The climate crisis is not fate
The climate crisis is not fate

Jurist Michaela Krömer fights against non-compliance with climate targets before the European Court of Human Rights. What drives the lawyer and what it takes for a better tomorrow, she says in an interview.

© Mitja Kobal - Greenpeace
© Mitja Kobal - Greenpeace

You don't just have to accept everything, "says attorney Michaela Krömer. The Lower Austrian's voice sounds friendly, but also determined." There are ways of shaping the future. We can change more than we often think. "She got the committed attitude from her parents, a fourth generation of lawyers. In her job, Krömer has specialized primarily in human rights and climate law issues. She currently represents the case of a middle-aged man Age who suffers from multiple sclerosis ( Heat worsens his physical condition. With an outside temperature of 25 degrees, your client is dependent on a wheelchair, from 30 degrees he can no longer push it himself. "Due to the climate crisis the temperatures are also rising steadily in this country. This exacerbates his symptoms. The effects of the man-made crisis are threatening the right to life and health, which is anchored in the European Convention on Human Rights, "explains Krömer. In short: the state must do something about it. She now wants to obtain this in court. A first decision is to be made in the autumn The lawyer spoke to us about crises that are becoming the norm, what India has ahead of Austria in terms of environmental protection and which questions her child should never ask her.

“You have to get down to business to make a difference. «

WOMAN: You are bringing a lawsuit for non-compliance with climate targets before the European Court of Human Rights for the first time. What exactly do you want to achieve?

Krömer: That something is happening! Let us think of the Paris Agreement. It's like a flat-share cleaning plan. Every state undertakes to clean up itself, but if it doesn't, there are no real consequences. In addition, the obligations that the states have imposed on themselves are far too few and not in line with the goals.

Do we humans have a right to climate protection?

Krömer: Yes! Temperature fluctuations, heat deaths, crop failures, floods The effects of the climate crisis have been scientifically proven and they will affect us all.

“You can't be naive. Like every other country in the world, Austria has a duty to protect us. Action must be taken while it is still possible."

What are your chances of success in court?

Krömer: You never know how a trial will end. However, I would not invest as much time and effort in a case if I were not sure that the arguments are good and convincing.

On your website you address the fact that crises must not become the norm. They say that in order to prevent this, changes in the system are necessary. What do they have to look like?

Krömer: You need a good climate protection law, clear obligations and a CO2 budget, including measures and sanctions that are not just financial. That doesn't hurt politics, as we saw through the Corona crisis. It would make sense, for example, for the maximum speed on the motorways to be reduced in the event of non-compliance with the climate targets. This would also make the population more aware of where politics has failed. In addition, science needs to be better integrated and involved in the process. Experts have to explain to politicians what exactly is happening.

Which countries are role models when it comes to climate protection?

Krömer: Costa Rica, for example. Problems are approached there in a factual and focused manner. Or Ecuador, where the rights of nature are even anchored in the constitution. Often there are also countries in which more women are in power, such as Iceland and Finland. I buy 100 percent of Gewessler that she is seriously fighting for climate protection, but you have the feeling that the urgency does not reach many others. I've seen more anti-plastic campaigns in India than here. We are not pulling together enough.

What are your hopes for the future?

Krömer: I'm pregnant right now and I hope for my child that they will grow up in a world with scope for creativity. It should be able to create and enjoy, not only have to deal with crises and squint at problems.

In what world will it grow up if we don't make significant changes?

Krömer: In none of the beautiful ones. Conflicts increase the less space we have that is worth living in. It's hard for me to think about it, that's why I fight for our nature.

Which question should your child not have to ask you for once?

Krömer: "Why didn't you do anything?"

Entrepreneur Cornelia Diesreiter said in an interview with us that NegativNews give us the feeling of powerlessness. How can you positively motivate people to protect the environment?

Krömer: By making everyone aware that the climate crisis is not a fate that we have to accept. We can actively shape our future. In Austria we are often lethargic and underestimate our influence, we like to see ourselves as victims. Let's focus on what's possible! And a lot is possible. Most of the time, more is possible than you think. You just have to get down to business to make a difference. That's exactly what drives me: an idealistic realism. I knew early on that if I knew my way around the system, I could change a lot within it - so that we could all lead a good life.

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