The government is not doing enough to protect Bonaire from climate change, according to eight island residents and the environmental organization Greenpeace. That is why they are filing a lawsuit against the Dutch state today. “Bonaire is useless for promises only.”
Greenpeace and eight Bonaire residents want the government to do more to stop climate change. They also believe the state is doing too little to protect Dutch Caribbean residents, like Bonaire, from the consequences of climate change. The island, a private municipality, is being severely damaged by global warming, according to prosecutors.
The plaintiffs base this on one research from Vrije University, which was implemented on behalf of Greenpeace. The research shows that if climate change continues to this extent, large parts of the island could be submerged due to sea level rise.
Judmar Emerenciana is one of the claimants from Bonaire. “I don't want slave huts to be flooded in the future, and then think: 'We could have prevented that.'”
University of Virginia researchers also warn that the number of illnesses and deaths will increase due to an increase in extreme weather, such as heat waves and drought. Coral reefs can die when the sea heats up. These coral reefs are important for breaking waves and can therefore stop floods. Furthermore, coral reefs are also a major driver of the local economy.
The Cabinet has already appointed a “climate agenda”
In May last year, Greenpeace and plaintiffs summoned the government to take action. You can view the summons as a final legal warning before the recall. Minister Rob Gitten then responded, saying it was “absolutely clear” that more climate action was needed on the island.
The recall has already caused a movement within the government, as Greenpeace also acknowledges. For example, former politician Ed Naegbels, at the request of the Minister, received a “special”Climate tableDesignated for Bonaire. In that advice, titled “It's Never Too Late,” Naegbels describes the risks of climate change on the island. It also stresses the importance of reaching a special climate agreement for the BES Islands.
The government has responded to the advice with a letter recognizing the importance of climate action and promising to come up with a climate plan for all BES islands in 2024. But Greenpeace now says it still believes this is insufficient.
No time for complacency
Despite this announcement from the state, they still want to continue going to court, Greenpeace's Evje de Kroon told NU.nl. “We see that the urgency is increasingly recognized, but we do not yet see any certainty about the climate plan,” says de Kroon. She held several talks about Bonaire with ministers and officials.
“There are all sorts of measures to ensure we keep our feet dry in the European Netherlands, which does not apply to Bonaire.” De Kroon thus refers to the Delta Program and the National Adaptation Strategy, where experts are looking, for example, at improving dams.
De Kroon says the country could take more realistic measures to reduce carbon dioxide more quickly on the one hand and to protect the islands from the expected effects of climate change on the other. “There is no time to procrastinate anymore, and Bonaire is no longer used to mere promises.”
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”