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Older Swiss women take their government to court over climate policies | Women’s Agenda

Older Swiss women take their government to court over climate policies

In this Women’s Agenda article, a group of more than 2000 Swiss women have taken their government to court claiming its failure to act on climate change is a violation of their human rights. We will watch this process closely.


Older Swiss women take their government to court over climate policies [Extract]

The women, who are in a group called the Club of Climate Seniors, have an average age of 73. They claim their government’s failure to act adequately on climate change is putting their human rights and health at risk. The case is the first lawsuit on climate change to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights.

The women are asking the court to “correct the course of Swiss climate policy because the current climate targets and measures are not sufficient to limit global warming to a safe level”.

The group said they are standing up for the protection of their fundamental rights, including their right to life and health. These rights are protected in the European Conventions on Human Rights, which Switzerland ratified in 1974.

“Ever-more frequent and acute extreme heat events due to human-induced climate change particularly endanger the health and lives of older women. Because case law dictates that only particularly affected groups can file an application, the Senior Women for Climate Protection’s application is restricted to women of retirement age,” the group’s website states.

“The fact that senior women in particular suffer from the increasingly frequent and acute heat waves is confirmed by reports and studies by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) and the Swiss Academy of Sciences.

“In the Global Risks Report published annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF), extreme weather events are among the most likely risks of all for humanity.”

The European Court of Human Rights has never ruled on a case related to climate change, which means this case could set a legal precendent. It could play an integral role in holding other governments accountable for their domestic climate change policies.

According to the Climate Action Tracker, Switzerland’s policies to reduce emissions are not considered to be consistent with the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

The case comes as the latest IPCC report on climate change indicated the world’s current approach to climate action is insufficient to secure a liveable future. It said the choices we make this decade are critical to current and future generations.

by Madeline Hislop


(Source article and photo credit:



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