The climate crisis is also a crisis of basic and human rights. Support the climate lawsuit on its way to the European Court of Human Rights.
Protection against the climate crisis must become enforceable
Complainant Mex suffers from a temperature-dependent form of multiple sclerosis, the Uhthoff's phenomenon. Above a temperature of 25° C, he is reliant on a wheelchair. The climate crisis impacts his life significantly.
The protection of health from massive environmental conditions is Austria’s obligation, yet for decades the insufficient climate protection cannot be legally contested. Now a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights should ensure the access to this right.
„I suffer from multiple sclerosis. The temperature out there has a great impact on me. At 25 °C and above, I am in a wheelchair. I am already affected by the climate crisis and will be much more so in the future”
A major milestone is reached - the lawsuit has been filed!
Thanks to your donations our crowdfunding was a total success. We collected the full 32.488€ we required.
Numerous experts from the fields of medicine, meteorology and law have worked on the brief together with lawyer Michaela Krömer for the past weeks. The application, which has now been submitted to the ECtHR, contains several thousand pages of expert assessments, documents and the text of the application.
Now the Court has to examine the admissibility of the application and then request the Republic of Austria, as the respondent, to state its position. We have requested that the case should be dealt with urgency. The reason for this is that every additional tonne of greenhouse gas that is emitted into the atmosphere is intensifying the climate crisis. The Portuguese climate lawsuit has been granted this faster procedure.
We cannot say when we will receive an answer from the ECtHR, but we will keep you updated here and on our social media.
Read an excerpt of the lawsuit →
Our crowdfunding starts
Now you can donate and support us!
Our crowdfunding ends
Submitting our request to the European Court of Human Rights
Feedback from the European Court of Human Rights
„Mex exemplifies the millions of people who are and will be concretely affected by the climate crisis both now and in the future.”
Attorney Michaela Krömer
Frequently asked questions
1. What is a climate lawsuit?
- There is no “one” climate lawsuit but they all have in common that they
are fighting for climate protection with laws.
2. Who exactly is being charged?
- The defendant is the State of Austria.
- If a judgement is reached, it serves as a guide for the highest courts of the 47 states that have
ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. This affects 820 million inhabitants.
3. What would change if the case before the European Court of Human Rights were successful?
- If the petitioner is found to be right that he has been violated in one
of the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), in our
case Articles 2, 8 and 13, the ECHR could oblige Austria to create an
complaint mechanism and to do more to combat the effects of the
climate crisis on those affected. However, the ECHR cannot repeal laws
- Likewise, the judgment would have a signal effect for all 46 countries that
have ratified the ECHR – for 820 million people.
- In future judgments, courts would use this case as a guidance.
4. What is multiple sklerosis and Uhthoff's phenomenon?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. The exact causes are not yet clear. Since the inflammation can affect any nerve of the central nervous system, there are different symptoms, such as impaired vision or walking.
Researcher M. Wallin and colleagues published a study in the journal Lancet (2019), which concluded that in 2016, 2.2 million people worldwide had MS, 11,000 of them in Austria. They also wrote that by the age of 60, MS affects 2 times as many women as men
Multiple sclerosis is currently not curable.
Uhthoff phenomenon occurs in 60-80% of MS patients. The phenomenon is triggered by, for example, hot baths or a hot environment. Even a body temperature increase of ~0.5°C can trigger the symptoms. Symptoms can be e.g. slow reactivity or slackening of the muscles
5. What distinguishes this climate case from other climate cases before the European Court of Human Rights?
- What all the lawsuits have in common is that they demand the obligation of states to improve climate protection based on the right to life and the right to health.
- The Portuguese Climate Case has several complainants and is directed against 33 countries. It is presented on behalf of young people who are psychologically burdened by the increasing heat and associated forest fires caused by the climate crisis.
- The lawsuit of the Swiss senior citizen also has several complainants, all of whom are older and, like our lawsuit, is addressed to only one country. The question at this case is: Does Switzerland adequately protect the health of its senior citizens?
- In short, the Austrian climate lawsuit is about:
What opportunities does a state have to offer its citizens to demand more climate protection? Moreover, it is about the state's duties to protect a massively physically affected and young plaintiff (1980).
6. Can I also make a donation by bank transfer? – YES!
- Yes! You can do that.
Simply transfer money to the project account of Respekt.net:
- IBAN: AT 6032 0000 0111 0435 36 and
- BIC: RLNWATWW
- Enter your
first and last name
as well as a valid e-mail address
number or the project: 2218
or the name of the desired project:
Europäische Klimaklage #FightForYourHumanRight
- Respekt.net gives a full explanation HERE
7. Who is supporting the european climate lawsuit?
We would like to thank Greenpeace Austria, #aufstehn, Oekostrom AG, Windkraft Simonsfeld, Fairtrade and Biohof Adamah for their financial support.
We would also like to thank Klimavolksbegehren, Bundesjugendvertretung, Volkshilfe, SOS Kinderdorf SOS Kinderdorf and many others for their support of our initiative via newsletter and social media. Together with many supporters from all over Austria, our climate lawsuit can be a great success and milestone for future legal cases.
8. How will the money be used?
To be able to file the lawsuit, we need a total of 32,250 euros in funding. This will cover the costs of lawyers, experts and the work leading up to the submission of the request.
The individual positions are as following:
- 21,000 EUR (gross) - Legal work (Krömer Law Firm): drafting the legal brief, client support, legal research (case law, scientific documents), exchange with experts
- 4 000 EUR - Legal advice (Ökobüro)
- 2 250 EUR - Crowdfunding at respect.net.
- 2 000 EUR - External legal advice from international experts
- 1 500 EUR - Advice from other experts (science, possible expertise)
- 1 500 EUR - Campaign costs (advertising, video, photos, etc.)
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