CLINTEL goes to court

European Court of Human Rights


Guus Berkhout
Marcel Crok

Earlier this week, CLINTEL submitted a petition to the European Court of Human Rights to be allowed to participate in a climate law suit initiated by climate activists against 33 countries. The case is known as the DUARTE case.

We previously filed a similar request, which the court denied without providing any reason. Important new information has become available, however, so we have gone back with a new request.

CLINTEL believes that the European Court of Human Rights should make decisions based on the best available science and the best policy analysis. The record currently before the court is incorrect and misleading. We intend to submit scientific information to the court to correct the record. For instance, the court believes that the so-called “climate emergency” is a scientific concept, which it is not.

In short, our submission will help the court to prevent the same kinds of errors that the Dutch Supreme Court made in the Urgenda case, on which the DUARTE case relies.

Our request to court can be found here.

Urgenda v. The Netherlands
In 2014, on behalf of all Dutch citizens, a climate action group called Urgenda started a lawsuit against the Dutch government to force it to adopt stricter emission-reduction (mitigation) policy. This lawsuit finally came to an end in December 2019. The Supreme Court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch government must indeed comply with Urgenda’s demands. The state was ordered to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. According to the court, climate change threatens the right to life laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court order has resulted in the government taking many of the additional mitigation measures required by Urgenda. These measures have imposed substantial additional expenses on Dutch citizens and produced a negligible effect on the global climate.

DUARTE et al. v 33 countries
Inspired by the Urgenda judgment, another climate case (the Duarte case) has now found its way to the European Court of Human Rights. Six young Portuguese, aged eight to 21, have petitioned the European Court in Strasbourg to protect their human rights against the dangers of climate change. The Court has the authority to hear complaints about violations of the ECHR. This treaty grants European residents fundamental freedoms and human rights, such as freedom of speech and the prohibition of torture. It also grants the right to life invoked in the Urgenda climate case.

The Portuguese plaintiffs are now demanding that no fewer than 33 countries, including the 27 member states of the European Union, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, take all necessary steps to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C. This would be necessary, they claim, to guarantee their right to life, which would require a safe climate. In particular, they complain about the heatwaves, drought, and forest fires in Portugal in recent years, and suggest that these phenomena are causally linked to the “inadequate climate policies” of the 33 states concerned.

An extensive article about this case was published by Lucas Bergkamp and Katinka Brouwer earlier this year on the CLINTEL website. Bergkamp and Brouwer also worked on a very detailed report (summary already online) about this case that will soon be published by the ECR Group in the European Parliament. An interview with Lucas Bergkamp is available here.

Prior CLINTEL to the European Court
Earlier this year CLINTEL filed a request for leave to intervene in this case. The request was rejected without any reason being provided. We later learned that eight environmental NGO’s and human rights organisations were allowed to intervene. These organisations are all sympathetic to the complainants in this case.

This week, following the publication of a very important paper by Ross McKitrick, indicating that IPCC’s attribution methodology is fundamentally flawed, CLINTEL sent a new request to be allowed to intervene. This time, the court will have to take into account the urgency and importance of our intervention, given the misleading case record and incorrect statements made by the court’s President and Vice-President about the perceived “climate emergency.” We hope to receive an answer soon.

Enormous consequences for the economy and democracy
In the DUARTE case, the climate activists have made four demands: (1) a further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, (2) drastic restrictions on the export of fossil fuels, (3) drastic measures to compensate for emissions associated with the import of products and (4) measures to force internationally operating companies to limit the emissions of their entire production chain.

In all these areas, emissions must be reduced to zero within a short period of time to meet the “climate emergency”. On the basis of a favourable judgement from the ECtHR, the climate movement will be able to litigate further at national level against countries that do not try hard enough to achieve these goals. The countries complained against will have no choice but to comply with the Court’s ruling, as no appeal is possible.

So the earning capacity of the entire economic system is at stake, as the costs for companies and countries to meet the requirements will be sky-high. Such a ruling would bring the economy in many countries to its knees, with all the consequences that that entails.

