Europe's court asserts climate safety as a human right, inviting new legal challenges

Europe's leading human rights court has declared that protection from climate change is a fundamental human right, opening the door for individuals to sue their governments over environmental inaction.

Federica Di Sario reports for POLITICO.


In short:

  • Europe's top human rights court has decided that safety from climate change is a human right, affecting nearly 50 governments and around 700 million people.
  • This precedent-setting judgment allows for national lawsuits against governments for failing to protect citizens from climate dangers.
  • Despite dismissing two other climate cases on technical grounds, the court provided guidance for future litigation, suggesting a new pathway for climate-related legal actions.

Key quote:

The verdict will serve "as a blueprint for how to successfully sue your own government over climate failures."

— Ruth Delbaere, legal specialist at Avaaz

Why this matters:

The acknowledgment of climate safety as a fundamental human right represents a new level of commitment to protecting the most vulnerable populations from the adverse effects of environmental degradation.

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