BRUSSELS: The European Union‘s top court on Thursday rejected an effort by a Scandinavian youth group and eight families around the world to force the EU to set more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. The court said that they were not “individually” affected by Europe’s climate policy.
Families from Kenya, Fiji, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Romania and the Swedish sami youth organization started the legal action in 2018. They aimed to draw attention to the impact of climate policy on individuals and activists fighting for starving Arctic reindeer and other environmental issues.
The European general court considered that the plaintiffs are usually affected by climate change but rejected the case in 2019 on procedural grounds. The families and youth group appealed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the bloc’s top court.
The ECJ upheld the lower court’s decision on Thursday, saying the plaintiffs “are not individually concerned” by the EU’s climate legislation so the case would not be heard.
After the legal effort was initially launched, the European commission proposed a “European green deal” with more ambitious goals toward fighting climate change. EU leaders reached a deal last year to cut the bloc’s net GHGs emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, over previous goal of 40%.
Experts say ending the use of fossil fuels is one of the most important measures needed to limit global warming, believed to be causing heavier storms, fiercer droughts and other weather problems damaging lives and livelihoods around the world.
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