ECHR hears Two Landmark Climate Change Cases.

The European Court of Human Rights has heard two oral arguments by the applicants of France and Switzerland wherein the governments are accused of neglecting taking proper actions to handle climate change. According to both petitioners, the European Convention on Human Rights violates their right to life and their right to respect for family life.


The first case was challenged by the members of Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz, a Swiss organization. A collection of older ladies make up the members, with 33% of them being over 75. Their worries include how climate change might affect their health and quality of life.  They claim that the aggravation of health issues during heat waves brought on by global warming is a major matter of public concern. The members assert that Switzerland’s government has not passed any adequate or required legislation to achieve global goals for combating climate change. They contend there is no effective domestic remedy and that they haven’t had access to a court.

Former French mayor Mr. Damien Carême is the applicant in the second case. Carême is contesting the French court’s claim that he is not specifically impacted or has had any negative effect due to the nation’s inaction on climate change. However, Careme claims that this failure of legislation directly affects him because there is a greater possibility that his home could be negatively impacted in the future, specifically through flooding. He claims that the failure has already impacted him through him being affected from uninterrupted life planning. 


The Swiss and the French governments have similar contentions regarding the cases filed against their negligence. They argue that since they cannot be held solely accountable for the climate change, they cannot be charged for its negative impacts as well. 

The decision of this case is expected to pave a way to influence future climate change actions adopted by international governments. The ECHR is expected to make its ruling in both the cases by the year 2024. 


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