Portuguese wildfires and eco-anxiety spurred these children to start a major European court battle

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023
Complete Article: EuroNews


Six young people from Portugal are taking 32 European countries to court. The case was filed in September 2020 and will be heard by the European Court of Human Rights on September 27th, 2023.

The case has been filed against the 27 EU member states, as well Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Turkey. It seeks a legally binding decision that would force the governments to act against climate change.

It is one of the first such cases to be heard before the court, where citizens say inaction has violated their human rights. It could result in orders for governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions faster than currently planned.

One of their lawyers says there have been “extremely positive” signals from the court so far.

One of the applicants’ lawyers, Gerry Liston from GLAN, believes their chances of success are high as “all the signals so far from the court have been extremely positive”, including its fast-tracking of the case as an urgent and important matter.

He acknowledged that “taking on the legal teams of over 30 very well-resourced countries” would not be easy, but said an “explosion of climate cases” occurring in Europe and beyond should eventually force governments to act. “The judgment we seek would give national courts a roadmap for compelling governments in Europe to act in this way.”

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