Six Portuguese children and young adults, who have faced deadly wildfires and heatwaves, yesterday filed a lawsuit against 33 countries with the European Court of Human Rights, claiming government inaction on climate change jeopardises their future.
The applicants, aged between eight and 21, want the governments to ramp up efforts to curb planet-heating emissions, saying failure to do so threatened their lives and wellbeing.
Thousands of climate lawsuits have been filed against governments and companies worldwide in the past few years, but this case is the first to be brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), lawyers for the applicants said. The action targets the 33 largest greenhouse gas emitters among the 47 member states of the Strasbourg-based ECHR, including all EU countries, Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, they said.
According to research consortium Climate Action Tracker, those 33 countries are not doing enough to meet an internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to well below 2C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times.