Activists take Spain’s government to court over climate plan

June 17, 2021 GMT

MADRID (AP) — Environmental activists in Spain lodged a legal claim against the government Thursday for what they deem as insufficient ambition in reducing carbon emissions and other contributors to climate change.

The action in Spain’s Supreme Court is a preliminary step to filing a lawsuit, which three non-profits and two civil society groups hope to do to pressure Spanish officials and to draw renewed attention to the environmental emergency facing the planet.

Lorena Ruiz-Huerta, an attorney with Greenpeace, said that Spain’s national plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 23% from their 1990 level by the end of this decade falls short of the European Union’s target of a 55% reduction - the decrease that scientists say is necessary to keep global temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.

“The government is not listening to the science and is also disregarding the voice of people who have been asking for greater ambition,” Ruiz-Huerta said outside of the top court in Madrid.


Alfonso González, one of five Fridays for Future activists who put their signatures on the claim, said the youth environmental movement will use the legal case as a way to become more publicly active following months of coronavirus-related restrictions.

“For us, this is also a way to return to the streets,” González said.

The lawsuit follows a legal challenge late last year against the Spanish government’s delay in coming up with a blueprint for reducing emissions. Spain submitted its plan to the EU in April, over one year past the original deadline.

Climate activists have brought lawsuits across the world to push governments to take more urgent action to curb global warming.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights forced 33 governments to prove they are cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Six young Portuguese activists took the case to the court based in Strasbourg, France.


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