In what is now an unprecedented case, the European Court of Human Rights allowed six young Portuguese to file lawsuits against 33 European nations. The youth group ranging between ages 8 to 21 formally lodged legal complaints as a way of formalizing their demand, for governments to step up with their initiatives and actions in subduing planet-warming, greenhouse gas emissions.
The group argued that the government’s incompetence concerning the issue endangers their future. According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), they are allowing the climate litigation lawsuits to proceed against France, UK, Germany, and Greece. The 33 countries named in the lawsuits are given up to February 2021 to respond, or to negotiate an amicable settlement with the group of young Portuguese nationals.
Significance of the Young Plaintiffs’ Success in Hurdling the First Step to a Lawsuit
Representatives of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a nonprofit network and a major supporter of the young plaintiffs, said that while most of the cases have been filed in Strasbourg, France, not a single complaint proceeded to the next stage after the lawsuit was filed in court.
In an interview by NBC News, Gerry Liston, a legal officer at GLAN, remarked that while this development is significant in advancing the battle to reduce global carbon emissions, it is only part of the concerted global effort in getting countries to implement serious efforts in reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide.
Liston said that the youth group’s grassroots movement empowers them to take part in the climate litigation action. They are doing their best in pressuring the governments, especially now that the level of existential crisis confronting people throughout the world, has been escalating. So far, the 6 Portuguese youths, namely: Mariana Agostinho (8),André Oliveira (12),Sofia Oliveira (15), Martim Agostinho (17), Catarina Mota (20) and
Cláudia Agostinho (21), have raised more than $17,000 that allowed them to pay legal fees.