Litigating Climate Change Part 1: Urgenda Foundation v. Netherlands
Dennis van Berkel tells the story of winning Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands, the first case to establish that a government has a legal obligation to address climate change. The 2019 judgment of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ordering the Dutch Government to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by a minimum of 25 percent before 2020 compared to 1990 levels has inspired climate change cases in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, France, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and Switzerland, and against the EU. Dennis spoke about his role in the case, its impact in the Netherlands and globally, and his ongoing work to share experience, offer support, and strategize with a growing network of climate litigation advocates around the world.
Dennis is legal counsel and Director of the Climate Litigation Network of the Urgenda Foundation, based in the Netherlands. He holds LL.M. degrees from New York University School of Law, The London School of Economics, and Leiden University.
GLSM - The Urgenda Climate Case
Dennis van Berkel is legal counsel to the Urgenda Foundation and is the Director of the Climate Litigation Network of the Urgenda Foundation, based in the Netherlands.
The good legal story On 20 December 2019 the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, affirmed that the Netherlands must reduce its emissions by a minimum of 25% before 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
The Urgenda Climate Case against the Dutch Government was the first in the world in which citizens established that their government has a legal duty to prevent dangerous climate change. Brought on behalf of 886 Dutch citizens, the case made climate change a major political and social issue in the Netherlands and transformed domestic climate change policy. It inspired climate change cases in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, France, New Zealand, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and against the EU. Dennis spoke about his role in the case, its impact in the Netherlands and globally, and his ongoing work to share experience, offer support, and strategize with a growing network of climate litigation advocates around the world.
Litigating Climate Change Part 2: Juliana et al. v. U.S.
Julia Olson tells the story of Juliana v. U.S., in which she brought first-time claims on behalf of 21 youth plaintiffs against the U.S. Government for its role in contributing to and exacerbating the climate crisis. The case presents novel legal theories, including that the government holds the atmosphere in trust for future generations, and that youth have a fundamental right to a stable climate under the Constitution of the United States.
Julia is the founder, Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Our Children’s Trust (OCT), which brings strategic legal actions to address climate change on behalf of the world’s youth. Julia and OCT are recipients of the Rose-Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism and other awards. Julia holds a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
GLSM - Our Children's Trust
Julia Olson tells her story of bringing first-time claims in the U.S. to hold the federal government accountable for the climate crisis under novel legal theories – including that the U.S. Government holds the atmosphere in trust for future generations, and that youth have a fundamental right to a stable climate under the Constitution of the United States.
Litigating Climate Change Part 3: Sacchi et al. v. Argentina et al.
Ramin Pejan tells the story of Sacchi et al. v. Argentina et al., which he and others brought to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child alleging that Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 16 Youth Petitioners by failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Ramin is a senior attorney with the International Program of Earthjustice in San Francisco, CA. He previously worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Environment Programme on the links between human rights and environmental issues. He holds a B.A. from Duke University, a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law, and an LLM from McGill University, focusing on international environmental law and human rights law.
GLSM - Children's Case to Committee on Rights of the Child
Ramin Pejan tells the story of his advocacy for climate rights before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which, although it was sympathetic to the petition against Brazil, Turkey, Germany, France, and Argentina, ultimately dismissed the claims for failure to exhaust domestic remedies.