Dutch state sued by Caribbean island residents over climate policies

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Residents of the Dutch-Caribbean island of Bonaire filed a lawsuit against the Dutch state on Thursday demanding it takes more measures to protect the island against the effects of climate change.

The eight plaintiffs in the case want the Netherlands to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040, 10 years ahead of its current plans, and say the Dutch government has not done enough to protect the island against rising sea levels.

Bonaire in the southern Caribbean is a former Dutch colony and became a special Dutch municipality in 2010. It has around 20,000 inhabitants who are Dutch citizens.

“The Caribbean Netherlands has been forgotten for too long. There are plans in place to protect the European Netherlands against sea-level rise and other consequences of the climate crisis, but for Bonaire this is not yet the case,” plaintiff Danique Martis said in a statement.

The case is supported by environmentalist action group Greenpeace, which said parts of Bonaire are likely to be permanently submerged by 2050 and the island’s protective coral barrier is dying.

The Dutch Interior ministry could not provide an immediate comment.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer. Editing by Jane Merriman)