On Wednesday, elderly Swiss women accused their State before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for its inaction on climate change, which prompts heatwaves that put their health at risk.
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These women took their case to the ECHR since the Swiss Federal Court first rejected it. Over 100 climate activists gathered in front of the ECHR headquarters in Strasbourg, France, with banners and flowers to support them.
Switzerland is warming over twice as fast as the world is. Climate change in this country has caused heat waves and glaciers to melt. The Swiss government outlined a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Such an initiative, however, was widely rejected in 2021 for being onerous.
“I hoped that this case benefits future generations. As grandmother and mother, I think they have a right to a better climate than we do," said 81-year-old citizen Bruna Molinari, who suffers from asthma aggravated by excessive heat.
"If a rich and technologically advanced country like Switzerland cannot do its part in climate change, what hope is there that other countries will rise to the challenge?" Marc Willers, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said, stressing that the Swiss State has no excuse for not protecting the rights of his clients.
The Swiss government argued that this case is inadmissible. Its lawyer Alain Chablais said that any prescriptive measure issued by the ECHR would represent an overreach.
The plaintiffs, however, pointed out that they seek an ambitious sentence that could force the Swiss State to reduce carbon dioxide emissions quickly. The case, which set an important precedent for European countries, is expected to have a verdict by the end of the year.