A Dutch court on Wednesday, December 9, dismissed Greenpeace’s bid to make the government tie stricter climate conditions to national airline KLM’s multibillion-euro coronavirus bailout package.
The environmental group dragged the Dutch state to court last month after Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Cabinet announced in June it would give 3.4 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in aid to the beleaguered Dutch arm of Air France-KLM.
Greenpeace said more stringent conditions should be attached to the loan, arguing the government needed to do more to curb KLM’s greenhouse gas emissions, including cutting CO2 reductions by 3.9 megatons by 2030.
A Dutch judge however dismissed Greenpeace’s demands, with costs, saying that KLM was already bound by international climate treaties set down by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization to reduce CO2 emissions.
“It is not for an interim injunction judge…to take measures which are intertwined with that of the international decision-making process,” Hans Vetter said at the Hague District Court.
It was “understandable that Greenpeace is critical of these objectives that have so far been set in an international context,” Vetter added.
However “the emission reductions called for by Greenpeace go beyond the objectives agreed at international level,” the judge said.
Greenpeace afterwards said it was disappointed in the verdict, calling it a “missed opportunity for our present and for our future.”
“The government should demand better performance from KLM now that we are bailing them out, like gradual carbon emissions reduction and better conditions for the company’s staff,” said Dewi Zloch, a climate and energy expert at Greenpeace Netherlands.
Greenpeace also called on KLM to scrap short-haul flights to destinations such as Brussels and Paris.
KLM’s aid package consists of a guarantee for bank loans of up to 2.4 billion euros and a direct loan from the state of up to one billion euros.
Dutch courts have dealt with a series of environmental cases in recent years.
The Dutch Supreme Court ordered the state last year to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% of 1990 levels by the end of 2020, in a landmark case brought by environmental organization Urgenda.
Last week, activists took Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell to court, saying it was breaching the Paris climate accord. – Rappler.com
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