Juliana v. US: 21 Kids Take US Government to Court in Landmark Climate Change Trial

US v Juliana, Youth v gov

Photo by Robin Loznak

Some are calling this “the biggest lawsuit on the planet”.

21 kids are suing the government on climate change. Their case, Juliana v. United States (#YouthvGov), is not centered on the environment as you may assume, but on their constitutional rights.

Their argument?

“Through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.”

You see, the US government has known what causes climate change and how catastrophic the effects would be to civilization for over 50 years.

US govt has 50 years of knowledge on climate change

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson was briefed on the dangers in 1965, the government has not only helped build an energy system centered around fossil fuels, but gave them preferential treatment via enormous subsidies, policies, and even research and development.

What’s the end goal?

These 21 kids are now asking the courts to force the government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and end subsidies to fossil fuel companies. They want a federal climate recovery plan.

They are supported by the amazing people over at Our Children’s TrustEarth Guardians, and respected scientists such as James Hansen.

After three years of hard work fighting against the fossil fuel companies and the US government’s attempts to dismiss their lawsuit, District Judge Ann Aiken decided enough was enough and that it’s time for a trial, saying, “Exercising my reasoned judgment, I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”

Thanks to the Trump Administration’s “drastic and extraordinary” tactics, the Supreme Court had to weigh in. They ruled unanimously in favor of the children that the trial should proceed. Juliana v. US is set to go to trial on October 29th, 2018.

I believe the upcoming trial will be a turning point either way, but can you imagine the impact that this would have in the US and around the world if they win?


This post was originally featured in the Crowdsourcing Sustainability newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter below!

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