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A Comparative Analysis of the Urgenda Climate Case and Climate Case Ireland

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DOI: 10.23977/law.2023.021218 | Downloads: 16 | Views: 461


Xu Yiwen 1,2


1 South China Agriculture University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
2 University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Corresponding Author

Xu Yiwen


This essay delves into a comparative examination of two pivotal climate change litigation cases: the Urgenda Climate Case within the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and the Climate Case Ireland adjudicated in the esteemed Supreme Court of Ireland. Within this legal discourse, the analysis traverses the intricate landscapes of both cases, elucidating the legal and constitutional frameworks that underpin them. Emphasis is placed on the judicious role assumed by the judiciary in compelling governmental accountability for the imperative task of climate change mitigation. The Urgenda Climate Case, instigated by the Urgenda Foundation in collaboration with 900 Dutch citizens, yielded a landmark ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court. This ruling mandated the Dutch government to effectuate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a minimum reduction of 25% by the conclusion of 2020 relative to the levels recorded in 1990. On the other side of the legal spectrum, the Climate Case Ireland, brought forth by Friends of the Irish Environment against the Government of Ireland, resulted in a ruling by the Supreme Court of Ireland. This ruling found the government's National Mitigation Plan to be deficient in specificity, a requisite stipulated by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act of 2015. This essay meticulously undertakes a comparative scrutiny of the legal arguments, methodologies, repercussions, and the legal precedents established by these landmark cases. Furthermore, it scrutinizes the consequential impact of these legal battles on shaping public opinion, influencing policy decisions, and catalyzing government actions in the realm of climate change. In conclusion, the essay underscores the pivotal role played by the judiciary in crafting the contours of environmental responsibility and in paving the way for a sustainable and ecologically conscious future.


Urgenda Climate Case, Climate Case Ireland, Climate Change


Xu Yiwen, A Comparative Analysis of the Urgenda Climate Case and Climate Case Ireland. Science of Law Journal (2023) Vol. 2: 124-130. DOI: 10.23977/law.2023.021218.


[1] State of the Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation, ECLI: NL: HR:2019:2007, Judgment (Sup. Ct. Neth. Dec. 20, 2019) (Neth.).
[2] Bromage, Arthur W .Constitutional Developments in Saorstat Eireann and the Constitution of Eire: II, Internal Affairs[J].The American Political Science Review, 1937, 31(6):1050. 
[3] Benoit Mayer, The Contribution of Urgenda to the Mitigation of Climate Change, Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 35, Issue 2, July 2023, Pages 167–184,
[4] Dennis van Berkel, LANDMARK DECISION BY DUTCH SUPREME COURT, urgenda, themas/climate-case/
[5] Elvira Cameron: The Impact of the Dutch Landmark Climate Cases, 7 July 2021, https://peacepalacelibrary. nl/blog/2021/impact-dutch-landmark-climate-cases
[6] Isabella Kaminski. Urgenda two years on: What impact has the landmark climate lawsuit had? 25 May 2022,
[7] McIntyre, O. "The Irish Supreme Court Judgment in Climate Case Ireland:‘One Step Forward and Two StepsBack’." [Z]. (2020).

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