Aarhus transposition in the federal states
Recently Salzburg, Styria and the Tyrol tried to transpose access to justice and participation rights in the area of nature protection – the Viennese Aarhus transposition still lacks behind. As in other transpositions, the participation of environmental organizations is only granted in procedures according to the Habitats and the Birds Directive. The legally required full party rights in appropriate assessments is sought in vain – for this, a party position "light" is introduced. For plans, programs and omissions, the transposition does not provide any participation rights as required for by the Aarhus Convention. Procedural provisions are inconsistent and will lead to problems in practical application.
Dutch URGENDA climate case gets a final victory with the Supreme Court ruling
On December 20th, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled in favour of the environmental NGO “Urgenda” and its climate case against the state. In doing so, they affirmed the rulings of the lower instances and the duty of the Netherlands to dramatically increase their efforts to protect the climate. Now, they have to reach the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 % at the end of the year compared to the baseline from 1990.
In its ruling the Supreme Court extensively quotes the European Convention on Human Rights, especially the right to life (Art 2), the right to private life (Art 8) and the right to effective legal protection (Art 13). The objections by the state regarding the separation of powers were pushed aside in the ruling, as the court emphasises the state’s obligation to protect its citizens form the human made climate crisis and its effects like shortage of food, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.