In addition to the economic impact, which is difficult to overestimate, the implications for democracy and the rule of law are also enormous. By ruling in favour of the plaintiffs, climate policy will be permanently removed from the regular process of political decision-making, where elected representatives and administrators can weigh up the various interests against each other, assess policy and make the relevant corrections and adjustments as needed.

From CLINTEL’s perspective, the most troubling aspect of this prospect is that judicial climate policy making tends to be based on a misunderstanding of climate science and the effects of climate policy making. That is why we want to intervene in the DUARTE case and correct such misunderstandings.

Human rights as a pretext
The DUARTE case illustrates how climate activists have found an ally in partisan judges with whom they share an ideological affinity. Under the guise of human rights, climate policy is being reduced to an irreversible judicial dictate based on flawed pseudo-science, over which no democratic control is possible. Judicial authorities that dictate policy to democratically elected governments are not applying laws but, rather, making them themselves. The judges concerned do not even bother to hide their bias; they distort the science and enact ineffective policies.

CLINTEL goes to court
For CLINTEL enough is enough. If activists use our judicial system to make climate policy, that leaves us no other choice then to also use all possible judicial means to repair this unfortunate development in society.

Accordingly, CLINTEL will be actively looking for opportunities to initiate or participate in climate change litigation. As always, we will promote the best available science and policy analysis in such law suits. If you support our mission and strategy, please consider a donation or become Friend of Clintel.

Guus Berkhout
Marcel Crok
Founders CLINTEL

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Tom Halla
August 27, 2021 6:08 pm

This is like the “sinking island nations” case used as a plot device in “State of Fear”. Bad science used by lawyers who fundamentally reject science.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 27, 2021 7:55 pm

Don’t attribute to ignorance, what can adequately be explained by secular interests.

That said, modern science, and jurisprudence, is socially constructed on the plausibility principle.

Last edited 1 year ago by n.n
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 28, 2021 8:12 am

Have heart. Lawyers are only people and have to eat – better than average. There is not enough suffering to keep them all busy, so they invent a virtual suffering.

August 27, 2021 6:18 pm

comment image

John K. Sutherland.
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
August 28, 2021 6:48 am

First… turn off all the lights in the courtroom. Cut off all electricity. Ban all transportation to and from the courtroom that relies on fossil fuels. All clothing, and gadgets made from natural gas must be left outside.

CD in Wisconsin
August 27, 2021 6:37 pm

“In all these areas, emissions must be reduced to zero within a short period of time to meet the “climate emergency”…”

The EU should just outlaw all production and use of fossil fuels either by the end of 2021 or 2022. When their emissions output has stopped, they can pat themselves on the back for doing their part to save the climate and the planet.

And while their economies are collapsing, they can be proud that their regression back to the Middle Ages was worth it…..if they survive. Get it over with and be done with it. 1/2 sarc.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
August 27, 2021 8:36 pm

The big advantage of doing that will be an immediate halt of the flood of migrants from Africa and the Middle East. It solves a problem, not the one they wanted to solve, but a real problem none the less.

August 27, 2021 6:38 pm

“.., make decisions based on the best available science and the best policy analysis”

How. about making decisions based on the most correct science that’s not shaped by policy desires.

Dave Fair
August 27, 2021 6:59 pm

Let them proceed unimpeded. Hopefully, they will rule for the Portuguese kids. Then watch the whole illegitimate ECtHR edifice collapse around the bureaucrats’ heads. Freedom loving people will revolt against this power grab. Heads will roll.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 28, 2021 2:50 am

Well, they will, but only in the long run, and as Keynes said, in the long run we’re all dead.

Freedom loving people will revolt against this power grab“. I’m not so sure. Most people have got better things to do with their lives.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Disputin
August 28, 2021 3:15 am

And weaponry has significantly improved… A few well armed soldiers can easily control, and slaughter thousands of unarmed people. And if one controls the media, no one will even hear about it…

Reply to  Eric Vieira
August 28, 2021 3:57 am

Works both ways. Asymetric warefare can lead to strange outcomes – the Taliban has Blackhawks now. Not that there is ever going to be any meaningful revolt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fraizer
Rich Davis
Reply to  Disputin
August 28, 2021 3:55 am

Most people have got better things to do with their lives.

