EHRC “Youth Climate Case” could see courts forcing policy on nation-states

Landmark legal case would seek to make EU nations "do what scientists say is necessary".

Kit Knightly

The European Court of Human Rights is prepping to hear a civil case brought against the governments of 33 European nations by six teenage “climate activists”.

The six youth activists are allegedly crowd-funding the campaign, but also have the backing of the Global Legal Action Network NGO. Though the six teenagers are all Portuguese, the case is being brought against thirty-three different nations simultaneously – all 27 EU members, the UK, Russia, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine and Switzerland.

To defend themselves the 33 countries will be asked to explain how their “lack of action” on climate change doesn’t equate to a violation of the human rights of their citizens. If they lose, the countries in question will be legally forced to “take greater action” on climate, or face penalties for missing lower carbon emissions goals etc.

One of the kids, 12-year-old André Oliveira, is quoted in The Guardian as saying [our emphasis]:

It gives me lots of hope to know that the judges in the European court of human rights recognise the urgency of our case. But what I’d like the most would be for European governments to immediately do what the scientists say is necessary to protect our future. Until they do this, we will keep on fighting with more determination than ever.”

The story itself is nonsense of course. Twelve-year-olds do not talk like that. Plus the case originated over 3 years ago, when young André was only nine.

Nine-year-old boys do not see footage of forest fires on the news and decide to sue the European Union. Even if the thought did occur to them, they wouldn’t have the resources, knowledge or wherewithal to actually do anything about it. Not without some pretty all-encompassing adult supervision.

This whole story has the Greta-like whiff of adults using children to mask their agenda. It’s unsavoury, but that’s not really the worst part. The worst part is what this case is aiming to achieve.

Consider the precedents being set here. As the Guardian rightly points out, the ECHR is a standard-setting body, even if the final judgment in this particular case is largely ignored, or considered simply symbolic, it will still sit on the books as a precedent in several ways.

Firstly, there’s the precedent of over-ruling democracy. The governments of these 33 nations were all elected, they (notionally) answer to their electorate, not the EHRC. It’s one thing to prosecute a nation or head of state for actually committing a crime, but bringing a civil case to dictate policy is quite another.

Secondly, there’s the question of state sovereignty. All of the plaintiffs are Portuguese, yet the case is seeking to alter the policy of 32 other nation-states as well. Neither these six Portuguese children, their British lawyers or the Strasbourg-based courts have the right to tell Hungary or Norway or Turkey how to run their country, certainly not when it involves going against the democratic will of the people.

Finally, there’s the tell-tale quote from young André – bolded above.

what I’d like the most would be for European governments to immediately do what the scientists say is necessary”

Granted these are just the words of a child, but he almost certainly was reading something an adult had written. And it’s definitely the aim of the exercise. A government which has policy dictated by what scientists say is necessary.

NOT what is democratically mandated. NOT what is legally permitted. Not even what is morally correct.

What the scientists say is necessary.

Anybody paying attention to the way the world is being run in the wake of the Covid19 “pandemic” should find those words at least a little chilling.


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