A group of Swiss pensioners were taking their government to a top European court over what they claim is its failure to take stronger action on climate change.
Lawyers and members of the group Senior Women for Climate Protection appeared before the European Court of Human Rights for a rare public hearing that activists say could mark a legal milestone in legal efforts to force governments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
They were cheered by supporters and the environmental group Greenpeace who rallied outside the court.
“It’s been proved that we older women are particularly sensitive (to climate change),” plaintiff Rosmarie Wydler-Waelti, 73, from Basel said.
“We get sick a little bit faster due to heatwaves than older men or other groups.”
After exhausting domestic legal avenues, the group has taken its case to the Strasbourg, France-based tribunal in the hopes of setting a precedent that will apply to all signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“We are suing for our human right to life,” Lore Zablonier, a 78-year-old from Zurich who stood outside the court with supporters and the environmental group Greenpeace, said.
“With this case, we want to help spur politicians into action a little bit.”
A verdict is expected next year.