Climate change: children sue European countries


Six children are suing 33 countries, including Germany. They raise serious allegations about how states are dealing with climate change. The youngest is only eight years old.

Six children and young people from Portugal have overcome an important hurdle with an extraordinary climate suit against Germany and 32 other countries: the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg decided to continue with the lawsuit filed there at the beginning of September. The complaint will be given priority because of the importance and urgency of the issues raised, the ECHR announced on Monday. The affected countries now have to express their views by the end of February.

The youngest plaintiff is only eight years old, the oldest 21st. The reason for the campaign by the six young Portuguese from Leiria and Lisbon was the devastating forest fires in their home country in 2017, in which 110 people were killed. Scientists have confirmed that climate change played a role in this disaster, the complaint said.

Accusation: the future of the generation at risk

The application was drafted with the help of the non-governmental organization Global Legal Action Network (GLAN). They accuse the EU countries as well as Norway, Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine of having exacerbated the climate crisis and thereby endangering the future of their generation.

The aim of the “unprecedented lawsuit” according to GLAN is for the ECHR to urge the 33 countries to make their national climate targets much more ambitious and to reduce the emissions they and their international corporations cause worldwide.

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