The Urgenda case: the dutch path towards a new climate constitutionalism

Il caso Urgenda: il cammino olandese verso un nuovo costituzionalismo climatico

  • Maria Francesca Cavalcanti and Matthijs Jan Terstegge


At the end of December 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled in the case brought by Urgenda against the Dutch State. The outcome of this procedure was that the Dutch State is obliged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2020 with 25% as compared to 1990 levels. The Supreme Court used scientific data, fundamental human rights deriving from the ECHR and the common ground method to establish a minimum norm to which the Dutch State is legally bound. This article outlines how the Supreme Court has dealt with the various aspects of this case. These include the juridical value of scientific data, human rights, the collective nature of Urgenda's claim and the (political) question whether or not the courts are allowed to order the State to take measures to counter dangerous climate change and if this infringes the principle of separation of powers. In addition, consideration will be given to the other climate procedures that have been or are still being conducted, such as the People's climate case. 

Jul 6, 2020
How to Cite
MATTHIJS JAN TERSTEGGE, Maria Francesca Cavalcanti and. The Urgenda case: the dutch path towards a new climate constitutionalism. DPCE Online, [S.l.], v. 43, n. 2, july 2020. ISSN 2037-6677. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 may 2024. doi:
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Sezione Monografica