According to national and international law, the Swiss government committed itself to keeping global temperatures under 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions (CO2 Act) established targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020, and 30% by 2050, and provided for measures to meet those targets. The applicants argued these targets and measures were insufficient and that resulting global warming is affecting the rights of older persons, a vulnerable demographic at relatively higher risks. They alleged violations to Articles 10 (right to life and personal freedom), 73 (sustainable development) and 74 (protection of the environment) of the Constitution, and Articles 2 (right to life) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The applicants submitted the request to the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), seeking an order for the government to correct the CO2 Act and preliminary legislative proceedings on this matter be initiated, with the goal of increasing targets to a 25% reduction by 2020 and 50% by 2030. The request was dismissed due to a lack of standing under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). On appeal, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court also dismissed the case, finding that Swiss women over 75 years old are not the only population affected by the impacts of climate change, and that the requested remedy would not specifically apply to the petitioners. The Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal.
Environmental Legal Questions: