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Friday, November 20, 2015

Strategic CSR - The courts

The article in the url below contains an interesting example of how the dynamics of climate change might evolve in future years:
"A court in the Netherlands has ordered the Dutch government to toughen its climate policies, a major ruling that could motivate environmental activists to pursue a similar legal strategy in other countries."
If politicians (who have to face regular elections) are reluctant to discount the short-term costs of meaningful change in favor of the long-term benefits, maybe a country's judges (who have lifetime tenure) can take the necessary courageous steps:
"The Hague District Court ordered the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent from 1990 levels in the next five years. The government had previously committed to reducing emissions by 17 percent, but an environmental group, Urgenda, sued and demanded that the reductions be between 25 percent and 40 percent."
The primary motivation behind the court's decision was the government's duty towards its citizens:
"The decision, translated into English by the government, concluded that 'the possibility of damages for those whose interests Urgenda represents, including current and future generations of Dutch nationals, is so great and concrete that given its duty of care, the state must make an adequate contribution, greater than its current contribution, to prevent hazardous climate change.' … The state, the court said, has a 'duty of care' that applies to the 'livability of the country and the protection and improvement of the living environment.'"
I wonder what the U.S. Supreme Court's perspective is on the constitutional duty of the federal government to protect the interests (lives) of its future citizens.
Have a good weekend.
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Ruling Says Netherlands Must Reduce Emissions
By John Schwartz
June 25, 2015
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final