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Lawsuits & Litigation

Greta Thunberg, Youth Activists File Climate Change Lawsuit in Sweden

— November 25, 2022

The lawsuit accuses the Swedish government of failing to implement a realistic and actionable plan to combat man-made climate change.

Greta Thunberg and hundreds of other young activists marched through the streets of Stockholm on Friday, protesting the Swedish government’s alleged inaction on climate change.

According to The Associated Press, Thunberg and at least 600 other young people signed an 87-page document that laid the foundations for a lawsuit filed in Stockholm District Court.

Collectively, the plaintiffs have asked the court to determine that Sweden has violated its citizens’ human rights by implementing ineffective policies to combat man-made climate change.

“Today on Black Friday is the perfect day to sue the state over its insufficient climate policies,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter. “So that’s what we did. See you in court!”

Anton Foley, a spokesperson for the youth advocacy organization Aurora, told The Associated Press that Sweden has never taken its role in climate change seriously.

Air pollution at sunrise; image by SD-Pictures, via Pixabay, CC0.
Air pollution at sunrise; image by SD-Pictures, via Pixabay, CC0.

“Sweden has never treated climate change like a crisis,” Foley said. “Sweden is failing in its responsibility and breaking the law.”

The lawsuit, notes The Associated Press, was filed shortly after climate scientists warned that humanity is losing its chance to limit the future repercussions of climate change.

If nations act now, researchers say, future warming could be limited to an increase of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit—a seemingly inconsequential figure, but one that could have massive implications for agriculture, the environment, and freshwater scarcity.

“Without any binding commitments to rapidly and immediately reduce greenhouse gases, the world stands no chance to deliver on the 1,5°C limit, and by doing so minimising risks of uprooting the life supporting systems we all depend on and endangering countless human lives,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

While Sweden has repeatedly vowed to become carbon neutral by 2045, activists say the country is doing far too little to mitigate the damage that has already been done.

Sweden, claims activist Ida Edling, “is pursuing a climate policy the research [suggests] is very clear will contribute to a climate disaster in the future.”

“If we win,” Edling said, “there will be a verdict that says the Swedish state is required to do its share of the global measures needed for the world to meet the 1.5-degree target.”

al-Jazeera notes that activists in other European countries have recently staged large-scale protests intended to compel their governments to take action.

In December 2019, for instance, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ordered the government to reduce emissions by at least 25% by 2020.

And, in France, an estimated two million citizens supported a lawsuit seeking to hold the state accountable for failing to implement any actionable climate change plan.

However, northern countries like Sweden have already begun experiencing the worrying signs of climate change: since the late 1800s, the Scandinavian nation’s average temperature has risen by nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit, twice the rate of the global average.

Sweden’s rising temperatures have already resulted in noticeable effects, with the country experiencing fewer snowy days and increased precipitation.


Greta Thunberg, 600 others sue Sweden for climate inaction

Greta Thunberg joins climate lawsuit against Sweden

Swedish activists sue state over its climate policies

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