A lawsuit brought by six young Portuguese citizens against 33 European countries for their perceived inaction has been validated by the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that such inaction has threatened their well being.
The young climate activists who brought the suit against the 33 nations – including the U.K., France, and Germany – range from just 8 to 21 years old. They allege that a lack of government spending on wide-ranging climate policies has put their futures in jeopardy.
One brother and sister in the suit – 12-year-old André Oliveira and 15-year-old Sofia Oliveira – said they were inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg and British television naturalist David Attenborough.
"Climate change is a matter that brings me much anxiety and fear, because I don't know if my generation is going to have the same life that this generation had," said André Oliveira.
Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a non-profit that specializes in representing human rights cases, is supporting the litigation, which now goes to each of the individual nations after the court's ruling. The 33 countries will have until the end of February to respond to the allegations, unless a settlement between each nation and the plaintiffs is reached before then.