Dec 20, 2019

In historic ruling, Dutch court orders nation to cut emissions

A climate activist holding a placard in front of the Supreme Court in the Netherlands, where demonstration is restricted. People from several climate organizations gathered with eyes painted on their hands symbolising 'We are watching you.' Photo: Barcroft Media / Contributor/Getty Images

The Supreme Court in the Netherlands on Friday ordered the government there to cut national greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020.

Why it matters: This is the first time the courts have ever forced a country to address climate change and could set a precedent for courts in other nations, including the United States, in the absence of other action.

What they're saying: Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, per The New York Times said: “There have been 1,442 climate lawsuits around the world. This is the strongest decision ever. The Dutch Supreme Court upheld the first court order anywhere directing a country to slash its greenhouse gas emissions.”

One level deeper: The ruling was a success for environmental group Urgenda, "which filed the lawsuit in 2013 against the Dutch government with nearly 900 co-plaintiffs," NYT reports.

Go deeper on U.S. climate cases: Why the hottest global warming battle is in the courtroom.

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Appeals court tosses high-profile youth climate lawsuit

Protesters attend a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court held by the group Our Children’s Trust October 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a lawsuit brought by 21 young people intended to force the U.S. government to act more aggressively to confront climate change.

Why it matters: The case, first brought in 2015, has been among the higher-profile pieces of climate litigation and underscores the challenges of using the court system to tackle global warming.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by estimated 2.1% in 2019

Power lines in California in 2019. Photo: Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1% in 2019 due to a decrease in national coal consumption, according to estimates from the Rhodium Group released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Power generated from coal plants fell by a record 18%, and overall emissions from the power section declined by almost 10% — despite an increase in emissions from natural gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

December's Democratic debate shows climate's reach in the party's messaging

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thursday's debate nicely encapsulated the way that climate change has become stitched into the fabric of wider Democratic policy and messaging on many topics.

The state of play: While a huge Green New Deal-style mobilization lacks legs in Congress, its all-encompassing conceptual framing — climate as inseparable from industrial policy, human rights and much more — is carrying the day.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019