Swiss grannies upstage Greta, court rules climate ‘rights’

Andrew L. Urban

There is a mountain of irony in a group of four elderly women in Switzerland being concerned about the threat of extreme heat caused by climate change. They evidently think that countries can affect their own climate and stop any warming in their nation if only the government took some action.

They went to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg to pursue their claim. The group, Senior Women for Climate Protection, whose average age is 74, argued that they were particularly affected because older women are most vulnerable to extreme heat. As if Switzerland had a climate control knob the government just had to turn down a notch … and never mind that Switzerland is better known for its snow-covered ski slopes than excessive heat.

The court agreed with their cause and on April 2, 2024, found that the Swiss Confederation had failed to comply with its duties (“positive obligations”) under the Convention concerning climate change. Yes, said the hapless judges, countries must better protect their people from the consequences of climate change, setting a legal precedent in the Council of Europe’s 46 member states against which future lawsuits will be judged. Eat your heart out, Greta Thunberg.

This is how far down the climate rabbit hole the world has gone. Legal eagles have fallen foul of the irrational climate change mindset that has demented so many politicians around the world. That’s the other irony: this court has convicted the Swiss Confederation of failing to protect its citizens from the effects of climate change – without citing any evidence for either the effects of climate change or the Swiss Confederation’s failure. Well, you can’t blame them; there is no such evidence.

Knowing nothing about climate science, nor even the relative global temperature at any given time, the Thunderberg Brigade continues to press for “climate action”.  And when nothing seems to be happening – no sudden temperature drop, frost or cold wind, say – they start up their chants and demands all over again. Climate changes over many years, not protest by protest. (See Curry below.)

This news reminds of local councils in Australia who make pronouncements about climate change and declare their stand in favour of “action”.  According to the ABCNews website, “As the climate wars drag on at a federal level [drag on the economy, perhaps], local councils across the country are taking the initiative and doing it for themselves. More than 100 councils across the country have declared a climate emergency, while dozens more are investing in renewables and setting ambitious targets for cutting emissions.” Several local councils have also declare their areas nuclear free zones … that’s what Aussies call up themselves.

In Europe, there are efforts to create a new human right to ‘a safe, stable climate’. From a decision by the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC): “…  environmental degradation, climate change and unsustainable development constitute some of the most pressing and serious threats to the ability of present and future generations to enjoy the right to life.”

From a 2019 Report written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights:

“There is now global agreement that human rights norms apply to the full spectrum of environmental issues, including climate change.”

Did you know you have a right to a safe and stable climate? No? Well you don’t, as climate scientist Judith Curry points out, “Apart from the lack of an international agreement, such a “right” contains too many contradictions to be meaningful.”

In a recent article on her Climate Etc blog, she makes the point that “Deductions based on a decision by the UNHRC and a Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, do not create a new “human right” to be protected against the dangerous impacts of climate change. No attempt has been made by the UN to create international support for a new human right to be protected from climate change.  Such a right is neither implicit or explicit in the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.

“Even if Net Zero objectives were achieved globally by 2050, the climate would continue to change from natural weather and climate variability: volcanic eruptions, solar effects, large-scale oscillations of ocean circulations, and other geologic processes.  Further, given the inertia in the climate system (particularly oceans and ice sheets), it would be many decades before there was any noticeable change in extreme weather/climate events and sea level rise after Net Zero was achieved.” And that’s if indeed fossil fuel emissions were warming the planet, which has not been shown to be so. (A fact check challenge.)

Those poor women in Switzerland have been conned into fearing a non-existent threat – as have school children and millions of others. Those fears are kept fired up by constantly pressed government policies, likewise driven by the non-existent threat, which do more damage than is admitted by policy makers. More is to come in the wake of this woke ruling by the EHRC.

