3 pioneering and innovative Dutchies make it onto the TIME100 list

3 pioneering and innovative Dutchies make it onto the TIME100 list

Time magazine’s list of the top 100 most influential people features a number of famous names - from Joe Biden to Britney Spears - but this edition of the list also recognises a handful of influential people from the Netherlands; Roger Cox, Frans Timmermans, and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh.

Roger Cox: The lawyer who brought Shell to its knees

Cox may come from Maastricht, but this climate lawyer has developed an international reputation thanks to his role in a case against Royal Dutch Shell. Back in May, the Limburger won what former Vice President Al Gore called a David vs Goliath legal battle that forced Shell to reduce its emissions by 45 percent by 2030. 

Gore praised Cox for his “innovative approach” to the case, writing that the victory broke important ground that “could compel businesses around the globe to act ambitiously to safeguard the well-being of future generations.”

In addition to this landmark victory, Cox past successes saw the Dutch government reduce its emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The lawyer’s victories saw him labelled a pioneer by the Top 100 list.

Frans Timmermans: Helping the EU achieve carbon neutrality

Similarly, to Cox, Timmermans has been labelled a pioneer by Time for his revolutionary work to protect planet Earth. As Vice President of the European Commission, Timmermans launched the Fit for 55 programme in the EU - a package of regulations designed to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. 

Christiana Figueres, co-founder of Global Optimism and former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, called Fit for 55 an “important milestone towards the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050,” and praised Timmermans for his commitment to achieving this goal. “He walks where few have ventured forth, but where all nations must follow,” Figueres wrote. 

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh: A climate researcher doing a world of good

Sharing his position with German climatologist Friederike Otto, Van Oldenborgh features in the Innovators section of the Top 100 list, alongside the likes of Elon Musk. Next to his work as a climate researcher at the Dutch Weather Institute, Van Oldenborgh works with Otto and their colleagues at the World Weather Attribution project to link individual (extreme) weather events to climate change. 

“Thanks to Friederike Otto and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh...we can now speak much more confidently,” wrote author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Their work confirmed that many soaring heatwaves and hurricanes would be “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”

McKibben says the speed at which Van Oldenborgh and Otto carry out and publish their research “means that people reading about our accelerating string of disasters increasingly get the most important information of all: it’s coming from us.”

TIME100: The most influential people of 2021

Interested to know who else received the honour of being named one of the most influential people of 2021? Visit the TIME100 website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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