Strasbourg, KlimaSeniorinnen, Senior Women for Climate Protection
© REUTERS/Christian HartmannMembers of Senior Women for Climate Protection react after the court verdict in Strasbourg, April 9, 2024.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Swiss Government had violated the human rights of its citizens by failing to do enough to combat climate change. Reuters has more.
The European Court of Human Rights's (ECtHR) decision on the case brought by more than 2,000 elderly Swiss women set a precedent that will resonate across Europe and beyond for how courts deal with a growing trend of climate litigation.

But in a sign of the complexities of climate litigation, the court rejected two similar climate-related cases, one brought by a group of six Portuguese young people against 32 European governments and another by a former mayor of a low-lying French coastal town.

The Swiss women, known as KlimaSeniorinnen, argued their Government's climate inaction put them at risk of dying during heatwaves.

In her ruling, Court President Siofra O'Leary said the Swiss Government had failed to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and that there had been gaps in its domestic regulatory framework.

"It is clear that future generations are likely to bear an increasingly severe burden of the consequences of present failures and omissions to combat climate change," O'Leary said. ...

The cases before the 17-judge panel in Strasbourg, France, are among the increasing number of climate lawsuits brought by communities against governments that hinge on human rights law. ...

Global civic movement Avaaz said the court's Swiss ruling had opened a new chapter in climate litigation.

"(It) sets a crucial legally binding precedent serving as a blueprint for how to successfully sue your own government over climate failures," Ruth Delbaere, legal campaigns director at Avaaz, said.

The verdicts, which cannot be appealed, could compel the Swiss federal 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 (2.7 Fahrenheit).
Worth reading in full.

The ruling makes several dubious assumptions. It supposes that there are more heatwaves now than in the past, that they are increasingly deadly, that human emissions are to blame, and that any of this is a human rights issue to be determined by a supranational court. All of these assumptions are questionable at the very least. A very poor decision that further shifts power from national democratic institutions to international technocratic ones.