Curry points to what we (especially farmers) can see all too well ourselves, that “… climate and energy policies have significant environmental impacts and cause environmental degradation. For instance, forest biomass-based fuel causes deforestation, and on-shore and off-shore wind turbines and solar parks may (and, in fact, do) harm the social fabric, real estate prices, nature, biodiversity, the scenery, and human health. The mining and manufacturing required for batteries, and other renewable energy-related goods and infrastructure cause adverse environmental and human health impacts, and renewable energy also causes CO2 emissions. Given that European Human Rights Court has taken the position that the right to life also protects against environmental degradation and health risks, these adverse environmental and health impacts associated with any policies to respond to the Court’s judgment would have to be taken into account.”

constitutional right to a clean environment

AP reports (10/4/2024) that “Activists have argued that many governments have not grasped the gravity of the climate change — and are increasingly looking to the courts to force them to do more to ensure global warming is held to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.” AP did not ask those unnamed activists to nominate those governments and Australia would threaten to send them Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen if they aren’t careful, to respond to that accusation.

The AP report went on to say that “A judge in Montana ruled last year that state agencies were violating the constitutional right to a clean environment by allowing fossil fuel development,” again without the evidence that courts normally require… a bit like our very own Chris Bowen.

It seems that some courts, like the ones in Strasbourg and Montana, have been seduced by the twin social engineering tools of whipping up perceived racism and dangers of climate change are the primary tools for sowing dissent, dissatisfaction and division here and in many other western countries. Reality, reason and rational debate are sucked into that whirlpool of scaremongering. As Mark Twain said, “It is easier for people to believe lies than to convince them that they have been lied to.”

Andrew L. Urban is the author of Climate Alarm Reality Check (Wilkinson Publishing, 2022)

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6 Responses to Swiss grannies upstage Greta, court rules climate ‘rights’

  1. Garry Stannus says:

    I’m not a climate scientist. But I do a bit of reading…

    Some assert that human causes / increased CO2 in the atmosphere are behind climate change – not natural factors.

    I do think that our climate is changing / warming and I accept the view that it is the rate of change in our climate that is unprecedented and which points – not to natural factors – but to our releasing COs into the atmosphere.

    Some (e.g. Jennifer Marohasy) challenge BoM’s ‘record temperatures’ statements, basing her opposition on the new type of instruments used by BoM, as opposed to the ‘old’ mercury thermometer (I hope I’ve said this properly). The new instruments can – and do – record the highest temperature reached at a particular instant, while the old system averaged the peaks over a period of time … perhaps an hour? Again, I’m afraid that I’m not stating the matter accurately, yet will persevere!

    Also, Jennifer makes some reasonable points about where readings are now taken from and the closure of some of the stations which provided those earliest records. Also how replacement locations are sometimes in ‘heat-bank’ areas … by sealed roads and heat-banks such as buildings. Also there is the issue of BoM adjusting historical records to be able to be merged with current temperature observations.

    I can’t get to the bottom of all this, yet at the very least it seems to me that world climate is changing in recent times at a rate that does not seem to fit with the rates of ‘natural’ climate change in past eras. I believe that our climates (at a world scale) are changing … e.g. ice in the Arctic, glaciers melting, sea ice melting, increasing extremes in weather events (as predicted under the ‘anthropogenic’ model of climate change.

    But what am I to make of – not just temperature records being set – but the record dry spells …

    For example, the driest Feb-Mar ever recorded in Hobart, according to BoM’s Senior Meteorologist Luke Johnston

    Let’s get back to those Grannies in Switzerland. I agree with Andrew in the sense that the putated Global Warming (specious or not) could not be arrested by a single country such as Switzerland adopting certain measures/policies … on the other hand – against Andrew – it seems to me that we should be acting as a world community to respond to our own individual nations’ ‘loose play’ with our atmosphere.

