Next Generation Suing the Government Over Climate Change

Melting Glacier in a Global Warming Environment

The next generation is looking to make a difference in the global problem of climate change. They’re not just recycling. They’re not just going green. Instead, they’re filing a lawsuit against the federal government.

Who Are the Climate Kids?

The Climate Kids is a moniker given to the 21 plaintiffs of the federal lawsuits against the federal government. The lawsuit alleges that the federal government has done nothing to stop or even slow down global warming. The Climate Kids are between the ages of 9 and 20 years old and believe that only a federal lawsuit can force the government to accept responsibility and do something to slow down global warming.

The Climate Kids are represented by attorneys from Our Children’s Trust. Their chief attorney is Julia Olson. According to the website for Our Children’s Trust, their goal is to ensure that the next generation have a livable climate in the future.

Trump Will Be Named as Defendant

In January, President-elect Donald Trump will be named as a defendant when he takes office. Olson stated that the reason Trump will be named as a defendant as a lawsuit is because of his statement that he planned to repeal many of Obama’s Executive Orders. Many of Obama’s Executive Orders centered on protecting the environment and reducing global warming.

Trump potentially being named in the lawsuit is about more than him being the next President. Trump has threatened to do away with the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an agreement regarding a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and lowering emissions in multiple countries by less than two degrees Celsius in an effort to protect the environment. Many believe that this lawsuit will force Trump to reconsider abandoning the Paris Agreement.

Motion to Dismiss Denied

Recently, the federal government filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. That motion was denied by the presiding judge. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken believes that the Climate Kids have a right to be heard: “Federal courts too often have been cautious and overly deferential in the arena of environmental law, and the world has suffered for it.”

The Climate Kids and their lawsuit are being supported not just by Our Children’s Trust, but also by well-known climate scientist, James Hansen. The Faculty Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Oregon, Mary Wood, referred to this federal lawsuit as “the biggest case on the planet.”

Children Making a Difference

Comments from several of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit have revealed why they find this matter so important. They want to save the planet for future generations. Ultimately, whether the federal lawsuit remains to be seen. Many see this as a fight for the Constitutional rights of future generations to live in a stable climate. Others see it as righting a past wrong to stop future environmental damage.

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