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Sweden has always wanted to be a front-runner in becoming a fossil-free economy, so it's made lots of effort along the way. And, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, it's actively worked to limit greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in 2017, Sweden adopted a law that requires the government to reduce emissions, with a net-zero target for 2045. But, recent policy changes have moved it farther from these goals, with plans to scrap the environment ministry as one example.
In the last few years, climate activists worldwide have filed enormous climate-related lawsuits, with some targeting governments for not doing enough. And in 2019, the Netherlands' highest court ruled that the government is obligated to take action to slow down global warming after one of these high-profile cases.
So, on Friday, more than 600 young activists, including famous Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, marched to the court during a protest and filed a lawsuit against Sweden for not doing enough to stop climate change. They also urged the court to require the country to take its "fair share" on climate policies and keep greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement goals. They also want the court to determine if Sweden has violated citizens' human rights with its climate policies.
Swedish channel TV4 said the government declined to comment on ongoing legal action.
"The Swedish state fails to meet the constitutional requirement to promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations," said the group in a statement.
"There has never been such a large-scale case in the Swedish legal system," said Ida Edling, a member of Aurora, to AFP. "If we win, there will be a verdict that says the Swedish state is required to do its share of the global measures needed for the world to meet the 1.5-degree target."
"Sweden has never treated the climate crisis like a crisis," said the spokesman of the youth-led initiative Aurora, Anton Foley. "Sweden is failing in its responsibility and breaking the law."