Swedish court to hear young people’s climate lawsuit against the state

Three hundred young people including activist Greta Thunberg will get to make their case after a Swedish court agreed to hear their lawsuit accusing the state of climate inaction.

Swedish court to hear young people's climate lawsuit against the state
Greta Thunberg carrying a sign saying "we're suing the state". Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The lawsuit, the first of its kind in the Scandinavian country, was originally filed in November 2022 by the organisation Aurora.

It argued the state “needs to do its fair share of the global work to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels”.

In its lawsuit, the group demanded the state take action to limit climate-heating greenhouse gas emissions and examine just how far it could reduce them within the limits of what is “technically and economically feasible in Sweden”.

The Nacka district court said it had given the state three months to respond to the lawsuit and that, depending on the parties’ pleas and positions, the case could either be taken to trial or handled through written procedure.

“At present, the district court cannot give a forecast as to when the case may be finalised or when it may be necessary to hold hearings in the case,” it said.

Climate activist Thunberg, who was one of the original signatories of the lawsuit, on Monday denounced an “unprecedented betrayal” from those in power after the United Nations’ climate panel warned the world was set to cross the key 1.5-degree global warming limit in about a decade.

She accuses them of living in “denial”.

In recent years, a growing number of organisations and citizens have turned to the courts to criticise what they say is government inaction on the climate.

In December 2019, the Dutch supreme court ordered the government to slash greenhouse gases by at least 25 percent by 2020, in a landmark case brought by an environmental group.

In a similar case in France, more than two million citizens took the French state to court for failing to act against climate change.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Greta Thunberg holds final school strike for climate

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg graduated from high school on Friday, meaning that the school strike on June 9th was her last.

Greta Thunberg holds final school strike for climate

Thunberg marked the occasion of her 251st and final school strike on Twitter, posting a photo of herself wearing the student hat and white dress traditionally worn by students when graduating from Swedish high school, holding her now-famous “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School strike for climate) sign.

“Today, I graduate from school, which means I’ll no longer be able to school strike for the climate,” she wrote.

Thunberg, now aged 20, started her school strikes in August 2018 outside Sweden’s parliament, with the goal of influencing politicians to meet the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. They gained traction worldwide, launching the movement Fridays for Future.

“When I started striking in 2018 I could never have expected that it would lead to anything,” she wrote. “After striking every day for three weeks, we were a small group of children who decided to continue doing this every Friday. And we did, which is how Fridays For Future was formed.”

“We’re still here, and we aren’t planning on going anywhere. Much has changed since we started, and yet we have much further to go.”

Although she will no longer be striking from school, Thunberg said she will continue to strike on Fridays.

“We who can speak up have a duty to do so. In order to change everything, we need everyone. I’ll continue to protest on Fridays, even though it’s not technically “school striking”. We simply have no other option than to do everything we possibly can. The fight has only just begun.”