Number of climate cases increase in Europe, so does the pressure to step up climate action

Climate action

People around the world keep turning to the courts as politicians fail to deliver anything close to the necessary level of climate action. The Portuguese children’s case filed today with the European Court of Human Rights, is the most recent one in Europe that is trying to hold European countries accountable for their failure to deliver urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions[1].

 In the legal case launched today, four children and two young adults from Portugal argue that the big European emitter countries (27 EU Member States, the UK, Norway, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) fail to protect their human rights by fuelling the climate crisis and posing threat to their lives and physical and mental wellbeing.

This case comes right after landmark decisions last year from the Dutch and Irish Supreme Courts that required both governments to revise their national climate policies in light of their legal obligations. As the European Commission’s new 2030 target proposal approaches, it also sends strong messages to decision makers that the new 2030 target must be ambitious, in line with science and equity to protect citizens from the worsening impacts of climate change.

Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio said: “European decision makers can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that climate impacts are devastating people’s lives and livelihoods, increasing the number of citizens seeking climate justice in front of courts[2]. Today, from Czechia to Belgium, Europeans are trying to force their governments to protect their rights and ensure a better climate protection by suing them.

It is time for the EU to keep its promises to rebuild better and provide a better future for all Europeans. EU leaders can only gain the confidence of their citizens by increasing the EU’s 2030 climate target to at least 65% emission cuts as required by science and equity principles.”


Goksen Sahin, Communications Coordinator,, +32 468 45 39 20 

Media contacts for the Portuguese children’s case: Gerry Liston (Legal Officer) | | +353863415175; Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn (Director) | | +447521203427 


[1]More information on the case launched by Portuguese youth can be found here:

[2] According to Copernicus, Europe has warmed faster than any other continent in recent decades

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations from 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


Press release

Leading Environment and Climate Organisations Score European Parliament’s 2019-2024 Performance ​

New in-depth data research from five leading climate and environment organisations reveals that only a minority of MEPs during the 2019 – 2024 mandate acted to protect Europe’s climate, nature and air quality. The majority of MEPs acted instead as either procrastinators or prehistoric thinkers, delaying real action with patchy and inconsistent voting records, or worse, completely failing to rise to the challenge of the crises Europe is facing.

Read More »