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After Climate Court Victories Comes the Problem of Enforcement

Aug. 18, 2021, 4:00 AM

Marjan Minnesma cheered along with her fellow climate activists in May when a judge ordered Royal Dutch Shell Plc to drastically slash its carbon-dioxide emissions. It was the first time a company had been held legally accountable for its planet-warming pollution.

It wasn’t the first time Minnesma had celebrated a groundbreaking legal victory handed down in that court building in The Hague, Netherlands. Six years ago, her non-governmental organization Urgenda sued the country’s leaders for failing to cut pollution quickly enough to avoid catastrophic global warming. A judge agreed that protecting the environment was a human right and told the government ...