Swiss seniors achieve a historic climate change legal victory in Europe

Europe's top human rights court recognizes the duty of nations to shield their citizens from climate change's harms, highlighted by a landmark win for Swiss senior women but dismisses a youth-led case on emission reductions.

Molly Quell and Raf Casert report for the Associated Press.


In short:

  • The European Court of Human Rights rules member countries must protect citizens from climate change, setting a legal precedent.
  • The court's decision supports over 2,000 Swiss women in their climate protection efforts, while other plaintiffs faced defeat.
  • This ruling marks the first international court decision on climate change, potentially paving the way for future legal challenges.

Key quote:

“This is a turning point.”

— Corina Heri, an expert in climate change litigation at the University of Zurich

Why this matters:

The court's judgment underscores the increasing legal acknowledgment of climate change as a critical human rights issue and further signals a growing trend toward intergenerational environmental coalitions and their effectiveness.

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