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Climate Action Lawsuit

Why is it in the news?

  • The lawsuit, known as Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and Others, was filed in September 2020 in the aftermath of wildfires in Portugal’s Leiria in 2017.
  • The Portuguese youths claim that European nations have exceeded their carbon budgets set by the Paris Agreement, violating fundamental rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. They argue that if countries continue at their current pace, global heating will rise to 3°C within their lifetime.
  • The lawsuit involves 32 European governments, including the U.K., Russia, and Turkey, and six young people from Portugal, aged 11 to 24.
  • This historic legal battle is set to take place in the European Court of Human Rights in France’s Strasbourg.
  • As of December 2022, there were 2,180 climate-related cases filed in 65 countries across international and regional courts, tribunals, and quasi-judicial bodies.
  • At least 34 cases were brought by or on behalf of children and young people under 25 years of age.
More about the news
  • Young people express fear and concern about the climate crisis, affecting their physical and mental health.
  • UNICEF labels the climate crisis as a “child rights crisis” as it threatens access to education, health, and nutrition.
  • Air pollution and heatwaves linked to climate change are already affecting children’s health and academic performance.
  • However, many governments have denied a direct link between climate change and its impact on human health.
  • Some nations argue that they are on track to achieve climate targets, while others have made policy changes that weaken their climate commitments.
  • Climate litigation is transforming the legal landscape by holding governments and corporations accountable for unchecked carbon emissions.
  • Lawsuits are seen as a means to establish a factual record, counter misinformation, and ensure justice.
  • Ongoing climate litigation falls into several categories, including cases based on human rights, challenges to non-enforcement of climate-related laws, efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground, advocacy for greater climate disclosures, corporate liability, and cases addressing adaptation failures.

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