By Fredrica Syren:
In a landmark case last week, a judge in Oregon gave 21 children ranging in ages from 9 to 20 the right to sue the U.S. government for its part in causing global warming. A motion to dismiss by the federal government and fossil fuel industry was ruled against on November 10th, 2016, officially giving this lawsuit a green light for trial.
The lawsuit, initiated by Our Children’s Trust, a civic engagement nonprofit for youth, is suing not only President Obama but also federal agencies and the fossil fuel industry for violating these 21 children’s constitutional right to life, liberty, property and to vital public trust resources by continuing to use fossil fuels. World-renowned climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, who already in 1988 pleaded with Congress to do something about the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions, is serving as a guardian for future generations and his own granddaughter in the same lawsuit.
It’s a huge victory celebrated not only by the plaintiffs and everyone else involved, but also by other environmental activists in the U.S. It’s an opening for other federal climate lawsuits. The ruling also makes it harder for governments to dismiss global warming and climate change, and not do their part in fighting it .And it holds both the President and the fossil fuel corporations responsible for our children’s well-being. It’s the first time that has ever happened.