Climate Change and the European Convention on Human Rights

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific


On 9 October 2018, the Court of Appeal (Gerechtshof) in the Hague upheld a 2015 decision in the Urgenda case which forced the government of the Netherlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 % from the level of emissions which existed in 1990 until no later than the end of 2020. This is a landmark decision that has already received attention globally. Although the timing of the decision is coincidental, the fact that it came just a day after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made sure that it gained significant attention. On the same day as the Gerechtshof in the Hague, the first instance administrative court (Verwaltungsgericht) in Berlin ordered a ban on diesel cars in parts of the German capital city and the European Union agreed on CO2 limits for cars. The Dutch court relied in particular on the European Convention on Human Rights. While climate change litigation has gained attention in recent years, the appeal court judgment in the Urgenda case has placed human rights at the heart of the discourse on climate change. This text will introduce the readers to the role human rights can play in climate change litigation by looking in particular at the judgment in Urgenda with a view to providing attorneys tools and inspiration for potential future instances of climate change litigation. (Edilex-toimitus)
Original languageEnglish
Article number19205
Pages (from-to)1-8
Issue number27 .11.2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoEC publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine

Field of science

  • Law


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