In December 2019, the Dutch parliament passed a law to phase out coal. With this legislation, the country adjacent to the North Sea plans to ban the burning of coal for power generation by 2030, which would also serve to help the government comply with its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement. Among other stipulations, the law requires the energy company RWE to stop burning coal at its Eemshaven power plant by the end of the decade. In response, RWE sued the Dutch government for 1.4 billion euros in damages.
It is undeniable that climate change cannot be tackled without an energy transition, and the interests of the fossil fuel industry should not be allowed to undermine efforts to protect the climate, especially when such efforts are the result of parliamentary and democratic decisions. Therefore, in July 2021, ECCHR and its Dutch partners submitted a brief in the RWE case that signaled our intention to intervene. Our intervention works to bring an environmental and human rights perspective to the proceedings.