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The sun sets behind Isla refinery in Willemstad at the island of Curacao June 16, 2008. REUTERS/Jorge Silva(reuters_tickers)
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday ordered the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster than planned, to ensure they are at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by the end of 2020.
Last year, emissions of greenhouse gases were only 13 percent below 1990 levels in the Netherlands, which is among the most polluting countries in the European Union.
"The government has done too little to prevent the dangers of climate change and is doing too little to catch up", the court said, as it upheld a 2015 ruling by a district court.
Current plans to combat climate change are expected by the government to reduce emissions by 23 percent in 2020, with a further aim of halving them by 2030.
"But uncertainty around the 2020 goal is very large", the court said. "There is a clear chance that the reduction will fall far short of the 25 percent goal, which is unacceptable."
The government said it would abide by the ruling, and said the 2020 goal was "within reach". However, it is also considering whether to appeal further, questioning the way the court has weighed policy decisions.
The court in its ruling rejected all objections by the government, handing a clear victory to the environmental group Urgenda Foundation, which filed the case on behalf of nearly 900 Dutch citizens.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Kevin Liffey, Larry King)