Historic Urgenda Climate Ruling Upheld by Dutch Supreme Court In a big win for both the climate and human rights, the Netherlands’ Supreme Court upheld the landmark ruling in Urgenda v. the Netherlands, ruling that governments have a human rights duty to protect their citizens from climate change. The strongly worded judgment orders the Dutch government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the end of 2020, compared with 1990 levels. The final decision backs lower court rulings in the case, which was brought by the nonprofit Urgenda Foundation and charged that the country’s climate policies were not strong enough to protect its citizens. Urgenda’s success is expected to have a positive impact on other pending suits, including a case brought by a group of Dutch environmental groups earlier this year against Royal Dutch Shell, which alleges Shell’s business model poses a threat to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
- New eyeballs on the methane problem. The New York Times reports on new technology to visualize methane escaping into the atmosphere in real time. The satellite technology shows how a blowout at an Exxon facility in Ohio in 2018 released as much methane as many countries release in an entire year. The colorless, odorless gas is a major driver of global warming and stubbornly difficult to detect and thus difficult to crack down on its release. But the new technology makes monitoring it possible.
In another amazing use of graphics, the Washington Post shows how the earth’s temperature gets taken. Come for the lovely visuals and stay for the spellbinding story of how climate science stretches back into history to include Benjamin Franklin and Capt. William Bligh. It also spells out the dedication of the scientists who have pursued this work through history.