Climate Seniors Association defeated in court

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has dismissed the complaint by the Climate Seniors Association, ruling that the women of the association are not affected by the government’s climate change mitigation measures in any particular way that goes beyond the impact on the general public.

Symbolbild Klimaseniorinnen
Photo: Keystone

In November 2016, the Climate Seniors Association in Switzerland – consisting of female members only – and four other women contacted the Federal Council, the Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), the Federal Office for the Environment and the Federal Office of Energy. They asked these administrative bodies to introduce additional measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, calling for new legislation and setting out further demands. The women claimed, the health of women aged over 75 years was inordinately affected by the government’s climate change mitigation measures and that their demands were therefore justified. With the DETEC declining to respond to the applicants’ petition in April 2017, they filed a complaint with the Federal Administrative Court (FAC).

No particular correlation
The FAC has dismissed the complaint, concluding essentially that women older than 75 are not the only section of the population affected by the impact of climate change. All human beings, animals and plants are suffering in general from the effects of climate change, although the way in which each of them is affected varies. No particular correlation was determined between the complainants and the matter in dispute compared to the general public from the perspective of administering justice. The DETEC was therefore right not to respond to the petitions filed by the complainants. Neither can any further claims be asserted under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

This judgment may be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court.

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