Thunberg joins march as Swedish activists sue state over its climate policies

The action comes as scientists warn chances are slipping away to limit future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration by youth-led organization Auroras in Stockholm, Sweden
Climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration by youth-led organization Auroras in Stockholm, Sweden

Hundreds of activists, including Greta Thunberg, have marched through the Swedish capital to a court to file a legal claim against the Swedish state for what they say is insufficient climate action.

More than 600 people under the age of 26 signed the 87-page document that is the basis for the claim, which was filed in the Stockholm District Court.

They want the court to rule the country has violated its citizens’ 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 claim.

“Sweden is failing in its responsibility and breaking the law.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre, attends a demonstration by youth-led organisation Auroras in Stockholm, Sweden
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre, attends a demonstration by youth-led organisation Auroras in Stockholm, Sweden (Christine Ohlsson/TT News Agency/AP)

The action comes as scientists warn chances are slipping away to limit future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

At a UN 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 Sweden “is pursuing a climate policy the research is very clear will contribute to a climate disaster in the future”.

In 2017, Sweden’s parliament decided that by 2045 the Scandinavian country is to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and 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 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.

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