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  • A man stands on the roadside watching a wildfire at Anciao, Leiria, central Portugal.

    A man stands on the roadside watching a wildfire at Anciao, Leiria, central Portugal. | Photo: AFP

Experts believe that climate change played a major role in the raging wildfires that consumed vast swaths of central Portugal in June. 

A group of schoolchildren from Portugal is planning to take 47 countries to the European Court of Human Rights, alleging states' inability to act over climate change threatens their right to life.

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The children between the age group of five and 14 belong to the Leiria region of central Portugal that was set destroyed by wildfire.

The group has launched a crowdfunding project to help raise awareness of climate change and hold governments responsible.

The project hopes to raise around US$26,950 by October 25 and is supported by the Global Legal Action Network, Glan, a nonprofit comprising of environmental journalists and advocates.

So far, they have raised a little over US$9,890 on Crowd Justice, a crowdfunding platform.

Experts believe that climate change played a major role in the raging wildfires that consumed vast swaths of central Portugal in June and was declared one of the worst natural disasters in recent history by the Portuguese government.

Thomas Curt, a researcher at the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, said that climate change played a pivotal role in the wildfires.

“It is a certainty, we are witnessing a rise in temperatures, but a warmer air is synonymous with drier, more flammable vegetation. These meteorological conditions increase the risk of fire but also their intensity. We can now see fires, like that of Portugal, which firefighters can hardly extinguish," he told Euronews.

On the crowdfunding page, the advocacy group said, "The countries we are targeting are responsible for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. They also hold a significant proportion of the world's known fossil fuel reserves."

Marc Willers QC of Garden Court Chambers told the Guardian the case would be the first of its kind as it intends to bring multiple governments before a court at the same time "in relation to their failure to properly tackle climate change."

"This case intends to build on the successes which have been achieved through climate change litigation across the world so far. Climate change poses a major and increasingly worsening threat to a number of human rights and governments in Europe are simply not doing enough to address it," he added.


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