Austria Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation European Convention on Human Rights Farming Fossil fuel extraction Imminent risk Margin of appreciation Right to life

Jasansky and Others v. Austria

On 10 November 2023, it was reported that a climate-related application had been filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against Austria. The case is brought on behalf of four Austrian nationals — Monika Jasansky, Peter Fliegenschnee, Friedrich Pichler, and Klara Butz –along with the NGO Global 2000.

The application contests Austrian inaction in terms of mitigation measures, and argues that the individual applicants — who have been described, respectively, as an organic farmer, a retiree, a mayor, and a climate activist — have been adversely affected by extreme weather events aggravated by climate change, namely droughts, heatwaves and mudslides. The applicants allege a violation of the State’s positive obligation to protect the right to life in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Domestic proceedings:
The applicants contest a finding from the Austrian Constitutional Court, made in July 2023, which recognized the state’s duty to actively take effective measures to protect life and health as well as to protect private life and property, but accorded the government a wide margin of discretion and found that fundamental and human rights do not allow for claims to a specific measure (here the applicants petitioned the domestic courts to order legislators to set binding expiry dates for the permissibility of the sale of fossil fuels in 2040). Rather, the domestic court found that the legislature must be allowed to choose between the various available measures to meet the State’s protective obligations.

Suggested citation:
European Court of Human Rights, Jasansky and Others v. Austria, pending case, filed November 2023.

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.

2023 Children and young people Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Evidence Fossil fuel extraction Human dignity Indigenous peoples' rights Right to a healthy environment Right to health Standing/admissibility United States of America

Held and Others v. Montana

In Held and Others, sixteen young plaintiffs aged between two and eighteen brought a case against the U.S. state of Montana alleging violations of the state constitution due to climate change. The youth plaintiffs in this case, which is to some extent comparable to the Juliana litigation, alleged that they are already experiencing ‘a host of adverse consequences’ from anthropogenic climate change in Montana, including increased temperatures, changing weather patterns, more acute droughts and extreme weather events, increasing wildfires and glacial melt. Fossil fuels extracted in Montana cause emissions higher than those of many countries, including Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Spain, or the United Kingdom. The plaintiffs argued that this was causing health risks, especially for children, and that the defendants, among them the state of Montana, its Governor, and various state agencies, had “act[ed] affirmatively to exacerbate the climate crisis” despite their awareness of the risks to the applicants. On 14 August 2023, Judge Kathy Seeley ruled wholly in favor of the youth plaintiffs, declaring that Montana had violated their constitutional rights and invalidating the statutory rule forbidding state authorities from considering the impacts of GHG emissions or climate change in decision-making related to fossil fuel extraction.

Claims made:
The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of fossil fuel-based provisions of Montana’s State Energy Policy Act along with a provision of the Montana Environmental Policy Act which forbids state authorities from considering the impacts of GHG emissions or climate change in their environmental reviews (the “MEPA Limitation”). They also challenged the aggregate acts that the state has taken to implement and perpetuate a fossil fuel-based energy system under these statutes.

The plaintiffs sought a declaration that their right to a clean and healthy environment includes a right a stable climate, and that existing approaches to greenhouse gas emissions in Montana violate constitutional provisions, including the right to a clean and healthy environment; the right to seek safety, health, and happiness; and the right to individual dignity and to equal protection. They also sought injunctive relief, namely an order to account for Montana’s greenhouse gas emissions and to develop and implement an emissions reductions plan.

Decision on the admissibility:
On 4 August 2021, a the Montana First Judicial District Court for Lewis and Clark County declared the case admissible in part. The prayer for injunctive relief in terms of emissions accounting, a remedial plan or policy, the appointment of expert to assist the court, and retain jurisdiction until such orders are complied with were rejected. However, the court declared the constitutional rights claims admissible, including the claim about the plaintiffs’ ‘fundamental constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment’, which — as the plaintiffs submitted — ‘includes a stable climate system that sustains human lives and liberties’.

Judge Seeley’s Ruling of 14 August 2023:
After a trial held from 12-23 June 2023, Judge Kathy Seeley of the First Judicial District Court of Montana issued a ruling in this case on 14 August 2023. Noting that “[t]he science is clear that there are catastrophic harms to the natural environment of Montana and Plaintiffs and future generations of the State due to anthropogenic climate change”, she ruled wholly in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring that the state of Montana had violated their constitutional rights to equal protection, dignity, liberty, health and safety, and public trust, all of which are predicated on their right to a clean and healthful environment (p. 92-93).

