Children and young people Climate activists and human rights defenders Domestic court European Convention on Human Rights Fossil fuel extraction Private and family life Right to life Standing/admissibility Sweden Uncategorized

PUSH Sweden, Nature and Youth Sweden and Others v. Government of Sweden (Magnolia Case)

In June 2016, the Swedish government approved the request from state-owned energy company Vattenfall to sell its lignite assets to the German subsidiary of a Czech holding company. The deal included some of Germany’s largest coal mines, whose annual emissions total around 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. In September 2016, two youth environmental NGOs, PUSH Sweden and Nature and Youth Sweden (Fältbiologerna), together with 176 individuals, filed a claim against the Government of Sweden. According to the Plaintiffs, the sale of the lignite assets would enable the expanded exploitation of lignite coal assets and contribute to an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The sale would give the Czech holding company the opportunity to expand the lignite operations, which in turn would lead to increased emissions which, although the emissions were generated in Germany, would affect Swedish territory.

Claims made:
The Plainiffs argued that the State’s sale of coal-fired power plants violated the sustainability statement in Chapter 1, Section 2, paragraph 3 of the Swedish Constitution, as well as the right to life and the right to respect for private and family life under Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They requested the Stockholm District Court to find that the Swedish State has breached its duty of care with the sale of Vattenfall’s lignite operations, and that the sale is illegal.

The Stockholm District Court found that the Plaintiffs had not suffered any damage from the Swedish government’s decisions to permit Vattenfall to sell its lignite assets. It held that the mere risk of damage cannot be a basis for liability for damages and that the ECHR did not apply because the Plaintiffs could not prove damage correlating to the sale of Vattenfall’s lignite assets. Therefore, the Stockholm District Court dismissed the Plaintiffs’ requests.

Date filed:
15 September 2016

Date of Judgement:
30 June 2017

More information:
An unofficial translation of the application is available via Climate Case Chart.

Suggested citation:
Stockholm District Court, PUSH Sweden, Nature and Youth Sweden and Others v. Government of Sweden, case T 11594-16, Judgment of 30 June 2017.

2022 Children and young people Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation European Convention on Human Rights Non-discrimination Private and family life Right to life Right to property Sweden Uncategorized

Anton Foley and others v. Sweden (Aurora Case)

On 25 November 2022, a group of over 600 young people born between 1996 and 2015 filed a class action lawsuit against the Swedish State in the Nacka District Court (Nacka tingsrätt). According to the Plaintiffs, the Swedish State is failing to do its fair share to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration in the atmosphere to keep warming below 1.5°C as compared to pre-industrial levels, by not undertaking immediate and adequate procedural and substantive measures to continuously reduce GHG emissions and enhance GHG sinks, thus failing to adequately protect the plaintiffs from adverse impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, the Plaintiffs claim that this constitutes a violation of their rights to life, private and family life, and non-discrimination under Articles 2, 8, and 14 of the ECHR, and their right to property under Article 1, Protocol 1 of the ECHR.

The Plaintiffs request the Nacka District Court to order the Swedish State to do its fair share in reducing GHG emissions to keep global warming below 1.5°C. The Swedish State should be required to take sufficient and adequate measures to ensure that emissions are continuously reduced and that GHG are absorbed through natural carbon sinks to limit the risk of adverse impacts of climate change on them.

On 31 March 2023, the Nacka District Court invited the Swedish State to file its response to the Plaintiffs’ application. On 21 June 2023, the Swedish State filed its response with the Nacka District Court, requesting that the case be dismissed. The Court then invited the Plaintiffs to submit their comments on the request for dismissal no later than 28 August 2023.

Date filed:
25 November 2022

Status of case:

More information:
The Plaintiffs’ summons application is available via the Climate Case Chart.

Suggested citations:
Nacka District Court, Anton Foley and others v. Sweden, case T 8304-22.

Last updated:
16 August 2023

2022 Brazil Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Paris Agreement Right to a healthy environment

PSB et al. v. Brazil (Climate Fund)


On 5 June 2020, four Brazilian political parties (Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB), Partido Socialismo e Liberdade, Partido dos Trabalhadores and Rede Sustentabilidade) filed a direct action of unconstitutionality for omission before the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (“Court”) related to the National Fund on Climate Change (“Climate Fund”) (case ADPF 708).

