EU court rejects historic citizen's climate case




  • In Business
  • 2019-05-22 14:45:19Z
  • By Patrick GALEY

Paris (AFP) - The European Court of Justice has thrown out a landmark case brought by 10 families who sued the European Union over the threats climate change poses to their homes and livelihoods, lawyers said Wednesday.

The team behind the case said the bloc's top court earlier this month dismissed it on procedural grounds, arguing that individuals do not have the right to challenge the bloc's environmental plans.

The ruling could have a major impact on future climate litigation, experts said.

Lawyers for the "People's Climate Case" said they would appeal.

Families from across Europe, Kenya and Fiji in May last year filed suit against the European Union, claiming it must do more to limit climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions and the droughts, floods and sea level rises it brings.

The plaintiffs were "already being impacted by climate change, already incurring damage," their lawyer Roda Verheyen told AFP at the time.

They include a Portuguese forester who had all his trees destroyed by wildfires in 2017 and a family from the Italian Alps which has seen the tourists their livelihoods depend on dwindle due to warmer winters.

Another complainant, Sanna Vannar, is a 23-year-old reindeer herder from Sweden's indigenous Sami group.

"Since we launched the case, impacts of climate change got worse and worse," she said Wednesday.

"This is not just a case. It is about protecting our rights and future."

In their ruling on the ECJ's website, the judges acknowledged that "every individual is likely to be affected one way or another by climate change".

But it decided that this did not provide grounds for suing the EU, which has already committed to reduce emissions.

"The case is not dismissed on the merits," said Verheyen in reaction to the ruling.

"On the contrary, the Court accepts that climate change is impacting everybody but refrains to engage with the facts of climate change and its human rights impacts."

- Hundreds of cases -

The Paris climate agreement, signed in 2015, commits to limiting global temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.7 Farenheit).

This would be achieved by a significant reduction in the use of the fossil fuels that currently power the global economy.

The pact saw countries submit voluntary emissions-cutting pledges but experts say it is still more likely the Earth will warm by closer to 3.0 C -- a level which could bring even more super-storms, forest fires and mass displacements similar to those witnessed in recent years.

The EU has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

But the families argued this was inadequate to protect their "fundamental rights such as the right to life, health, property and occupation".

They called for the bloc to boost its emissions cuts target to 55 percent.

Since the lawsuit was launched, 10 EU member states including France and Spain have called on leaders to agree to net zero emissions by 2050.

There are currently around 1,000 cases brought against governments across the world related to climate change and habitat loss, according to a database compiled by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

Lawyers in the People's Climate Case say they plan to appeal within the next two months, but cautioned that since the case was dismissed on procedural grounds, no new evidence could be submitted.

The families vowed to keep up their legal fight, however, and to keep the pressure on world leaders to act to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

"At my age, besides joining climate marches with young people, this case is the only thing that I can do to protect my children and grandchildren," said Maurice Feschet, a 73-year-old French farmer.

"As a citizen, I will keep turning to the courts as politicians fail to deliver the needed climate action."

COMMENTS

More Related News

GOP strike in Oregon over climate change bill enters 5th day
GOP strike in Oregon over climate change bill enters 5th day
  • US
  • 2019-06-24 21:01:48Z

The eleven GOP senators, who are in the political minority, fled the Oregon Legislature on June 20 to deny Democrats the quorum that's required to vote on any legislation. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, activated the state police to seek out the rogue lawmakers and bring them back to the Statehouse for the vote, but on Monday the senators were still absent. Many have fled the state, where the Oregon State Police has no jurisdiction.

Global warming = more energy use = more warming
Global warming = more energy use = more warming

Even modest climate change will increase global energy demand by up to a quarter before mid-century, and by nearly 60 percent if humanity fails to curb greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said Monday. In 2018, oil and gas accounted for two thirds of global electricity generation, while solar and wind contributed less than 10 percent, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Hydro and nuclear energy -- which do not emit CO2 -- power a quarter of global electricity, but also have limited potential to scale up quickly.

No evidence Russia influenced Brexit via Facebook, says Clegg
No evidence Russia influenced Brexit via Facebook, says Clegg
  • US
  • 2019-06-24 08:45:30Z

There is "absolutely no evidence" that outside forces such as Russia used Facebook to target users and influence Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the world's biggest social network said on Monday. Nick Clegg, head of global affairs at Facebook and Britain's former deputy prime minister, said the network had run two full analyses of its data held in the run up to the 2016 referendum and found no evidence of a significant attempt by outside forces to influence the outcome.

Italy holds Netherlands, EU
Italy holds Netherlands, EU 'responsible' for migrant boat

Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said he would hold the Netherlands and the European Union "responsible" for the fate of 42 migrants that Rome has blocked from disembarking at Italian ports for over a week. The Dutch-flagged rescue boat Sea-Watch 3 has been stuck in the Mediterranean since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12. While 11 of those on board the Sea-Watch have been allowed to disembark -- including two pregnant women -- the vessel has been denied permission to dock in Italy.

Arrests at protest over New York Times
Arrests at protest over New York Times' 'unacceptable' climate coverage

* Protesters block avenue between Port Authority and NYT * Extinction Rebellion calls for better coverage of climate crisisActivists sit on an intersection as others are taken into custody by police officers outside the New York Times building. Photograph: Julio Cortez/APA climate change protest orchestrated by the Extinction Rebellion activist group briefly blocked Eighth Avenue in New York on Saturday afternoon, between the Port Authority transit hub and the home of the New York Times.The New York police department (NYPD) said 70 people were arrested as they called for more effective media coverage of the dangers of climate change, in a dramatic demonstration that saw people stage a...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.