It's official: Young people can sue the government over climate change

Attorney JULIA OLSON hugs one of the youth plaintiffs outside the Federal Courthouse in Eugene after a case management conference in the landmark federal lawsuit brought by 21 young plaintiffs against the federal government. The lawsuit, brought by the no
© Robin Loznak/Our Children's Trust

The case is actually moving forward.

You may have heard about the group of young activists from Oregon who tried to sue the government over climate change. The government has known about climate change for decades, the plaintiffs say, and they've only exacerbated the problem. They argued they have a right to clean air and water.

The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, but it looked like it might never be heard. The federal government continuously asked the Supreme Court to delay the case, which it did. But they could only delay it for so long. On Friday, the Supreme Court declared the suit could go forward. It may start in a week or two.

“The youth of our nation won an important decision today from the Supreme Court that shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy," said Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

The young folks (one was only eight years old when the suit began) are demanding the government create a "national remedial plan" to limit carbon emissions and "restore the Earth's energy balance."

"I want to trust that we are truly on track for trial without having further delays," explained Kelsey Juliana, one of the young plaintiffs, in a statement, "but these defendants are treating this case, our democracy, and the security of mine and future generations like it's a game. I'm tired of playing this game."

Wow. Honestly, I'm pretty amazed this is happening. I never imagined someone could actually sue the government over climate change. I'm also ... well, not surprised, exactly, but disappointed that it has to come to this. And I'm dying to find out what happens if the young folks win. Will the federal government really make drastic changes to save the planet. Or will they ignore the court?

Either way, I'm following this one. Stay tuned ...

It's official: Young people can sue the government over climate change
The case is actually moving forward.

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