In doing so, Judge Seeley ruled that the youth plaintiffs had standing to bring the case because they had proven that they had experienced significant injuries. The court set out the different impacts on the plaintiffs at length (p. 46-64). It ultimately found that the plaintiffs “have experienced past and ongoing injuries resulting from the State’s failure to consider GHGs and climate change, including injuries to their physical and mental health, homes and property, recreational, spiritual, and aesthetic interests, tribal and cultural traditions, economic security, and happiness” (p. 86 of the ruling). The judge also ruled that while mental health injuries based on state inaction on climate change do not on their own constitute a cognizable injury, “mental health injuries stemming from the effects of climate change on Montana’s environment, feelings like loss, despair, and anxiety, are cognizable injuries” (p. 86-87). The ruling recognizes that “[e]very additional ton of GHG emissions exacerbates Plaintiffs’ injuries and risks locking in irreversible climate injuries”, and that these injuries “will grow increasingly severe and irreversible without science-based actions to address climate change” (p. 87). As children and youth, the plaintiffs are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts, and their injuries are “concrete, particularized, and distinguishable from the public generally” (p. 87).

On causation, and having heard and evaluated testimony from several expert witnesses, the Court extensively reviewed the scientific evidence concerning the causation and progression of anthropogenic climate change and identified the Earth’s energy imbalance as the critical metric for determining levels of global warming (p. 22). Having established that “Montana is a major emitter of GHG emissions in the world in absolute terms, in per person terms, and historically”, and noting the state government’s continuing approval of fossil fuel projects despite its already extensive production of oil, gas and coal, the Court found that there was a “fairly traceable connection” between Montana’s statutes, its GHG emissions, climate change, and the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs (p. 87). Noting that the state government had the authority to limit fossil fuel-related activities, and having regard to the fact that the MEPA Limitation causes the state to ignore climate impacts and renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels, as well as noting the economic and environmental advantages of a green energy transition for Montana, the Court noted that “current barriers to implementing renewable energy systems are not technical or economic, but social and political” (p. 83). The state of Montana, it held, “authorizes fossil fuel activities without analyzing GHGs or climate impacts, which result in GHG emissions in Montana and abroad that have caused and continue to exacerbate anthropogenic climate change” (p. 88). It noted also that these emissions were “nationally and globally significant”, and could accordingly not be considered de minimis; they “can be measured incrementally and cumulatively both in terms of immediate local effects and by mixing in the atmosphere and contributing to global climate change and an already destabilized climate system” (p. 88).

On the redressability of these impacts, the Court noted that the psychological satisfaction of the ruling itself did not constitute sufficient redress, and that declaring the relevant state statutory rules unconstitutional would provide partial redress because ongoing emissions will continue to cause harms to the plaintiffs. Noting that “[i]t is possible to affect future degradation to Montana’s environment and natural resources and injuries to these Plaintiffs”, and applying strict structiny to the state’s statutes, the Court found that the MEPA Limitation violates the right to a clean and healthful environment under the Montana Constitution, which protects children and future generations (among others) and includes the protection of the climate system. As a result, the Court tested whether the MEPA Limitation was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest, finding that neither had the state authorities shown that it served a compelling governmental interest, nor was it narrowly tailored to serve any interest.

As a result, the judge invalidated the Montana legislation that promoted fossil fuels and prohibited analysis of GHG emissions and corresponding climate impacts.

Date filed:
13 March 2020

Date of admissibility decision:
4 August 2021

Date of Ruling:
14 August 2023

More information:
The original complaint is available from the Western Environmental Law Center.

The admissibility decision is available on

Judge Seeley’s findings of fact, conclusions of law and order of 14 August 2023 are available below.

Suggested citations:
Montana First District Court for Lewis and Clark county, Held and others v. State of Montana and others, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, 14 August 2023, Cause no. CDV-2020-307.

Australia Children and young people Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Fossil fuel extraction Indigenous peoples rights Non-discrimination Private and family life Right to life Right to property

Waratah Coal Pty Ltd v. Youth Verdict Ltd & Ors


The case concerns the applications by Waratah Coal Pty Ltd. (WC) for a ‘mining license’ and an ‘environmental authority’ under the Australian mining regulation and environmental protection legislation. These would allow it to mine coal in areas of the Galilee Basin, including parts of a protected area under the nature conservation law.  

