Six young activists are suing 32 European countries, claiming insufficient climate action violates their human rights, in a landmark legal battle.
Six young individuals, aged between 11 and 25, are taking 32 European countries to court over climate change. Originating from Portugal, these young activists argue that the governments are not doing enough to combat climate change, thereby infringing on their human rights.
This legal action is spurred by the devastating impact of wildfires in Portugal in 2017, which obliterated vast expanses of forest. The group contends that witnessing such environmental destruction inspired them to stand up and demand more substantial climate action from their governments. “These governments are failing to protect us,” asserts 15-year-old André, one of the young individuals involved in the case.According to BBC,
The countries accused, including Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, have defended their stance, asserting that climate change does not pose a direct threat to human well-being. The Greek government, for instance, stated that the recorded effects of climate change "do not seem to directly affect human life or human health," while the Portuguese government dismissed the young people's claims as being about "future fears."
This legal battle is not an isolated incident; earlier this year, groups of young people in Montana, USA, and Austria also took their governments to court over climate change and won. In Montana, a group of 16 kids argued that the government violated their right to "a clean and healthful environment" by not adequately addressing fossil fuel emissions.
The young activists are now preparing to present their case to the European Court of Human Rights, marking the largest legal action on climate change to date. This case underscores the growing global movement of young people demanding accountability and action from their governments on climate change, and it serves as a powerful reminder of the urgent need for substantive climate action to protect future generations.
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