Portuguese youth are taking 33 countries to court over climate change

The youth isn’t very happy about climate change. If the Fridays4future climate strikes didn’t make that clear, a new court case filed by young activists from Portugal at the European court of human rights makes it abundantly clear.

The case, which was crowdfunded, demands 33 countries make more ambitious emissions cuts to protect their future physical and mental wellbeing. The plaintiffs — four children and two young adults — want the standard-setting court to issue binding orders to EU states as well as the UK, Norway, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, and Ukraine in order to prevent discrimination against the young while protecting their rights to exercise outdoors and live without anxiety.

What makes this case so special is that it’s the first where multiple states are being sued for both the emissions within their borders and also for the climate impact that their consumers and companies have elsewhere in the world through trade, fossil-fuel extraction, and outsourcing. According to the NGO behind the case, they hope it will amplify the pressure applied by school climate strikers.

As with any court case, it will likely take a while before this is all settled, but as always, we’ll be keeping an eye on its development.

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