The Netherlands is among the most progressive nations in the world. The country’s lenient approach to the use of soft drugs such as cannabis, for example, started back in the 1970s. In 1981 it was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, and in 1999 it was one of the first to decriminalise prostitution. Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal there since 2002.

So it’s perhaps unsurprising that a district court in The Hague handed down an order to Royal Dutch Shell last week ordering the multinational to slash its CO² emissions — including those from the combustion of oil and gas products by its customers — by 45% within nine years...

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