Three years after the massive endorsement of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, the world’s leading climate experts have blown the whistle warning about the dire consequences of inaction. Our planet is sick from overheating and the prosperity and life chances of our children are increasingly compromised. Children are much more than passive victims of climate change – they are powerful agents of change active at all levels. In a tidal wave of protests, thousands of children worldwide have taken to the streets in the “Fridays for Future”-movement to ask governments to declare a climate emergency and move from words to deeds.
Because the climate crisis is demolishing our common future, citizens increasingly resort to suing their States, including in Europe, to compel more ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and fight the pollution of their living space. Ultimately, their plight may also reach the European Court of Human Rights. We need to bridge the gap between commitments towards the climate cause and facts on the ground before the tipping point of non-return is reached. If we do not manage to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, we will be hijacking our children’s future with no regard for their rights.
Referring to its Resolution 2210 (2018) on Climate change and the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Parliamentary Assembly should follow up on its earlier recommendations and make further child-friendly proposals, in particular to national parliaments, for stepping up national efforts to safeguard green rights and the climate of both present and future generations. This is our collective goal under the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (Goal 13) and it is our duty to deliver tangible results.