European Court of Human Rights
Earlier this week, CLINTEL submitted a petition to the European Court of Human Rights to participate in a climate action brought by climate activists against 33 countries. The case is known as the DUARTE case.
We previously made a similar motion, which the court rejected without giving any reason. However, important new information has become available, so we returned with a new request.
CLINTEL believes that the European Court of Human Rights should make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence and the best political analysis. The file currently before the court is false and misleading. We intend to provide the court with scientific information to correct the dataset. The court considers the so-called “climate emergency” to be a scientific concept, which it is not.
In short, our contribution will help the court avoid the same mistakes that the Dutch Supreme Court made in the Urgenda case on which the DUARTE case is based.
You can find our request to the court here.
Urgenda against the Netherlands
In 2014, a climate protection group called Urgenda initiated a lawsuit against the Dutch government on behalf of all Dutch citizens to force them into a stricter mitigation policy. This lawsuit was finally ended in December 2019. The Supreme Court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch government must actually comply with Urgenda’s demands. The state has been instructed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. According to the court, climate change threatens the right to life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court order has resulted in the government taking many of the additional mitigation measures requested by Urgenda. These measures have imposed significant additional costs on Dutch citizens and have had a negligible impact on the world climate.
DUARTE et al. v 33 countries
Inspired by the Urgenda judgment, another climate case (the Duarte case) has now found its way to the European Court of Human Rights. Six young Portuguese between the ages of eight and 21 have filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg to protect their human rights from the dangers of climate change. The Court of Justice has the power to hear complaints about violations of the ECHR. This treaty grants European residents fundamental freedoms and human rights, such as freedom of expression and the prohibition of torture. It also grants the right to life asserted in the Urgenda climate case.
The Portuguese plaintiffs are now demanding that no fewer than 33 countries, including the 27 member states of the European Union, Norway, Great Britain, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, take all necessary steps to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5. to limit ° C. This is necessary to guarantee their right to life, which would require a safe climate. They particularly complain about the heat waves, drought and forest fires in Portugal in recent years and suspect that these phenomena are causally related to the “inadequate climate policy” of the 33 states affected.
A detailed article on this case was published by Lucas Bergkamp and Katinka Brouwer on the CLINTEL website earlier this year. Bergkamp and Brouwer also worked on a very detailed report (summary already online) on this case, which the ECR group will publish in the European Parliament in the near future. You can find an interview with Lucas Bergkamp here.
Before CLINTEL before the European Court of Justice
At the beginning of the year, CLINTEL applied for permission to intervene in this case. The application was rejected without giving a reason. We later learned that eight environmental NGOs and human rights organizations were allowed to intervene. These organizations all understand the complainant in this case.
This week, following the publication of a very important paper by Ross McKitrick indicating that the IPCC’s attribution methodology is fundamentally flawed, CLINTEL has filed a new motion to intervene. This time around, the court must take into account the urgency and importance of our intervention, given the misleading case records and false statements made by the President and Vice-President of the Court about the perceived “climate emergency”. We hope to receive an answer soon.
Enormous consequences for the economy and democracy
In the DUARTE case, the climate activists have made four demands: (1) a further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, (2) drastic restrictions on the export of fossil fuels, (3) drastic measures to compensate for the import of products and (4) measures to internationalize Forcing active companies to limit emissions across their entire production chain.
In all of these areas, emissions must be reduced to zero within a short period of time in order to counter the “climate emergency”. On the basis of a positive judgment by the ECHR, the climate movement at national level will be able to continue to take action against countries that do not try hard enough to achieve these goals. The defendant countries will have no choice but to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice as there is no appeal.
This puts the profitability of the entire economic system at stake, as the costs for companies and countries to meet the requirements are driven up. Such a ruling would bring the economy to its knees in many countries, with all the associated consequences.
In addition to the economic effects, which are difficult to overestimate, the effects on democracy and the rule of law are also enormous. With the decision in favor of the plaintiffs, climate policy is permanently removed from the regular political decision-making process, in which elected representatives and administration can weigh up the different interests, evaluate the policy and make appropriate corrections and adjustments if necessary.
From CLINTEL’s point of view, the most disturbing aspect of this prospect is that judicial climate policy tends to be based on a misunderstanding of climate science and the impact of climate policy. That is why we want to intervene in the DUARTE case and correct such misunderstandings.
Human rights as a pretext
The DUARTE case shows how climate activists have found an ally in party-political judges with whom they share an ideological affinity. Under the guise of human rights, climate policy is reduced to an irreversible judicial dictate based on flawed pseudoscience and over which no democratic control is possible. Judicial authorities, the democratically elected governments dictating politics, do not apply laws, they enact them themselves. The judges concerned do not even bother to hide their bias; they distort science and provide ineffective guidelines.
CLINTEL goes to court
For CLINTEL, enough is enough. When activists use our judiciary to make climate policy, we have no choice but to use all possible legal means to repair this unfortunate development in society.
Accordingly, CLINTEL will actively seek opportunities to initiate or participate in lawsuits against climate change. As always, we will promote the best available scientific and policy analysis in such litigation. If you support our mission and strategy, please consider making a donation or becoming a Friend of Clintel.
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