Zurich, Switzerland – The association of Senior Women for Climate Protection, Switzerland, along with four other private citizens had their climate lawsuit appeal dismissed by the Swiss Federal Court today. [1] Because the decision failed to uphold the seniors’ fundamental rights in the face of the climate crisis the board is proposing to their members to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“The protection of health is a fundamental right already affected by the climate crisis. There is no doubt that extreme heatwaves harm some more than others. With climate change increasingly getting out of control, we cannot wait for politicians to decide when it will be convenient for them to protect fundamental rights. Human rights are the guardrails of governmental action, so our courts must do their best to preserve those rights. That is why the board is proposing to our more than seventeen hundred members to take our legal claim to Strasbourg now,” said Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti, Co-President Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Court bases its decision to dismiss the appeal on the assertion that the protection of fundamental rights requested by the appellants cannot be claimed until the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal is exceeded.

“It is questionable that, now, in the midst of a pandemic, the Federal Supreme Court failed to see that the life and health of these seniors and other groups in vulnerable situations is at severe risk in the climate crisis. The temperature limit of the Paris Agreement is precisely that, a limit, the absolute most extreme scenario we cannot afford to breach. The courts cannot wait until the worst is here to protect human rights from the impacts of climate change. The Federal Supreme Court’s decision puts basic rights last in the climate crisis. It is simply unacceptable,” said Georg Klingler, climate campaigner at Greenpeace Switzerland, who has been involved in the case from the outset.


Notes to editors

[1] In December 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court failed to uphold seniors’ fundamental rights by ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence that older women in Switzerland are most at risk of harm from climate-induced heatwaves. For further reference please check: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/19848/climate-case-brought-by-1000-swiss-seniors-may-not-be-over-yet/


Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti, Co-President Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland: +41 61 302 96 35 – [email protected]  

Pia Hollenstein, Member of the board Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland: +41 79 740 04 50 – [email protected] 

Cordelia Bähr, Legal Counsel for Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland: +41 78 801 70 34, [email protected]

Martin Looser, Legal Counsel for Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland: +41 079 481 76 88, [email protected]

Georg Klingler, Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace Switzerland: +41 79 785 07 38, [email protected]