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Climate Action Is a Legal Obligation, European Court Rules


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A landmark ruling Tuesday by a European human rights court will likely pave the way for future lawsuits that could force countries to act more quickly to cut their planet-warming pollution.

The European Court of Human Rights found that the Switzerland government was violating the rights of a group of senior women by failing to seriously address the climate crisis. It's the first time the court has determined that climate change is a human rights issue, laying out a road map for how future climate cases can be brought before the influential court, legal scholars say.

The ruling also sets a precedent that allows citizens of European countries to hold their governments accountable for not taking sufficient action to tackle rising temperatures. And it could influence other prominent tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, as they consider countries’ legal obligations in the context of climate change.



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