The effects of climate change can already be felt today – from Fiji to Langeoog. Ten families from Europe as well as from developing and emerging countries, whose livelihoods are put at risk by climate change, are taking the European Union to court. The accusation: The EU climate targets for 2030 do not provide the necessary contribution to averting dangerous consequences of climate change and violate the fundamental rights of the plaintiffs.

These people will are already affected directly by climate change and future generations will be even more affected if no action is taken now.

Therefore Protect the Planet supports the complaints of the families concerned before the European court – together with our NGO partners of the Climate Action Network Europe, of Germanwatch and numerous further NOGs all over Europe. Because climate protection is a human right!

Further information can be found here.

Our legal action is against the weak climate change goals of the EU and the inadequate rules for implementation of them. The plaintiffs want climate goals that will protect them, as climate change is already causing damage to their homes and livelihoods and that will become even more drastic in the future. In particular it is about their basic human rights to life and health, the wellbeing of their children, their right to property and the freedom to earn a living. The plaintiffs are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as lack of water, flooding, retreating glaciers, drought and heatwaves.

The European Parliament and European Council have resolved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030.

But these EU goals are inadequate because they allow the continued emission of 60% of greenhouse gases – with increasingly devastating effects on human life and the natural environment. Given the urgent necessity to prevent further climate change, this is simply unacceptable.

Affected children and their families from all over the world are suing the European Court to improve climate protection. The families are represented by the law professor Dr. Gerd Winter from Bremen, the Hamburg-based environmental lawyer Dr. Roda Verheyen and the London lawyer Hugo Leith. The families appearing as plaintiffs suffer already today from the harmful effects – in particular for: 

• their health and their lives
• their professional lives, e.g. in agriculture and tourism
• their ownership of houses and land

The families filing the complaint live in various European countries, Kenya and Fiji. They live on the frontlines of the climate crisis, namely in regions with climate change impacts, such as:

• extreme heat waves and extremely long periods of drought
• floods caused by rising sea levels, extreme precipitation and storms
• melting of glaciers and snow
• strong changes in flora and fauna

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PLAINTIFFS

The lawsuit was filed on 24 May 2018 at the European Court (EuG) against the inadequate EU directives regulating climate-damaging emissions. The claim was served on the defendants, published in the Official Journal in mid-August 2018 and approved by the European Court.

In October 2018, both the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers called for the motion to be dismissed for inadmissibility. In May 2019, the European Court dismissed the action (by order of 8 May 2019) as inadmissible. The plaintiffs appealed jointly. In the appeal, their lawyers oppose the narrow interpretation of the court with regard to the direct and individual concern.

In the next two months, the defendant EU Parliament and the Council of the EU will have the opportunity to react to the appeal – after which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will decide on the admissibility of the action.

Should the European Court of Justice contradict the ruling of the European Court and affirm the admissibility, the proceedings will be referred back to the European Court for further hearing and the main proceedings will be continued with regard to the necessity and feasibility of higher climate objectives in the EU.

( MEDIA LIBRARY )

Videos of the climate lawsuit

Introduction to the climate lawsuit

Video of the plaintiff: Maurice Feschet from France

Video of the plaintiff: Alfredo Sendin from Portugal

Video of the plaintiff: Ildebrando Conceição from Portugal

Video of the plaintiff: Armando Carvalho from Portugal

Video of the plaintiff: Giorgio Elter from Italy

Video of the plaintiff: Petru Vlad from Romania

Video from the plaintiff: Family Recktenwald from Germany

Video of the plaintiff: Sáminuorra Youth Association from Sweden

Video of the plaintiff: Family Guyo from Kenya

Dear Readers,

Protecting the environment and combatting climate change are issues for all of us! We cannot have a positive influence on the future of our planet unless we accept this responsibility. It is not a matter of party political interests but about the survival of the human race, and this should make it the top priority. Politicians who do not have the courage to push the important changes through for us and generations to come are failing to do their job as our representatives of the people. Protect the Planet is supporting the legal action with financial and non-material means to give the plaintiffs a voice and exert pressure on politicians to take urgent action.

As the mother of two children, it is my natural instinct to do everything humanly possible to ensure our children and grandchildren have a future on a planet worth living in.

The earth’s temperature has already increased by 1.3° Celsius and we are now experiencing catastrophic storms, heatwaves and forest fires. What will that be like when global warming reaches 3° or 4° Celsius, which is what we are heading towards if we do not meet the climate change goals essential to human survival.

The time for spin doctoring is over. We have to act. And we must do so now!

Sincerely,

Dorothea Sick-Thies

What can I personally do?

The climate case being taken before the European Court deserves the greatest possible attention and support. So tell your all friends and relatives about this legal action.

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The non-profit company Protect the Planet was founded by Dorothea Sick-Thies, film maker Carl-A. Fechner and networker Markus Gohr. Our understanding of climate change mitigation therefore extends from philanthropic principles to practical steps – we are taking action to combat climate change.

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