European court throws out climate lawsuit, saying plaintiffs are not unique

(Climate Change News, 22 May 2019) The European General Court has thrown out a lawsuit that pressed for stronger 2030 EU climate targets.

Ten families and an indigenous group filed the “People’s Climate Case” in May 2018, arguing the EU’s “inadequate” goal of 40% emissions cuts from 1990 levels threatened their human rights.

The court found the plaintiffs had not shown they were uniquely impacted by climate change and therefore did not satisfy the criteria for a substantive hearing.

The judges’ order said: “It is true that every individual is likely to be affected one way or another by climate change, that issue being recognised by the European Union and the Member States who have, as a result, committed to reducing emissions. However, the fact that the effects of climate change may be different for one person than they are for another does not mean that, for that reason, there exists standing to bring an action against a measure of general application.”

The plaintiffs were ordered to bear the EU’s costs for the case. The group, which is backed by NGOs Protect the Planet and Climate Action Network Europe, announced on Wednesday their intention to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

Lead lawyer Roda Verheyen said in a statement: “During the appeal procedure we will ask the European Court of Justice to look at the decision in the light of the facts of climate science and its human rights impacts we have shown in our application. This order cannot stand if the EU is serious about a ‘Europe for all’.”

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Climate Change News, 22 May 2019: European court throws out climate lawsuit, saying plaintiffs are not unique