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16 June, 2024
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Court backs elderly women, holds Swiss Government liable for climate inaction

European court challenges governments to combat global warming


A group of senior women in Switzerland, known as Senior Women for Climate Protection, with an average age of 74, have won a landmark case at Europe's top human rights court.

According to a report on Sky News, they argued that the Swiss government hasn't done enough to tackle climate change, which disproportionately affects older women due to extreme heat. This marks the first time the court has ruled on climate change.

Although the judgments from the European Court of Human Rights aren't binding for all 46 member states, they set a precedent for future cases. The court's decision comes amidst a push for stronger climate action, with the European Union aiming to become climate-neutral by 2050.

While the court sided with the Swiss women, it dismissed a case brought by six Portuguese youngsters demanding countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, a French mayor's plea for stronger government efforts against climate change was also rejected.

Despite the mixed outcomes, there's optimism among climate activists. Sofia Oliveira, one of the Portuguese plaintiffs, expressed disappointment but highlighted the importance of the court's message urging governments to cut emissions to protect human rights. Climate activist Greta Thunberg, along with supporters, gathered outside the court, emphasizing the significance of the ruling.

Gerry Liston, a lawyer supporting the Portuguese students, described any victory among the cases as a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, comparable to the Paris Agreement.

[With information sourced from Sky News]

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