Three Dutch people, all climate change leaders, on Time's 100 Most Influential list
There are three Dutch people on the list of the world's most influential people as compiled by American magazine Time. European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, climate researcher Geert Jan van Oldenborgh from the KNMI and attorney Roger Cox were on the list, which included Elon Musk, Mario Draghi, Donald Trump and Alexei Navalny.
Cox won the recent landmark climate cases against Shell on behalf of Milieudefensie. He also won the years-long climate case against the Dutch State while representing Urgenda. Milieudefensie called the mention well-deserved. "It was certainly not a foregone conclusion that we could hold Shell liable for dangerously causing climate change. It is fantastic that he dared to take this step with us and we hope to be able to work with him for a long time to come."
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore wrote a short piece about Cox for Time magazine. He called Cox's case a turning point in the history of the climate crisis. The case calls for Shell to cut emissions by 45 percent by 2030. "The Dutch court’s ruling sent shock waves through corporate boardrooms around the world, marking the first time a company has been held legally accountable to the Paris Agreement," Gore wrote. "This victory, paired with Cox’s previous landmark case that forced the Dutch government to reduce its emissions 25% by 2020, shows that we don’t need to wait for slow progress on intangible goals. We have the ability - and the precedent - to demand concrete climate action now."
"Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission, understands the risk we face, and has stepped up. He has presented the Fit for 55 program in the E.U., an ambitious package of regulatory instruments to cut E.U. greenhouse-gas emissions by 55% by 2030 - an important milestone toward the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050," wrote Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. "The long-term gain of the policies is clear and compelling. Though the short-term implementation is much more of a challenge, Timmermans is committed to ensuring justice in the transition."
Timmermans, who is Vice President of the EU's executive board and is responsible for climate policy, thanked Time Magazine "for recognizing Europe's leading role in the fight against the climate crisis". He warned, "We must move quickly from words to deeds. Only then can humanity learn to live within the confines of the planet. A healthy, green future for everyone is possible if we all work together: governments, civil society, business, and citizens. It's time!"
Van Oldenborgh, of Dutch meteorological agency KNMI, shared honors with German climatologist Friederike Otto for their work with the World Weather Attribution project. In a piece written by best-selling author Bill McKibben, the two were credited for assembling "researchers from around the world capable of rapid reaction, in contrast to the equally crucial years-long analyses of global systems performed by the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That speed means that people reading about our accelerating string of disasters increasingly get the most important information of all: it’s coming from us."
This year's list is made up of people who do not shy away from a battle, said Edward Felsenthal, the Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Time. "They are disrupters, fixers, doers, iconoclasts, problem solvers - people who in a year of crisis have leaped into the fray." He specifically singled out Van Oldenborgh and Otto for their work in his cover letter about the 2021 list, pointing out they are among a record number of climate leaders on the list, more than 10 in all.
The Time 100 is an annual list by Time Magazine in which it writes about the 100 most influential people of that moment. For example, Taliban founder Abdul Ghani Baradar is on the list, but also Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, as well as singer Billie Eilish. The list is not solely meant to indicate people who are influential in a positive way.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.