The Climate Fund was established in 2009 to direct its annually authorized budget to Brazilian projects that address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change and its effects.

The plaintiffs claimed that the Brazilian Federal Administration kept the Climate Fund inoperative during 2019 and 2020. According to the plaintiffs, the Brazilian government’s inaction regarding the Climate Fund is a violation of its constitutional and international legal environmental obligations.

Based on the constitutional right to a healthy environment, the plaintiffs requested the Court to declare the unconstitutionality of the Brazilian government’s omissions and to issue an injunction compelling the government to actualize the Climate Fund by resuming operations and reactivating its institutional governance of the Fund.

By its decision dated 4 July 2022, the majority of the Court (10 out of 11 judges) granted the plaintiffs’ application. The Court recognized the government’s failure to fully allocate the Climate Fund’s resources for 2019. It ordered the Federal Administration not to neglect the Climate Fund again and determined that the resources from the Climate Fund cannot be withheld.

The Court based its decision on the constitutional duty to protect the environment (Art. 225 of the Federal Constitution), the rights and international obligations assumed by Brazil, and the constitutional principle of separation of powers. Judge Luís Roberto Barroso noted that treaties on environmental law constitute “a species of the genus human rights treaties” and, for this reason, enjoy supranational status.

The Court’s decision attracted attention as it was the first time that the country’s highest court addressed the issue of climate change.

Date of decision:

4 July 2022

Case documents:

More information:

  • For further procedural information, visit Supremo Tribunal Federal.
  • For Prof. Ingo Wolfgang Sarlet’s and Tiago Fensterseifer’s comment on the decision, click here.
  • For Dr. Maria Antonia Tigre’s interpretation of the decision, click here.
  • For more case documents, such as an English translation of the decision, visit Climate Case Chart.

Suggested citation:

Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, PSB et al. v. Brazil, case ADPF 708, decision of 4 July 2022.

Last updated:

17 April 2023.

2021 Access to a remedy Elderly Emissions reductions/mitigation European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights Fossil fuel extraction Norway Private and family life Prohibition of torture Right to life

The Norwegian Grandparents’ Climate Campaign and Others v. Norway

This case was filed on 26 March 2021 by The Norwegian Grandparents’ Climate Campaign (or Besteforeldrenes klimaaksjon, see the NGO’s website here, which counted 5600 members at the time and aims to counter anthropogenic climate change) along with four individuals, who were then aged 29, 32, 80, and 9 months. According to the Court’s press release, the case relates to the same domestic proceedings as the subject of Greenpeace Nordic and Others v. Norway (no. 34068/21). Before the Court, the applicants invoke Articles 2, 3, 8, 13 and 14 ECHR and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention (the right to life, the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to an effective remedy, the prohibition of discrimination and the right to property). They rights, they argue, have been infringed by the Norwegian authorities’ petroleum activities in the Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean. They describe, in particular, the disastrous effects of rising temperature levels on Norway, invoking the prevention and precautionary principles, inter-generational equity and Norway’s duty of care.

The applicants argue that there is a “real and imminent threat” facing them as Norwegian oil production contributes to the reaching of tipping points in the global climate system. On the Court’s victim status requirements (standing), they argue that these criteria must be interpreted in harmony with the priniciple of inter-generational equity, and invoke both the Rio Declaration and the Paris Agreement to argue that current generations have a duty to act as stewards of the planet for future generations.

This case has not yet been communicated by the Court at the time of writing. It had been announced, however, that the case has been adjourned pending the outcome of Grand Chamber proceedings in three other climate cases (i.e. KlimaSeniorinnen, Duarte Agostinho, and Carême; see “Status of case” below). More information on the case will be published as it becomes available.

Date filed:
26 March 2021

Status of case:
Adjourned until the Grand Chamber has ruled in the climate change cases pending before it (see the ECtHR’s press release here).

Suggested case citation:
ECtHR, The Norwegian Grandparents’ Climate Campaign and Others v. Norway, application no. 19026/21, filed on 26 March 2021 (not yet communicated).

More information:
For the NGO’s press release on the application (in Norwegian), click here.

For further information on the domestic proceedings, see Greenpeace Nordic and Others v. Norway (no. 34068/21).

For the full standardized application form submitted to the ECtHR, see here.

Last updated:
16 March 2023.