EIT jätti kaksi ilmastovalitusta tutkimatta ilmeisen perusteettomina – kolmannessa todettiin yksityis- ja perhe-elämän rikkominen ja tuomoistuimeen pääsyn estäminen

9.4.2024 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

The Court has declared inadmissible the applications lodged against Portugal and 32 other States on the issue of climate change In its decision in the case of Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Others (application no. 39371/20), the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application  inadmissible.

The applicants, six young Portuguese nationals, complained of the existing, and serious future, impacts of climate change. They submitted that Portugal was already experiencing a range of climate-change impacts, including increases in mean temperatures and extreme heat, which was a major driver of wildfires. They relied on various Convention Articles, international instruments such as the 2015 Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and general reports and expert findings concerning the harm caused by climate change.
In the applicants’ view, Portugal and the 32 other respondent States bore responsibility for the situation in issue. They submitted that they were currently exposed to a risk of harm from climate change, and that the risk was set to increase significantly over the course of their lifetimes. They argued that their generation was particularly affected by climate change and that, given their ages, the interference with their rights was more marked than in the case of previous generations.
As concerned the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the respondent States other than Portugal, the Court found that there were no grounds in the Convention for the extension, by way of judicial interpretation, of their extraterritorial jurisdiction in the manner requested by the applicants. It followed that territorial jurisdiction was established in respect of Portugal, whereas no jurisdiction could be established as regards the other respondent States. The applicants’ complaint against the other respondent States had therefore to be declared inadmissible pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
Having regard to the fact that the applicants had not pursued any legal avenue in Portugal concerning their complaints, the applicants’ complaint against Portugal was also inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
The decision is final.

The Court has declared inadmissible the application from the former mayor of the Grande-Synthe municipality, on the ground that he did not have victim status within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention

In its decision in the case of Carême v. France (application no. 7189/21) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible.
The case concerned the complaint of the applicant, former resident and mayor of the Grande-Synthe municipality, that France had taken insufficient steps to prevent climate change and that this failure entailed a violation of his right to life and his right to respect for his private and family life and his home.
Having regard to the fact that the applicant had no relevant links with Grande-Synthe and that, moreover, he did not currently live in France, the Court considered that for the purposes of any potentially relevant aspect of Article 2 (right to life) or Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life or home) he could not claim to have victim status under Article 34 of the Convention, and that was true irrespective of the status he invoked, namely that of a citizen or former resident of Grande-Synthe.
The decision is final

Violations of the European Convention for failing to implement sufficient measures to combat climate change

In today’s Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland (application no. 53600/20) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority of sixteen votes to one, that there had been:
  • a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

and, unanimously, that there had been:

  • a violation of Article 6 § 1 (access to court).
The case concerned a complaint by four women and a Swiss association, Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz, whose members are all older women concerned about the consequences of global warming on their living conditions and health. They consider that the Swiss authorities are not taking sufficient action, despite their duties under the Convention, to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The Court found that Article 8 of the Convention encompasses a right to effective protection by the State authorities from the serious adverse effects of climate change on lives, health, well-being and quality of life.
However, it held that the four individual applicants did not fulfil the victim-status criteria under Article 34 of the Convention and declared their complaints inadmissible. The applicant association, in contrast, had the right (locus standi) to bring a complaint regarding the threats arising from climate change in the respondent State on behalf of those individuals who could arguably claim to be subject to specific threats or adverse effects of climate change on their life, health, well-being and quality of life as protected under the Convention.
The Court found that the Swiss Confederation had failed to comply with its duties (“positive obligations”) under the Convention concerning climate change. There had been critical gaps in the process of putting in place the relevant domestic regulatory framework, including a failure by the Swiss authorities to quantify, through a carbon budget or otherwise, national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limitations. Switzerland had also failed to meet its past GHG emission reduction targets.
While recognising that national authorities enjoy wide discretion in relation to implementation of legislation and measures, the Court held, on the basis of the material before it, that the Swiss authorities had not acted in time and in an appropriate way to devise, develop and implement relevant legislation and measures in this case.
In addition, the Court found that Article 6 § 1 of the Convention applied to the applicant association’s complaint concerning effective implementation of the mitigation measures under existing domestic law. The Court held that the Swiss courts had not provided convincing reasons as to why they had considered it unnecessary to examine the merits of the applicant association’s complaints. They had failed to take into consideration the compelling scientific evidence concerning climate change and had not taken the complaints seriously.


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