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Silver Power: Swiss grannies challenge Governmentâs weak climate policies
The Paris climate agreement got some new teeth today when more than 450 women aged 65 and older submitted a legal petition to force the Swiss government to take stronger action on climate change. The complaint alleges that weak climate policies are violating their constitutional rights by failing to limit warming to politically-agreed safe levels.
Group portrait of KlimaSeniorinnen, 23 Aug 2016
Greenpeace Switzerland is supporting the new group of women, called KlimaSeniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection), in their quest to hold their government accountable for climate inaction.
Older women are among the most vulnerable groups in a warming climate. Studies of heatwaves in Europe show they are more likely to get sick or die of dehydration, heatstroke, cardiac and circulatory problems.
While the women of KlimaSeniorinnen have initiated a legal challenge to protect their own lives, they are also doing it for the good of future generations. Without decisive action by all governments, generations to come will have to cope with the disastrous effects of future heatwaves, droughts, water shortages, crop failures, and extreme weather events.
Anne Mahrer, former National Councilor of the Green Party, co-president of KlimaSeniorinnen, 23 Aug, 2016
According to the worldâs top scientists, human influence on the climate has more than doubled the probability of heat waves happening in some localities. Heat-related deaths have already increased in some regions. Sadly, we should count on heat waves occurring more often and lasting longer in the future.
Drought in Maharashtra, India, 6 Mar, 2016
By holding their government to account for failing to guarantee the basic human right to a safe climate, these elders are helping all of us in our fight to spark the real action needed to overcome the climate crisis.
This is not the first, and it will definitely not be the last lawsuit that uses the Paris Agreement as both a legal hammer and a beacon of hope to challenge governments and fossil fuel companies.
Light Painting Activity in Manila, 21 Sep, 2016
The Swiss elders join a wave of people-powered climate challenges that have sprung up to close the gap between what was committed to in Paris and actions that fly in the face of the aim to limit the increase in average global temperatures to 1.5Â°C.
- Just last week, Greenpeace Nordic and the NGO Nature & Youth filed a lawsuit challenging the Norwegian government’s newly assigned licenses for oil and gas drilling in the Barents Sea.
- In the Netherlands, nearly 900 citizens and the Urgenda Foundation won a case against the the Dutch government, forcing the Dutch state to make more stringent greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2020.
- U.S. youth, with the support of Our Childrenâs Trust, are charging ahead with their federal case that seeks science-based emission reductions in order to protect their fundamental right to a stable climate.
- The Conservation Law Foundation launched the first legal action against ExxonMobil aiming to hold it accountable for climate denial.
- Farmers and children in Pakistan and Peru are standing up to governments and fossil fuel companies in the courts as well.
- Disaster survivors, community organisations and Greenpeace Philippines successfully petitioned the Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into the responsibility of fossil fuel companies for human right impacts resulting from climate change.
The Swiss initiative shares the same aim as the investigation in the Philippines - the protection and empowerment of those most vulnerable to climate change. Among the petitioners in the Philippines are representatives from communities that have been devastated by super typhoons - like Tacloban in 2013, the worldâs strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall.
All of these legal battles have one thing in common: people are standing up to protect their right to a stable climate. They are fighting for radical climate solutions prescribed by science. They are willing to take bold steps now because there is no time to wait.
Democracy Awakening Rally in Washington D.C. 18 Apr, 2016
But itâs not going to be easy. Despite the Paris Agreement, some governments are still going to fight very hard to do as little as possible. Companies that have long profited from extraction of oil, coal and gas will send in armies of lawyers.
Thatâs why Greenpeace is proud to stand with the modern-day heroes leading these climate challenges. The people won’t be deterred. Who do you stand with, our grandparents and children, or with those still blocking the action we all need to protect our climate from the threat of fossil fuels?
Join the growing global movement of people demanding climate justice, by signing up here.
Jennifer Morgan is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
This article first appeared on Huffington Post
Ban hopes South Africa will âreconsiderâ decision to withdraw from International Criminal Court
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has regretted the decision of the South African Government to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and expressed hope that the country will reconsider its decision before the withdrawal takes effect.
UN rights experts call on US to abolish mandatory detention of migrants
Members of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention completed a two-week visit to the United States today and called upon the Government to abolish its mandatory detention of migrants, particularly asylum-seekers, after it found serious racial and economic disparities and that many people were being held under punitive conditions.
UN aid chief voices âdeep frustrationâ as medical evacuation plan for Aleppo scrapped
The United Nations humanitarian chief said today he is âdeeply frustrated and saddenedâ that the UN and its partners have been forced to abort current plans to evacuate critically injured and sick people from eastern Aleppo, Syriaâs iconic city being razed by war.
After hurricane, UN assessment finds 800,000 Haitians in dire need of immediate food assistance
An assessment conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), together with the Haitian Government and its National Coordination for Food Security (CNSA), has determined that in the wake of Hurricane Matthew some 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance, 800,000 of whom are in a dire situation.
On World Polio Day, UN kicks off weeklong campaign to immunize 5.8 million Iraqi children
Two United Nations agencies will support the Iraqi Ministry of Health in marking World Polio Day by launching a weeklong nationwide campaign to immunize Iraqâs children against the infectious viral disease.
Renewed deadly clashes in north-central Somalia send thousands fleeing in October â UN
Some 18 people have been killed and 60 injured due to ongoing fighting in Gaalkacyo, Somalia, over the past two weeks, according to the United Nations humanitarian wing, which also reported today that more than 75,000 people have been displaced, though local authorities have indicated that the number could be higher as more people continue to flee the violence.
In war-torn Syria, three million children out of school or at risk of dropping out â UNICEF
With the start of the school year and the number of school attacks exceeding 4,000 in war-ravaged Syria, more than 1.7 million children there remain out of school and another 1.3 million are at a risk of dropping out, according to new education data.
Global Goals can 'propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet,' Ban says on UN Day
In his last United Nations Day message as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon recognized the efforts of courageous UN staff members who are on the frontlines of disaster and violence and continue to respond to the plight of the vulnerable people across the world.
University Programs Specialist