The case reached the Land Court of Queensland on account of objections by environmental groups to WC’s applications. The Land Court of Queensland’s role was to provide a recommendation to the governmental authorities responsible for deciding on the applications after reviewing their merits (considering the compatibility of the proposed project with the environmental laws in Australia). However, the Court also found that the human rights implications of the coal mining project were relevant. The justification for this was that the court was directly bound by the Human Rights Act 2019 to not make a decision that is incompatible with human rights.

In its lengthy judgment, Court concluded on the basis of the evidence available to it and the interests at stake that it could not recommend the approval of WC’s applications.


The objectors to WC’s applications raised several contentions in regards to the local and global environmental impacts of allowing coal mining in the Galilee Basin (including its contribution to climate change), as well as interference with private property rights. WC refuted these contentions and found that several issues raised by the objectors were irrelevant to the decision of their applications.  

In regards to climate change, WC disagreed that the emissions produced by foreign consumers of the mined coal are a relevant consideration. It argued that approving the mining of coal does not entail approving its combustion, and that the responsibility for the emissions from the latter falls on importing countries which decide to do so.  WC also argued that the mine will make no difference to total emissions because it would displace lower quality coal with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  


The Court framed its recommendation as pertaining to the specific coal mining project in question rather than coal mining in general. It was not convinced by the evidence put forth by WC with respect to the adequacy of its plans of offsetting the environmental impacts which would follow from the coal mining project.

In relation to climate change, the Court found that the mitigation of climate change was amongst the public interests which needed to be considered in the balance against the public interest considerations in support of the project (such as economic development). While the Court acknowledged that the project itself would not necessarily put Australia over its greenhouse gas emissions budget or lead to an exceedence of the temperature limits set by the Paris Agreement, Australia’s limited carbon budget and the risks of exceeding the 1.5° and 2°degree C temperature limits, and Queensland’s intention to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, were strong factors which supported the refusal of the project. 

The Court rejected WC’s contentions in regards to foreign emissions from the combustion of the coal mined by WC, finding that not considering them would be inconsistent with the public interest criterion in the environmental protection legislation.

The Court found that the human rights to life, protection of children, culture of First Nations People, privacy and home, property, and the enjoyment by certain groups of rights without discrimination were engaged by the coal mining project. In its assessment, the project constituted a ‘limit’ to these rights owing to its causal link with climate change which, in turn, affects the enjoyment of these rights. The Court concluded that the economic and other public interest benefits of the project were not sufficient to justify the limitation of human rights which would result from the project.


For full judgment of 25 November 2022, see here.

Suggested case citation:

Land Court of Queensland, Waratah Coal Pty Ltd v Youth Verdict Ltd & Ors (No 6) [2022] QLC 21, 25 November 2022, President Fleur Kingham.

Last updated:

03 August 2023.

2022 Biodiversity Children and young people Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Fossil fuel extraction Gender / women-led Human dignity Non-discrimination Paris Agreement Right to a healthy environment Right to health Right to life Right to water Sea-level rise South Africa Standing/admissibility

African Climate Alliance et. al. v. Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy et. al. (#CancelCoal case)

On 10 November 2021, three South African NGOs (the African Climate Alliance, Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action and groundWork) initiated a constitutional challenge against the South African government’s plans to augment its coal-fired electricity capacity. Also known as the #CancelCoal case, this challenge invokes the protection of environmental rights, the rights of children, the right to life and human dignity, the right to water, healthcare and food, and the right to equality and protection from discrimination. Noting that South Africa is one of the top 15 current global greenhouse gas emitters, the plaintiffs argue that the procurement of 1500 MW of new coal-fired power stations threatens the rights of present and future generations in South Africa, who will be “left to deal with the consequences of extreme weather events, heatwaves, droughts, coastal flooding, famine, cyclones and social upheavals”. They submit that the constitutional rights violations caused by the new coal plants “will disproportionately impact the poor and the vulnerable, including women, children and young people”.

More details on the challenge:
In terms of standing, the applicant organizations brought their case in their own direct interest, in the interests of their members, in the public interest, and in the interest of the environment, noting the “far reaching consequences for present and future generations”.

