U.S. children suing gov over climate change, Aus students planning nationwide school strike

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Environmental law professors Blumm and Wood say that an attempt by a group of young Americans to sue their government positions the climate crisis in the realm of fundamental civil rights.

Watch the short explainer video above.

President Trump has both feet on the fossil fuel accelerator. One way to force President Donald Trump to put the brakes on his dangerous “energy-dominance” policy is a lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 young people. Using a barrage of legal motions, the administration’s lawyers are scrambling to keep this case, known as Juliana v. United States, from going to trial.

Spearheaded by Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit, this lawsuit challenges U.S. energy policies on the basis that those policies are destabilising the climate and violating established constitutional rights to protect citizens from a global threat. The case originally took aim at the Obama administration when lawyers first filed the case in 2015. It now targets the Trump administration.

The 21 youth plaintiffs, who now range in age from 11 to 22 years old, are seeking to require the federal defendants to prepare and implement an enforceable national remedial plan to phase out the excessive greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

In a surprise decision last Friday, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Juliana v. United. States, but it’s still not yet clear if the case will go to trial. If the Juliana case succeeds, there will be a court-supervised federal plan to shrink the nation’s carbon footprint at a rate necessary to stave off disastrous levels of climate change.

Global warming sparks global youth action

Authorities in Pakistan, the Netherlands, and Colombia have been forced to act on climate change after cases based on similar legal arguments to what has happened in the U.S.

A Dutch appeals court, for example, has ordered the Dutch government to cut emissions by 25 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.

In Australia, students in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Lismore, the Gold Coast, Albury-Wodonga and the Sunshine Coast are planning to walk out of classes this month in protest of what they say is a failure by politicians to recognise climate change as an emergency.

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 "I'm sick and tired of our politicians not taking any action against climate change," says Jean Hinchliffe 14-year-old student protester.

This article draws on material originally published on Dec. 15, 2016 and Oct 23, 2018 in The Conversation.

Source The Conversation