    Switzerland – despite Andrew’s “…never mind that Switzerland is better known for its snow-covered ski slopes than excessive heat.” is experiencing a reduction in it snow cover / extent:

    Snowpack responds to climate change
    Thanks to the long-term measurement data, we have been able to identify some clear trends. The last 30 years have seen very low levels of snow, particularly on the Swiss Plateau. The trend towards less snowy winters at most stations below 1300 m is statistically significant. The lower the altitude of the observation station, the more apparent the changes are. By contrast, above 2000 m the snow depths in midwinter (December to February) show no clear trend. The same is not true of snow cover duration: the vast majority of stations are seeing a clear reduction in the number of days with snow-covered ground, regardless of their altitude or location. The primary reason for this is earlier snow melt in the spring. The delay of snow onset in autumn is also a factor at lower-altitude stations. In addition, the annual maxima for snowfall and snow depths have tended to decline at all stations over recent decades.


    By the way, I object to the article’s mockery of Thunberg … “the Thunderberg Brigade“. I usually try and avoid such misuse of a person’s name. Mock the view, if you will, but keep respect for the person’s name, please.

    And – I wasn’t looking for it while I drafted this comment, but – the following popped up onto my screen from a commercial source … that today or tomorrow is predicted to set a record maximum temperature for April, in Tasmania. I’m unable to retrieve the pop-up, but we’ll see what we see.

    Best wishes – Garry.

    • andrew says:

      I’m not a climate scientist, either, Garry, and I, too, do a bit of reading. And if you ever get round to reading my book Climate Alarm Reality Check, you’ll find why the scientists I quote disagree with you about the cause/s of climate change.

      But I take your point about mocking Greta Thunberg’s name. It’s cheap. Beneath me. Juvenile. Mea culpa. My excuse is her utterly ignorant grandstanding.

      As for high temperatures, again I refer you to scientists in my book.

      Unfortunately, the scare campaign against fossil fuels has worked.

      • Garry Stannus says:

        Thanks, Andrew:

        I haven’t read your book, but I have accessed CLINTEL, the views of which I assume are mirrored or are reflected in your ‘Climate alarm reality check : what you haven’t been told‘.

        Among the material associated with CLINTEL, is of course, their World Climate Declaration []…

        The CLINTEL Declaration does not provide references to its own claims and neither to its criticisms of those scientists who write papers on aspects of global warming and who point to a human element in its causation. The Declaration doesn’t ring the right bells for me.

        Although stating that “it is not the number of experts but the quality of arguments that counts“, the Declaration does not argue its case, but instead provides a list of 1,917 signatories to it. Many of them are qualified professionals, yet I note that a great number of these are from geologic and mining backgrounds … in short, there seems to be amongst the signatories a dearth of those who are qualified climatologists and/or the like.

        Andrew, in my comment above, I picked you up on your reference to Switzerland and to it being “better known for its snow-covered ski slopes than excessive heat.” I provided a response to that and also provided a link to its source.

        In response, you advised me to read your book.

        That response recalled to me Karl Marx’s response to those who defended capitalism … in his reference to Aesop’s ‘Hic Rhodus, hic saltus.’ In other words, I say to you … ‘here, Andrew, is the jump, show us here’ (i.e. don’t tell us what a big jump was made in Rhodes or that your book provides the rebuttal answers to my points … please, show me, here, on this thread!).

        [References would of course be helpful … best wishes, Garry.]

        • andrew says:

          I admire your diligence and thoroughness. But you’re still mistaken about climate change being driven by fossil fuels :)

          Re CLINTEL: the main similarity with the content of my book is the reference to observations by relevant scientists. I should make the point that those you seem to exclude from credible signatories to the declaration, from “geologic and mining backgrounds”, are scientific disciplines that are central to our understanding of climate and its history.

          Re the link to the slf site, which refers to the effects of climate change on snowpack. That is a circular argument that conflates changes in snowpack with man made climate change. Without evidence, I might add. Natural variability would also affect snowpack.

          My simple illustrative point is that Switzerland does not experience extreme heat, as an aside to the story about the Swiss grannies in Switzerland (no disrespect intended; I love grannies). At low altitudes the highest average temp is 35C

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