Headline RoundupApril 9th, 2024

EU Court Says Switzerland’s Handling of Climate Change Violates Human Rights in Landmark Ruling

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of 2,000 elderly Swiss women suing their government over its handling of climate change in a landmark ruling on Tuesday.

The Details: The group of women argued their government’s inadequate efforts to combat climate change put them at increased risk of dying due to heatwaves. Based in Strasbourg, France, the court said the Swiss government had violated the human rights of “health, well-being and quality of life.”

For Context: The verdict marks the first time the court ruled on climate litigation, and the verdict cannot be appealed. Two other similar cases were thrown out by the court on Tuesday, however, including one brought by six Portuguese youngsters against 32 European countries and another by a former French mayor against France. The latter case was moved on to Brussels, the EU’s administrative center.

Key Quotes: Court President Siofra O'Leary told the courtroom the violations “included a failure to quantify, through a carbon budget or otherwise, national greenhouse gas emissions limitations.”

How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum noted the ripple effect the ruling could have on the rest of Europe and the world. Reuters (Center bias) suggested the verdict “could compel the government to take greater action on reducing emissions, including revising its 2030 emissions reductions targets to get in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

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