Unfortunately true. Right up to the point where they lose the right to do any of those things that were more important than protecting their freedom.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Disputin
August 28, 2021 3:05 pm

The long run was seven months; ask the Taliban. Tell that to the Yellow Vests. November 2022 will tell the tale in the U.S.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave Fair
Captain climate
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 28, 2021 10:26 am

You already see this revolt in the yellow vests. I actually want them to try this. Europe needs shock therapy and destroying themselves is a great way to wake them up.

August 27, 2021 7:09 pm

”The Portuguese plaintiffs are now demanding that no fewer than 33 countries, including the 27 member states of the European Union, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, take all necessary steps to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C….”

Meanwhile back in China…

Julian Flood
Reply to  aussiecol
August 28, 2021 12:04 am

‘Meanwhile back in China…’



August 27, 2021 7:36 pm

I’m in favor of these decisions, not of course living in Europe. I need to see how a really hard squeeze on consumers on fossil fuel consumption goes down. For example – how many folks will die in the riots. Bring it on Europe – looking forward to this.

August 27, 2021 7:58 pm

AntiSci and a motion to empathize.

August 27, 2021 7:58 pm

“…the so-called “climate emergency” is a scientific concept, which it is not…..” +1 Getting people to understand this is difficult when the MSM promotes that narrative and doesn’t even mention the other side.

August 27, 2021 8:10 pm

Climate clowns using lawfare in a kangaroo court to compel the proletariat to abide by their diktats. Another day in the dreary, tyrannical world envisioned by the climatistas. No thanks. I choose life.

Walter Sobchak
August 27, 2021 8:32 pm

They have a sense of humor, they included Russia. Like Putin gives a warm bucket of excrement about what the Grand High Poobahs of the Exhalted European Court of Human Rights say. He is a stone cold killer who is not constrained by the universal laws against murder.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
August 27, 2021 10:12 pm

Sorry but in this case he would be the opposite of a stone-cold killer. The killers would be the lawyers robbing the people of the resources underpinning their standard of living. Putin not buying it will be the hard-noosed rational position.

Vincent Causey
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
August 27, 2021 11:55 pm

Putin did the impossible in lifting the Russian people out of a total economic collapse at the end of the Yeltsin era. This was the so called “liberalisation” experiment engineered by Western “experts” and led to millions of excess deaths. My point is, I would rather have a Putin running my country than a Johnson or Starmer – no question.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Vincent Causey
August 28, 2021 12:06 am

Until you got a knock on the door at midnight.


Reply to  Julian Flood
August 28, 2021 12:57 am

You mean the midnight raid by the PC police for the “non crime” hate crime of questioning the current narrative of the thought police. I don’t think Putin is into that but Johnson and Starmer both are.

Al Kour
Reply to  UKJohn
August 28, 2021 10:17 pm

Putin is much deeper into it than Johnson and even Biden. Russia has its own set of “hate crimes” and “political correctness”, and quite a strict one.
Plus Russian court system doesn’t have even the thin veil of rule-of-law that America and England still have.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Julian Flood
August 28, 2021 3:18 am

The FBI did the same thing to Jan. 6 protesters. Many are still in jail without a trial…

Reply to  Eric Vieira
August 28, 2021 9:31 pm

625 have been charged so far .Most were released on bail, some had bail hearings where they threw themselves on the floor to repent their sins for they knew nothing of what they did.
30 have pleaded guilty.
Searchable table

Al Kour
Reply to  Vincent Causey
August 28, 2021 9:52 pm

Total BS.
The economic collapse
was the result of Soviet system; reforms of Yeltsin’s era, not Putin lifted Russia out of poverty. Yeltsin inherited dysastrous Soviet system and started reforms (well, half-hearted and contradictional ones but reforms anyway); Putin inherited already mostly reformed economy with established market mechanisms ready to work.
You should understand that there is a time lag (sometimes quite wide) between actions and thier results.
It is a common case in history: one king makes hard changes and loses popularity, his successor reaps fruits and enjoys subjects’ love not moving a finger ( thus, good economic conditions under Reagan were due to Carter’s deregulations). Putin is rather a counter-reformer and since about 2010 Russian economy isn’t growing. (Plus, of course, he is an ardent Stalinist).
And please stop talking about liberalisation engineered by Western experts. They pushed toward more bureaucratisation, regulation, centralisation, taxation etc. , never liberalisation. Russian reformers ( Egor Gaidar first) were not pressed to choose experts they chose, they were free to listen to anybody, but they themselves prefered fascist- (Mussolini-) style model to laisser-faire, nobody forced them. And Putin fits in this model perfectly.

