Swiss parliamentary committee rejects European climate ruling

By Thomson Reuters May 21, 2024 | 3:17 PM

GENEVA (Reuters) – A Swiss parliamentary committee on Tuesday rejected a ruling by a top European court that said Switzerland had violated the human rights of its citizens by not doing enough to prevent climate change.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found in favor of a group of elderly Swiss women who took their government to court over its record on tackling global warming.

The decision, which was expected to embolden more people to bring climate cases against governments, indicated Switzerland had a legal duty to take greater action on reducing emissions.

The ruling received widespread criticism in Switzerland, and the legal affairs committee of the upper house of parliament voted to rebuff it on the grounds the country was taking enough action, said Andrea Caroni, a lawmaker on the committee.

The Swiss government had pushed back against the Strasbourg court’s decision, with the environment minister saying the ruling was hard to reconcile with direct democracy.

Switzerland, where referendums regularly test the limits of national policymaking, has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

The government had proposed stronger measures to deliver the goal, but Swiss voters rejected them in a 2021 referendum.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Emma Farge; Editing by Alistair Bell)