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Historic Climate Case Verdict Sets Precedent for Future Generations

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Historic Climate Case Verdict Sets Precedent for Future Generations

A recent judgement in a climate case is hailed as historic by a climate scientist, underlining its profound implications for future generations. The verdict, whose details were not disclosed in the report, appears to set a significant precedent or impact policy and legislation related to climate change. It's a potent reminder of the mounting legal aspect of the fight against climate change and the onus on present generations to ensure a habitable world for those to come.

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Groundbreaking Verdict

The Court of Appeal in Brussels ruled that the Belgian state, the Flemish Region, and the Brussels-Capital Region had not made sufficient efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The court deemed this a violation of, amongst others, the European Convention on Human Rights. For the first time, federal, Flemish, and Brussels authorities have been assigned binding reduction targets: they must reduce emissions by 55% compared to 1990 by 2030. Belgium, following the Netherlands, is the second country globally where a court has imposed such explicit reduction targets.

Decisive Action

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Zakia Khattabi, federal climate minister, sees the ruling as a catalyst for new proposals to her fellow ministers. The non-profit organization Klimaatzaak, which initiated the case years ago, labels the ruling as 'historic'. The court mandates the Belgian state, the Flemish Region, and the Brussels-Capital Region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster. By 2030, these must be 55% lower than in 1990. The ruling applies to the three Belgian authorities combined; they will need to agree on who does what to achieve the collective goal of a 55% reduction 'within the limits of their respective competences'.

Historic Win

Belgium, Flanders, and Brussels are jointly to decide who does what to achieve the objective of a 55% reduction. The ruling came as part of a case that Klimaatzaak had filed against the Belgian state nine years ago. It argued that the Belgian government was not doing enough to combat climate change, thereby violating societal duty of care and the right to life and family life of its citizens. Klimaatzaak had also demanded a penalty of 1 million euros per month, but the court is awaiting emission figures from 2022 to 2024. This win is a milestone that has been almost a decade in the making.

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