction.

The ruling caused quite a political stir. The biggest problem seemed to be the judiciary interference in the political debate regarding climate change. After the ruling the VVD stated that they are concerned about "precedent" being set and that other interest groups will use this ruling to get their way in other fields in court. The PvdA stated that while they are in favor of taking more measures in the fight against client change, they will not block a possible appeal.

The cabinet's decision regarding the ruling thus seems like a compromise - appeal for the VVD and extra environmental measures for the PvdA. The Tweede Kamer will be debating the climate issue and measures to be taken this month. Measures that the PvdA suggested include earlier closure of old coal plants, cleaner traffic and sustainable housing.

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