Swiss lawmakers have rejected a landmark climate ruling from the European court of human rights, raising fears that other polluting countries may follow suit.

A panel of Strasbourg judges ruled in April that Switzerland had violated the human rights of older women through weak climate policies that leave them more vulnerable to heatwaves. Activists hailed the judgment as a breakthrough because it leaves all members of the Council of Europe vulnerable to legal challenges for sluggish efforts to clean up carbon-intensive economies.

But the Swiss parliament’s lower house voted on Wednesday to disregard the ruling – with 111 votes in favour and 72 against – arguing that the judges had overstepped their bounds and that Switzerland had done enough. The declaration, which has been adopted by the upper house but does not bind the federal government, accused the court of “inadmissible and disproportionate judicial activism”.

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    1 month ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    Swiss politicians have rejected a landmark climate ruling from the European court of human rights, raising fears that other polluting countries may follow suit.

    A panel of Strasbourg judges ruled in April that Switzerland had violated the human rights of older women through weak climate policies that leave them more vulnerable to heatwaves.

    Activists hailed the judgment as a breakthrough because it leaves all members of the Council of Europe exposed to legal challenges for sluggish efforts to clean up carbon-intensive economies.

    “This is terrible from a rule-of-law perspective,” said Corina Heri, a law researcher at the University of Zürich, adding that “the whole system would fall apart” if lots of states started to pick and choose which rulings they complied with.

    Scientists have found that older women die at higher rates during heatwaves, which have grown hotter, longer and more common as people have pumped out pollutants that trap sunlight.

    Ahead of the debate, the KlimaSeniorinnen and Greenpeace submitted a petition with 22,000 signatures urging politicians to recognise that human rights are the basis of democracy and should be independent of political majorities.


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