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Just a sham victory for climate protection in Strasbourg?

In April 2021, the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVG) handed down a groundbreaking ruling for more climate protection: the Fridays for Future organisation and all German environmental associations had brought the case.

The main reason given by the BVG was that without more climate protection, the civil liberties of younger generations would be jeopardised. The grand coalition in Berlin at the time had to significantly tighten its climate protection targets by law in the same year. The highest German court had set a new standard for more climate protection. Great, right and important for the survival of mankind.
Climate protection is a human right

Now the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has also set a new standard for more climate protection. Around 2,000 “climate seniors” from Switzerland had filed a lawsuit.

The main reasoning: The Swiss government was jeopardising their health by not protecting the climate enough. And once again, the plaintiffs were proved right in court. The reasoning of the 17 judges in Strasbourg: climate protection is a human right. The media and those affected rejoiced and continue to rejoice.

But is it justified? Will and can the courts save us from the final climate catastrophe? I have some doubts about that.

At the same time, the court dismissed another climate lawsuit. It was brought by six young people from Portugal. Their claim was decidedly more far-reaching and was dismissed on the basis of an unconvincing, purely formal argument. This lawsuit was directed against 32 countries, including all 27 EU member states as well as Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, the UK and Russia. The young Portuguese wanted these 32 countries to be allowed to emit far fewer greenhouse gases than before.

The court’s unconvincing justification for its rejection was that the young people would first have to go through all instances in Portugal and only then at European level. Two questions: Is the climate crisis only a Swiss problem and only one for senior citizens, your judge in Strasbourg? The court did not even impose any conditions on the Swiss government. Despite all the joy about the Swiss judgement, it could very well be that it remains completely ineffective in practice.

This correct judgement also makes it clear that ultimately the courts alone cannot save us. The decisive course must be set by politicians, the economy and all of us. It’s great when the courts make their important contribution to this. SPIEGEL magazine has labelled the latest Strasbourg climate ruling a “sham victory”. The climate crisis does not stop at generations, nor does it recognise national borders. It is a question of our survival and therefore the biggest crisis of our century.

We will only solve it through a rapid and 100 per cent switch to renewable energies. For this we need a solar world revolution. It is the first real, peaceful and non-violent global revolution. The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions were neither peaceful, global nor non-violent. Only the solar age will bring the real turning point.


Franz Alt 2024 | Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator 

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