Chris Hanley
August 27, 2021 8:57 pm

“… demands: … (2) drastic restrictions on the export of fossil fuels …”.
The Russian Federation is member state of the Council of Europe and therefore within the European Court of Human Rights jurisdiction.
It would be interesting to watch Russia’s reaction if the Court rules in favour of the petitioners.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 27, 2021 9:15 pm

Don’t their “drastic restrictions” usually involve purchase of large indulgences?

Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 28, 2021 12:30 am

Non binding decisions. But some decisions become part of EU law which then are binding only on EU nations

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 27, 2021 10:04 pm

Countries with a sane government would simply leave the treaty. My money is on Hungary going first.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ed Zuiderwijk
Richard Page
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 28, 2021 12:59 am

The Netherlands and Poland are also looking quite lively in the exit stakes, or is it the article 50 handicap? It’s going to be interesting to see how much EU crap it takes before these countries give up on it entirely.

M Courtney
Reply to  Richard Page
August 28, 2021 1:45 am

The ECHR is not the EU. That is why this affects the UK who ae not in the EU.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Richard Page
August 28, 2021 3:14 pm

The Leftists always push it too far. Lets see what happens in November 2022 in the U.S.

Captain climate
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 29, 2021 5:33 am

I’m still a registered Democrat and I’m hoping for a Republican landslide. I don’t recognize the party anymore. This woke and warmist nonsense has transformed people I’ve known for decades into unrecognizable people.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Captain climate
August 29, 2021 6:13 pm

How so true! But I avoid people who are not amenable to reason.

Reply to  Richard Page
August 30, 2021 7:32 am

My money is on Poland next

Rory Forbes
August 27, 2021 10:56 pm

Who has given this fantasy “court” the authority to rule over sovereign states? What power do they have to enforce any of their rulings? Science is not subject to judicial authority.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
August 28, 2021 12:31 am

By signing up to it. Don’t worry it’s non binding…for now

Kristian Fredriksson
August 27, 2021 11:23 pm

Ross McKitricks paper is censored by Facebook. They say it violates their community rules. I guess Springer Nature is disqualified as a science publisher by Facebooks fact checkers. So this link is not allowed there.

Reply to  Kristian Fredriksson
August 28, 2021 12:37 am

That’s nothing , a book review in Wall Street Journal of Climate scientist Steven Koonins book was blocked, even though in some instances the reviewer disagreed with his conclusions.
Repeating some of the claims just to disagree is not allowed.

Captain climate
Reply to  Kristian Fredriksson
August 29, 2021 5:36 am

I’ve posted that link and it’s been up for 24 hours. Was it pointed to his actual paper or to a blog post about it?

Vincent Causey
August 27, 2021 11:49 pm

So plaintiffs intend to go to the ECHR to mandate draconian, totalitarian control and impoverishment of the population under the guise of – protecting their human rights. You couldn’t make this up.

Richard Page
Reply to  Vincent Causey
August 28, 2021 1:04 am

“You couldn’t make this up.” It’s all too real and all too believable if you are aware of the direction the EU has been going in for at least the last decade. The EU is long past it’s expiration date and needs dismantling before it causes more misery in Europe.

Joao Martins
August 28, 2021 2:21 am

My country (Portugal) often is the first for the worst reasons… This case shows that Greta’s parents were not the first, the real groundbreakers of this criminal child manipulation consisting in enrolling them in politics was this bunch of idiotic, incompetent, irrational, ignorant Portuguese parents… (I am not sure if they were first or second with respect to a similar group of idiotic parents from California or somewhere else in the States).

Last edited 1 year ago by Joao Martins
Captain climate
August 28, 2021 10:21 am

The idea that climate change is killing people is insane. It’s wrong on its face. But judges are activists now, so what’s the point in facts?

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