Top Europe court to issue landmark climate verdicts

(EurActiv, 9 Apr 2024) Europe’s top rights court is Tuesday (9 April) to decide in three separate cases if states are doing enough in the face of global warming in rulings that could force them to do more.

The European Court of Human Rights, part of the 46-member Council of Europe, is from 10:30 am (0830 GMT) to rule on whether governments’ climate change policies are violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

All three cases accuse European governments of inaction or insufficient action in their measures against global warming.

In a sign of the importance of the issue, the cases have all been treated as priority by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, whose 17 judges can set a potentially crucial legal precedent.

It will be the first time the court has issued a ruling on climate change.

While several European states, including France, have already been condemned by domestic courts for not fulfilling commitments related to global warming, the ECHR could go further and make clear new fundamental rights.

The challenge lies in ensuring “the recognition of an individual and collective right to a climate that is as stable as possible, which would constitute an important legal innovation”, said lawyer and former French environment minister Corinne Lepage, who is defending one of the cases.

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EurActiv, 9 Apr 2024: Top Europe court to issue landmark climate verdicts