New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters
Chapter 9: Civil Liability for Global Warming in the Netherlands
Chris van Dijk 1. INTRODUCTION The climate on earth is determined to a great extent by the warmth of the sun. Natural gases such as CO2, N2O, CH4, O3 and CFCs together form a kind of blanket, which prevents a large part of this warmth received from flowing back into space. Without this natural effect, the earth would be about 34 degrees Celsius colder than it is now. More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means an increase of the temperature on earth. In the past century, the temperature on earth has increased by an average of 0.76 degrees Celsius. It is becoming ever clearer that this is caused, at least to a considerable extent, by human emission of greenhouse gases resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels, agriculture, stock breeding and land use. Respected institutions such as the independent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are of the view that if policies are not changed, disaster is looming on the horizon. The IPCC is ever more insistent on this in its reports, which are published every few years.1 In its report of February 20072 it concluded that, depending on the measures to be taken, the earth will become 1.1 to 6.4 degrees warmer and the sea level will rise 18 to 59 cm in the coming century. The scenarios predicted are extremely threatening.3 For example, the availability of water in most territories at average latitudes and in the dry tropical areas could decrease by 10 to 30 per cent. On...
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