The Climate Case started on March 16, 2021, after a 7-year delay. This is a lawsuit in which Climate Case vzw takes the Belgian governments to court to force them to take action to achieve the climate goals. The non-profit organization is led by Serge de Gheldere, who until recently was one of Al Gore’s Climate Ambassadors. He also found support from ten private limited companies and in the meantime almost 65,000 supporters. The team of lawyers also includes Roger Cox, who previously also won the Dutch Climate Case.
Inspiration was taken from our northern neighbors. It was there that the environmental organization Urgenda, together with 886 co-plaintiffs, filed a climate case against the Dutch State. Urgenda won this lawsuit. The judge was of the opinion that the Dutch State must protect its citizens against the consequences of climate change and that emissions must be reduced by 25% by the end of 2020 compared to 1990. However, since the first ruling in 2015, the State of the Netherlands has continued to appeal, but each time Urgenda has won. On December 20, 2019, the final judgment of the Supreme Court followed, and the verdict stood. This lawsuit was followed worldwide.
One of the promotion campaigns for the Climate Case took place last weekend. Thousands of Belgians, spread over 100 places across Belgium, gathered to show their support for the Climate Case. The action is still ongoing. You can set a profile frame on Facebook, but you can also imagine yourself as a climate lawyer for a while by putting together a pussy (use kitchen paper or a piece of white fabric …) and take a photo and upload it on social media with the hashtag # climate lawyer.
What does Climate Case vzw require?
The climate targets set by the governments are not legally binding. If the government does not achieve the objectives, there will therefore be no consequences for the authorities. The non-profit organization wants to see a change in this and therefore demands a penalty of 1 million € per month if the government does not achieve its goals. Specifically, this concerns the following objectives:
- A 42% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025
- A 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030
- Belgium must be CO2 neutral by 2050
So far, a decrease of 19% has been measured between 1990 and 2019. So we still have 4 years to reduce our CO² emissions by 23% to reach our targets.
Oral pleadings will be held for the next 10 days. First it is the turn of the Climate Case, followed in sequence by the Belgian State, the Walloon Region and the Flemish or Brussels-Capital Region. On March 25 and 26, all parties may respond to the pleadings given.
The positions of the competent authorities have not yet made any statements known. It will have to wait until the lawsuit has started.
Why does this matter?
It is more than clear that we are gradually entering a climate crisis. This testifies to the increase in the average temperature in Belgium. Since 1875 until now, the average measured temperature in Uccle has risen from 8.81 °C to 10.53 °C. This increase continued mainly from the 1970s onwards. In addition, 20 of the 30 warmest years fall after 1988, while the 20 coldest years were all observed before 1896.
Finally, a sea level rise of 60 to 90 cm is also predicted by 2100 in the event of a 1000-year deluge. In the most pessimistic scenario, people themselves predict a rise of 2 m! It is therefore of great importance that we act as quickly as possible to become co2 neutral to ensure that our (great)grandchildren also have the opportunity to enjoy a carefree life.