Climate change is increasingly a battleground. In the past, we had scientists versus negationists and corporations. From now on, it will be citizens against governments.

In 2016, 40 brave women in their sixties voiced their concerns about the Swiss government’s lack of efforts to combat climate change. Initially overlooked, they took a bold step and sued the state for its inadequate climate policy. Their numbers grew steadily, and today, this group of determined activists, called ‘KlimaSeniorinnen’, includes nearly 2300 ladies.

Very little separates them from Greta Thunberg. Only age. It’s no coincidence that in both cases, the ‘climate revolt’ started with women who did not accept the status quo. These are the persons who move society two steps forward.

Their legal action was met with scepticism, but they were undeterred. In 2020, the national Federal Supreme Court dismissed the case, and they resolved to take their fight to the European Court in Strasbourg. After four more years of perseverance, all the efforts were rewarded in April 2024, when the Court found that ‘Switzerland failed to comply with its positive obligations under the Convention on Human Rights concerning climate change.’ This landmark ruling is a beacon of hope for climate activists worldwide.

Now, we know that the convention’s signatories have the duty to take all the necessary measures to shield their citizens from extreme weather consequences. Climate change science is rarely disputed anymore. This is evidenced by various observations of changes occurring in our natural world. And you do not even need a scientist to support the argument.

This is a decision that will make history and jurisprudence. The European Convention on Human Rights was signed by 46 countries. The impact of this ruling goes far beyond Switzerland, as it sets a precedent for all those countries.

Others will follow. There are already a few other pending climate change cases in Strasbourg. The “KlimaSeniorinnen” verdict is likely to be for the climate that the historic Bosman ruling was for football—a game-changer.

Gianni Serra

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    By: ONE Editor

    Italian professional journalist. ONE Editor in Chief and Sotacarbo Director of Communications and International Relations.

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