The applicants invoke section 24 of the South African Constitution, which recognizes the right to a healthy environment. They argue that, by ratifying international agreements on climate change, including the Paris Agreement, the State recognizes the threat for this right posed by climate change. They also invoke section 28(2) of the Constitution, which guarantees the protection of the best interests of the child, arguing that “children are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the further health risks caused by coal-fired power stations”. Noting that South Africa’s first NDC, submitted in 2015 and revised in 2021, committed to peaking emissions from 2020-2025, with net zero to be achieved by 2050, they submit scientific evidence from the IPCC to show the level of threat at hand and the different emissions reductions pathways discussed. Coal, they argue, “is the single most significant contributor to climate change”, and South Africa’s plants to procure more coal-fired power plants is “directly at odds” with global calls for action against coal, despite its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, including from heat, storms, drought, rising sealevels, loss of species and biodiversity, and the psychological harms linked to climate change, as well as economic costs associated with responding to the effects of climate change, which will “divert scarce resources allocated to alleviating powerty and promoting sustainable development”.

The applicants also argue that the government’s references to “clean coal” are scientifically unfounded, and that it is unrealistic to argue that carbon capture technologies will mitigate the impacts of the new coal plants. “Climate change is the ultimate collective action problem”, they submit, and collective efforts are needed. South Africa’s support for coal undermines the global efforts in this regard, is inconsistent with South Africa’s “fair share” obligations, and is detrimental to the environment in a number of ways.

Invoking the constitutional right to equality together with environmental rights, the applicants argue that the action in question produces unfair discrimination “on intersecting grounds of race, gender, and social origin. This is because poor, black South Africans, and particularly women and children, are the primary victims of ecological degradation and air pollution caused by coal-fired power. They will also be the worst affected by the climate crisis”, as recognized in the government’s Environmental Impact Assessment (para. 358 of the application).

In terms of remedies, the applicants seek the review and setting aside of the decisions to procure new coal plants.

Further developments:
On 8 December 2021, the President of South Africa issued notice that he does not intend to oppose the application and shall abide by the decision of the court. On the same date, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy issued notice of his intention to oppose the application.

On 12 December 2022, in what was described as an “early victory” in the case, the Pretoria High Court ordered the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to release records relating to the decision to seek new coal power, and to pay the costs of the application.

Further reading:

The full application form in this case is available from, as are further documents on the case.

Suggested citation:
High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division (Pretoria), African Climate Alliance and others v. Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and others, case no. 56907/2021, filed on 10 November 2021.

Last updated:
26 June 2023.

2023 Business responsibility Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Fossil fuel extraction Italy Paris Agreement Private and family life Right to health Right to life Right to property

Greenpeace Italy, ReCommon, et. al. v. ENI, Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, et. al.

Greenpeace Italy, together with ReCommon (an Italian association involved in questioning corporate and State power) and twelve Italian citizens from different regions of the country manifestly affected by climate change impacts, filed a lawsuit against ENI, a major oil & gas multinational company, and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, which, also through Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (an important public financial institution), has a relevant influence on the corporation.

The applicants asked the Court to ascertain and declare that the defendants share liability for the moral and material damages they suffered to their health, life and properties due to climate change impacts, and for further endangering these same assets.
The claimants allege ENI contributed to climate change as its activities, either industrial, commercial or for transportation of energy products, caused greenhouse gas emissions far beyond the limits suggested by the scientific community, notwithstanding the temperature goals internationally recognized in the Paris Agreement, which implies emissions reductions both in the public and in the private sphere. The claimants argue that the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (whose majority shareholder is the same Ministry), as shareholders of the oil&gas corporation, could have influenced its strategy concerning the ecological transition away from fossil fuels, but did not leverage their relevant influence in that direction.

The legal strategy is primarily based on Article 2043 of the Italian Civil Code, dedicated to liability for non-contractual damages and interpreted, according to previous case-law, as a tool for human rights protection. The applicants claimed a violation of their rights to life, health, and respect for private and family life, as enshrined in the Italian Constitution, in the European Convention on Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that ENI shall respect according to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises.
The claimants drew on attribution science to argue for the existence of a causal link, and recalled the reasoning of the Dutch courts in the Urgenda case, according to which even a quantitatively relatively low level of greenhouse emissions on the global scale contributes to climate change, meaning that there is a sufficient causal link between those emissions and their present and future adverse effects. In addition, the applicants rely subsidiarily on Article 2050 of the Italian Civil Code, dedicated to liability for dangerous activities, that implies a reversed burden of proof: the defendant shall prove that every measure was taken to prevent the damaging event.

Concerning remedies, the claimants did not ask the Court to quantify the damages. Recalling the case against Royal Dutch Shell (Milieudefensie), they asked the Court to order ENI to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 45% in 2030 compared to 2020 and to align to the 1.5°C temperature goal. They also asked the Court to impose a monetary sanction in case the order is not fulfilled. The applicants also asked the Court to order the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. to adopt a policy defining climate goals to foster as relevant shareholder of the corporation.

