Elderly Swiss women bring European court’s first climate case

(EurActiv, 30 Mar 2023) Thousands of elderly Swiss women have joined forces in a groundbreaking case heard on Wednesday (29 March) at the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that their government’s “woefully inadequate” efforts to fight global warming violate their human rights.

The first climate change case at the Strasbourg court has been brought by a group of Swiss female pensioners who claim that their country’s inaction in the face of rising temperatures puts them at risk of dying during heatwaves.

The hearing in the court’s top bench, the Grand Chamber, will be followed by two others and would set an important precedent since the women’s’ lawyers are seeking an ambitious ruling that could force Bern to cut carbon dioxide emissions much faster than planned.

More than 100 supporters and climate activists from Greenpeace gathered outside the courtroom, holding banners and flowers. They chanted “bravo” as each woman exited the court and blew bubbles and rang cow bells amid clapping and cheering.

Bruna Molinari, who is 81 and suffers from asthma that she says is aggravated by excessive heat, told Reuters she hoped the outcome would at least benefit generations to come. “As a grandmother and mother, I think they have the right to have a climate that is better than the one we have,” she said, coughing throughout.

Stefanie Brander, a member of the association Senior Women for Climate Protection, said that she felt the government had underestimated the group until now.

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EurActiv, 30 Mar 2023: Elderly Swiss women bring European court’s first climate case