Climate change – A people’s case

(EurActiv, 9 Mar 2019) A Saami reindeer herder in Sweden’s Arctic Circle and a livestock farmer in the Romanian Carpathians are both living proof that climate change is impacting Europe’s water resources and endangering our fundamental rights, write a cross-party group of MEPs.

This opinion article is co-authored by several Members of the European Parliament (full list at the bottom). 

On 7 March, we got together with the plaintiffs of the People’s Climate Case: European citizens whose lives, families, livelihoods and fundamental rights are endangered due to the consequences of climate change.

Petru Vlad, coming from the Romanian Carpathians is living proof of how climate change is impacting our water resources. He is at the risk of losing his family farm, livestock and livelihood as a traditional herder due to increasing temperatures, droughts and lack of water in the region.

Sanna Vannar is a young Saami reindeer herder from the Arctic Circle in Sweden. Everything that surrounds her is changing: wildfires hitting the Saami grazelands, reindeer dying due to a lack of food, and suicide rates among Saami youth increasing due to emotional stress created by the uncertainty of climate conditions. Even their language is affected by climate change: already hundreds of Saami words describing different types of snow and rain are no longer used.

They are only some of the Europeans suffering from merely 1°C temperature increase happening already today. These citizens are asking us, as decision makers, to protect them and their fundamental rights to life, health, occupation and property. If we do not address climate change urgently, the impacts they and many others feel will only get worse.

We, MEPs from different political groups and countries, feel the moral responsibility to stand together with our citizens and demand much more ambitious and urgent climate action.

We believe that better climate policies are necessary for a prosperous and healthy Europe. Therefore, we call on the EU to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before mid-century. This is possible and requires a substantial increase of the EU’s 2030 climate target as demanded by the plaintiffs.

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EurActiv, 9 Mar 2019: Climate change – A people’s case