This is not the first instance of rights-based climate litigation in Italy: you can read about the previously filed lawsuit against the Italian State here in the Database.

Date of filing:
9 May 2023

Civil Court of Rome


More information:
More information on Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon dedicated web pages.

Last updated:
15 May 2023

2021 Children and young people Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Fossil fuel extraction Imminent risk Indigenous peoples' rights Non-discrimination Right to life Right to property Sea-level rise United States of America

Aji P. and Others v. the State of Washington

This case was brought by 13 young people aged between 8 and 18 who sued the US State of Washington, its Governor, and various other state agencies, arguing that the state had “injured and continue[d] to injure them by creating, operating, and maintaining a fossil fuel-based energy and transportation system that [the State] knew would result in greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, dangerous climate change, and resulting widespread harm.” In doing so, they invoked their “fundamental and inalienable constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, equal protection, and a healthful and pleasant environment, which includes a stable climate system that sustains human life and liberty.” They also invoked the impacts on indigenous peoples’ rights. The plaintiffs requested the judiciary to “[o]rder [the state] to develop and submit to the Court . . . an enforceable state climate recovery plan”.

A number of amici filed briefs in the case. For example, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Quinault Indian Nation, and Suquamish Tribe argued that local tribes were already seeing impacts on their traditional lands and abutting marine waters. The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW-US) noted the well-documented impacts of climate change on human and constitutional rights. The League of Women Voters of Washington argued that access to judicial action was particularly important for minors who did not enjoy access to the right to vote. And a group of environmental NGOs submitted that “the right to a healthful and pleasant environment underlies our continued ability to claim our explicitly-guaranteed rights to life and liberty.”

On 8 February 2021, the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington held that it “firmly believe[d] that the right to a stable environment should be
fundamental.” It also recognized “the extreme harm that greenhouse gas emissions inflict on the environment and its future stability.” However, it held that “it would be a violation of the separation of powers doctrine for the court to resolve the Youths’ claims.” It accordingly dismissed the claim.

On 6 October 2021, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington denied the petition for review in this case. González, C.J. (dissenting) noted that the plaintiffs “asked this court to recognize a fundamental right to a healthful and pleasant environment that may be inconsistent with our State’s maintenance of a fossil-fuel-based energy and transportation system that it knows will result in greenhouse gas emissions. These greenhouse gases hasten a rise in the earth’s temperature. This temperature change
foreshadows the potential collapse of our environment. In its place is an unstable climate system, conceivably unable to sustain human life and continued enjoyment of ordered liberty under law. Today, we have an opportunity to consider whether these are the sorts of harms that are remediable under Washington’s law and constitution. We should have granted review to decide that question”.

EU/European Court of Justice Fossil fuel extraction

Complaint to the European Ombudsman by GLAN, AVAAZ, and others

On 25 May 2022, a group of NGOs and their representatives (the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), AVAAZ, Notre Affairs à Tous, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, and Svitlana Romanko, co-founder of ‘Stand With Ukraine’) filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman concerning the EU’s failure to conduct an environmental and human rights impact assessment before continuing to import oil and gas from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. They submit that this decision impacts negatively on both GHG emissions and human rights. The complaint argues that climate change is, beyond any doubt, a threat to the enjoyment of human rights, and that this EU decision on oil and gas imports will contribute to the worsening of the related impacts.

More information:

  • The text of the full complaint is available from Climate Case Chart.
  • For a press release on the complaint, see here.

Last updated:
17 August 2023

Domestic court Emissions reductions/mitigation Fossil fuel extraction Guyana Right to a healthy environment

Thomas & De Freitas v. Guyana

On 21 May 2021, two Guayanese citizens filed a case in the domestic courts of Guayana, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by Guyana’s approval of oil exploration licences to a joint venture involving ExxonMobil and other corporations. They invoked the government’s duty to protect their right to a healthy environment, as well as the right of future generations to the same.

The case documents are not yet available. However, the case has been reported widely. For more information, see:

Background information:
The Human Rights Committee had previously voiced concerns about the oil exploitation licenses granted by the Guayanese government. In its 2020 List of Issues, it asked the Government to provide information on “concerns that large scale oil extraction significantly increases greenhouse gas emissions, causes ocean acidification and
rising sea-levels, and adversely affects the most vulnerable groups in the State party, including the Amerindian and fishery-dependent communities and individuals living in poverty’.

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.