Hundreds of activists, among them Greta Thunberg, marched through the Swedish capital to a court Friday to file a lawsuit against the Swedish state for what they say is insufficient climate action.
More than 600 young people under the age of 26 signed the 87-page document that is the basis for the lawsuit which was filed in the Stockholm District Court. They want the court to determine that the country has violated its citizen’s human rights with its climate policies.
“Sweden has never treated the climate crisis like a crisis,” said Anton Foley, spokesman of the youth-led initiative Aurora, which prepared and filed the lawsuit. “Sweden is failing in its responsibility and breaking the law.”
The action comes as scientists warn that chances are slipping away to limit future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
At a recent U.N. climate conference in Egypt earlier this month, leaders tried to keep that goal alive but did not ratchet up calls for reducing carbon emissions.
Another activist, Ida Edling, said that Sweden “is pursuing a climate policy the research is very clear will contribute to a climate disaster in the future.”
Sweden’s parliament decided in 2017 said that by 2045, the Scandinavian country is to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and is to have 100% renewable energy.
Swedish broadcaster TV4 said the government declined to comment on ongoing legal action.
Climate campaigners have launched numerous lawsuits against governments and companies in recent years, with mixed success.
In one of the most high-profile cases, Germany’s top court ruled last year that the government had to adjust its climate targets to avoid unduly burdening the young. The German government reacted by bringing forward its target for ‘net zero’ emissions by five years to 2045 and laying more ambitious near-and-medium term steps to achieve that goal.