Switzerland’s Supreme Court denied an appeal on Wednesday by the Senior Women for Climate Protection, finding that it is too early to claim fundamental rights violations based on climate change.
The Senior Women for Climate Protection alleged that Switzerland’s government was failing to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in a way that would correspond with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2ºC. The women further alleged that their demographic group would suffer from heat waves caused by climate change.
Based on these allegations, the women claimed that through their inaction, Switzerland’s government was violating articles 10 (right to life), 73 (sustainability principle), and 74 (precautionary principles of the Swiss Constitution, as well as articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Switzerland’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that citizens cannot claim fundamental rights violations based on governmental failure to adequately address climate change until after 2ºC of global warming above pre-industrial levels has occurred. Many climate activists worry that if that level of warming occurs, it will be too late to prevent the destruction of many ecosystems and the lives of many people that are vulnerable to climate change.
Due to the denial of their appeal, the Senior Women for Climate Protection are now considering bringing their claim to the European Court of Human Rights.