Swedish court accepts climate lawsuit against the state signed by Greta Thunberg
A court in Sweden agreed on 21 March to hear a class action climate lawsuit brought against the state. The lawsuit accuses the Swedish state of inaction on climate breakdown.
Six hundred young people including activist Greta Thunberg, under the group name Aurora, originally filed the lawsuit in November 2022. It demanded the state take action to limit climate-heating greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5C and examine just how far it could reduce them within the limits of what is “technically and economically feasible in Sweden”. This included an annual reduction in carbon emissions of between 6.5 to 9.4m tonnes, backdated to 2019. It is the first lawsuit of its kind in the country.
The filing was preceded by a march through capital city Stockholm.
Not the first climate lawsuit
The Nacka district court said it had given the state three months to respond to the lawsuit. Following that, the case will either go to trial or be handled through written procedure, depending on the pleas of those involved. The court stated:
At present, the district court cannot give a forecast as to when the case may be finalised or when it may be necessary to hold hearings in the case
Other, similar cases have taken years to reach a conclusion. In December 2019, the Dutch supreme court ordered the government to slash greenhouse gases by at least 25% by 2020. The decision came after a climate action group Urgenda filed a lawsuit in 2015. And, in 2018 more than two million citizens took the French state to court for failing to act against climate change. As a result, the Administrative Court of Paris recognised that the French state’s inaction had led to climate-related ecological damage. However, this didn’t come through until February 2021.
Signatory Thunberg denounced an “unprecedented betrayal” from those in power on 20 March. She tweeted the accusation after the UN‘s climate panel warned the world will cross the key 1.5C global warming limit in about a decade. Thunberg accused them of living in “denial”.
In an open letter to the Swedish government Aurora said:
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.
Featured image via NBC News/YouTube
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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