Youth-led climate strike in Luxembourg City on 15 March 2019; Credit: Jazmin Campbell /

Youth for Climate Luxembourg has issued an open letter to Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, in which it demands that the Luxembourgish government plead guilty to charges of climate inaction.

The youth-led movement argued that whilst climate change remains "humanity's greatest threat", the Luxembourg government "has proven over the last decades that climate action is not their priority". The activists thus called on the Luxembourgish state to plead guilty to the charges brought against it by a group of Portuguese youths before the European Court of Human Rights.

In November 2020, six young Portuguese campaigners filed a case against 33 countries for taking insufficient measures against the climate crisis and thus violating fundamental human rights. The applicants claim that the defendant governments, including that of Luxembourg, have failed to comply with their positive obligations to protect the right to life (Article 2), the right to private and family life (Article 8) and the right to non-discrimination (Article 14) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Youth for Climate Luxembourg noted that the government had proven its ability to "act quickly, effectively and thereby save lifes" in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet, the activists argued, the authorities have failed to prioritise climate protection in the same way as the COVID-19 health crisis. They added that the government has been reluctant to take "drastic steps" within its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and to launch a "meaningful" green deal for Luxembourg.

With European governments set to invest billions into their economies in light of the pandemic, Youth for Climate Luxembourg has urged them to "use these funds to permanently end Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels". They warned against repeating past mistakes since historically, economic recoveries have led to a sharp increase in emissions. The young activists thus demandeda Green Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis: "Nothing less grants us a viable future".

The youth-led movement also lamented that Luxembourg is continuing to subsidise fossil fuels, an action which is "in clear contrast to the Paris Agreement". The statement continued: "All of this makes the Luxembourgish state a culprit in working against our interests, our right to life, privacy and non-discrimination". Instead, the movement argued, Luxembourg should "drastically reduce" its fossil fuel consumption, as well as "aligning all financial flows with the climate goals and implement clear sustainable and green investment guidelines".

Youth for Climate Luxembourg also argued that there can be "no future where Luxembourg can be carbon neutral and still allow investments in high emissions sectors", as is currently the case with the Pension Fund (Fonds de Compensation - FDC).

The youth movement concluded their open letter to the Prime Minister by calling on the government to "accept its responsibility, claim its fault and do better", recalling that it will be today's youth who "will bear this burden" if their leaders "fail to adequately and urgently combat this crisis".