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Wednesday Briefing

The climate lawsuit against Switzerland was brought by a group of women, all 64 or older. Credit…Christian Hartmann/Reuters

A European court made a significant climate ruling

Europe’s top human-rights court said the Swiss government had violated its citizens’ rights by failing to meet its climate targets. Experts said it was the first instance in which an international court had used human rights law to determine that governments were legally obligated to meet their climate goals.

A group of women, all 64 or older, argued that their health was at risk during heat waves related to global warming, and that by not doing enough to mitigate warming, Switzerland’s government had violated their rights.

“This is a landmark ruling, and it could trigger a wave of similar lawsuits in European countries,” David Gelles, the managing correspondent of our Climate Forward newsletter, told us.

Implications: The women’s lawsuit was the latest in a series of attempts to force governments in court to act against global warming.

“The European ruling isn’t likely to affect rulings in the U.S.,” David said. “But there are several big cases making their way through the U.S. court system, including one that could appear before the Supreme Court later this year.”

More climate news:

U.S.: Replacing existing power lines with state-of-the-art cables could roughly double the electrical grid’s capacity in much of the country.

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