Swiss Parliament Rejects Historic ‘Climate Seniors’ Ruling

Image credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Switzerland’s parliament caused controversy on June 12 by refusing to follow a major decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) aimed at tackling climate change. In April 2024, a group of elderly Swiss women, known as “climate seniors,” took the government to court in Strasbourg, France. They argued that Switzerland’s weak response to climate change was putting their health and lives at risk, especially during heatwaves linked to global warming.

The ECHR ruled in favor of the women, ordering Switzerland to do more to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. However, Swiss lawmakers disagreed with the ruling, saying their current plans to fight climate change were already good enough. Right-wing politicians criticized what they saw as interference from “foreign judges,” while members of the Green Party called the parliament’s decision shameful and populist. Switzerland is currently not on track to meet its targets under the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit global warming.

The case was led by a group called KlimaSeniorinnen, made up of Swiss women over 64 years old. They argued that climate change policies hurt them more because of their age and gender. ECHR President Siofra O’Leary said Switzerland’s rules on cutting emissions were not clear enough and did not work well.

Swiss President Viola Amherd said Switzerland cares about the environment but thinks it’s already doing enough to fight climate change. The Swiss government will check the ECHR’s ruling and think about what to do next.

Some people, like Portuguese young person Sofia Oliveira, were sad that the ECHR’s decision didn’t do more. But the ruling shows that European countries must cut emissions and help people from climate change. Lawyers say this ruling will affect climate laws all over the world, making governments follow rules about protecting the environment.

Future Climate leader Greta Thunberg said it’s bad that Switzerland didn’t do more, but this should make more people want to fight harder for the environment. The ECHR’s decision is important because it shows courts can make governments change their climate plans, which will help stop global warming.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the People.

Swiss Parliament Rejects Historic ‘Climate Seniors’ Ruling

Image credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Switzerland’s parliament caused controversy on June 12 by refusing to follow a major decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) aimed at tackling climate change. In April 2024, a group of elderly Swiss women, known as “climate seniors,” took the government to court in Strasbourg, France. They argued that Switzerland’s weak response to climate change was putting their health and lives at risk, especially during heatwaves linked to global warming.

The ECHR ruled in favor of the women, ordering Switzerland to do more to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. However, Swiss lawmakers disagreed with the ruling, saying their current plans to fight climate change were already good enough. Right-wing politicians criticized what they saw as interference from “foreign judges,” while members of the Green Party called the parliament’s decision shameful and populist. Switzerland is currently not on track to meet its targets under the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit global warming.

The case was led by a group called KlimaSeniorinnen, made up of Swiss women over 64 years old. They argued that climate change policies hurt them more because of their age and gender. ECHR President Siofra O’Leary said Switzerland’s rules on cutting emissions were not clear enough and did not work well.

Swiss President Viola Amherd said Switzerland cares about the environment but thinks it’s already doing enough to fight climate change. The Swiss government will check the ECHR’s ruling and think about what to do next.

Some people, like Portuguese young person Sofia Oliveira, were sad that the ECHR’s decision didn’t do more. But the ruling shows that European countries must cut emissions and help people from climate change. Lawyers say this ruling will affect climate laws all over the world, making governments follow rules about protecting the environment.

Future Climate leader Greta Thunberg said it’s bad that Switzerland didn’t do more, but this should make more people want to fight harder for the environment. The ECHR’s decision is important because it shows courts can make governments change their climate plans, which will help stop global warming.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the People.