Lausanne, Switzerland – The association Senior Women for Climate Protection, along with four individuals, filed an appeal in their climate case in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court today. They demand greater ambition on climate action and the protection of fundamental rights to life and health from the Swiss Government.

Representing more than 1,200 Swiss women aged 64 and older, Senior Women for Climate Protection decided unanimously to bring the case to the highest court in the country after it was rejected by a lower one.

Greenpeace Switzerland has supported the Swiss seniors’ case from the beginning. Greenpeace Switzerland’s climate expert Georg Klingler said, “We admire the courage and determination of these senior women. They are fighting for the rights of all and we will stay by their side in the coming steps. We need courts and political leaders to realise that climate change is not another political game, but a real threat to basic rights. There is still time to prevent the climate crisis from becoming a threat to us all.”

Last December, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court rejected an appeal in the case as the judges refused to consider overwhelming evidence on how senior women are particularly affected in health and quality of life due to increasing heat waves that result from climate change. [1] That court argued that everybody is equally impacted, without recognising the heightened severity of climate change on vulnerable groups. This position would prevent senior women and other vulnerable groups from demanding protection of fundamental human rights threatened by climate change if unchallenged.

ENDS

Photos can be accessed here.

Notes:

[1] The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come, published online on 28 November 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32594-7, see page 6.

History of the case:

In November 2016, Senior Women for Climate Protection filed a legal request with the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) and other federal authorities, calling for greater climate ambition in order to protect their fundamental rights to life and health.

After the authorities rejected the request, the group filed an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court. The Federal Administrative Court  denied the appeal in December 2018, using the flawed reasoning that everyone is equally impacted by climate change and thus, senior women do not have a right to have their case heard.

The group is now asking the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to take the case and protect the fundamental rights of senior women. Switzerland must reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020 and by at least 50% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, to comply with its targets in the Paris Agreement. See also article published in the Journal for Human Rights and the Environment: https://www.elgaronline.com/view/journals/jhre/9-2/jhre.2018.02.04.xml

Contacts:

Kristin Casper, Litigation Counsel, Greenpeace International, +1 720 917-8498, kristin.casper@greenpeace.org

Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti, Co-president, Senior Women for Climate Protection, +41 79 567 67 73, rosmariewydler@sunrise.ch

Ursula Brunner, Legal Counsel, Senior Women for Climate Protection, +41 79 293 0282 / 43 377 66 88, brunner@ettlersuter.ch

Cordelia Bähr, Legal Counsel, Senior Women for Climate Protection, +41 78 801 70 34, baehr@ettwein.ch

Georg Klingler, Climate Expert, Greenpeace Switzerland, +41 79 785 07 38, gklingle@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace International Press Desk (available 24 hours): +31 (0)20 718 2470, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org

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