A Swedish court has given Greta Thunberg and hundreds of other climate activists the go-ahead to proceed with a class action lawsuit against the Swedish government for “insufficient climate policy”.
Thunberg and 600 other young activists in a group called Aurora sued the Swedish state in November, claiming it had to do more to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) in order to live up to the European Convention on Human Rights.
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On Tuesday, Nacka District Court said the lawsuit could go ahead after the group made adjustments to the claim.
“The district court has today issued a summons in a high-profile class action lawsuit,” the court said in a statement. “In the case, demands have been made for the district court to determine that the state has an obligation to take certain specified measures to limit climate change.”
The Swedish state has three months to respond to the lawsuit before the case could be heard or settled in writing, the district court said, adding it could not say when the suit might be decided.
Aurora wants the court to decide that Sweden needs to cut emissions by at least 6.5 to 9.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year, starting from 2019.
“The health and future of the planet, and that of ours, is directly dependent on whether or not our politicians recognize the seriousness of the climate crisis, and so Aurora wants to do everything we can to get you to do so,” the group said in an open letter to the Swedish government last year.
‘Choices we make now’
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the “climate time bomb is ticking” as he urged rich nations to slash emissions sooner after a new assessment from UN scientists said there was little time to lose in tackling climate change.
“This report offers hope and it provides a warning,” chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Hoesung Lee said. “The choices we make now and in the next few years will reverberate around the world for hundreds, even thousands, of years.”
Alex Rafalowicz, executive director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, said the only way to prevent the “worst-case climate change scenarios” is to immediately constrain hydrocarbon production.
“The coal, oil and gas we already have under production will blow us past our climate goals,” he said.
“The summary for policymakers is simple: stop new fossil fuel projects, phase down existing polluting projects, put renewable energy access into hyperdrive. The science is unequivocal, the problem is the lack of political will that prevents us from acting boldly to reverse this crisis.”