Activist Greta Thunberg, Hundreds of Students File Lawsuit Against Sweden For ‘Climate’ Policies

Image Flickr European Parliament

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is known for pressing world leaders to take immediate action to combat climate change. She was among hundreds of activists marching through Stockholm to a court to file a legal claim against the government for what they claim is inadequate climate action. More than 600 people under the age of 26 signed the 87-page document that serves as the foundation for the claim, which was filed in Stockholm District Court. They want the court to rule that the country’s climate policies have violated the human rights of its citizens.

This comes on the heels of a high-profile case in the Netherlands, in which the country’s highest court ruled in 2019 that the government had a legal obligation to take action to combat global warming. Thunberg, possibly the world’s most well-known climate activist, is among more than 600 people who claim that Sweden’s climate policies violate the country’s constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sweden fails to meet the constitutional requirement of promoting sustainable development that results in a good environment for present and future generations, the group said in a statement. Sweden passed a climate law in 2017 that requires the government to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a net-zero target by 2045.

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are critical to meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. However, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February triggered a rush for energy, delaying efforts, and this year’s UN-sponsored climate talks in Egypt failed to raise ambitions. Thunberg stated in an interview with the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that she believes climate laws should be tightened.

According to her there were no laws that provide long-term protection from the consequences of climate and environmental crises but people must use the methods that are at their disposal and do everything possible.

The lawsuit, which has been in the works for two years, comes as the new Swedish government’s climate change policies are being scrutinized. The cabinet, which took office following September elections, has announced plans to abolish the environment ministry entirely. Its budget for 2023 has been chastised for including measures that are expected to increase emissions from the transportation sector.

The lawsuit, filed in Stockholm on Friday, asks the court to order the government to do its “fair share” of global measures to keep greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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