Climate change is real, and these young people have the lawsuit to prove it.
A group of 21 plaintiffs, aged 8 to 19, have sued the federal government and the fossil fuel industry for their failure to adequately protect against climate change. The lawsuit claims that this inaction violates the constitutional rights of current and future generations.
“The Federal Government has known for decades that CO2 pollution from burning fossil fuels was causing global warming and dangerous climate change,” says 15-year old Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez, a plaintiff in the case. “It also knew that continuing to burn fossil fuels would destabilize our climate system, significantly harming my generation and generations to come. Despite knowing these dangers, Defendants did nothing to prevent this harm. In fact, my Government increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to levels it knew were unsafe.”
The young plaintiffs have asked for a court-ordered, science-based national climate recovery plan. Climate scientist James Hansen, whose granddaughter, Sophie, is one of the plaintiffs in the case, has provided detailed analysis and projections about the state of the atmosphere if we continue without change; as part of his expert testimony, he stated “Earth’s energy imbalance is equivalent to exploding more than 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year.”
The proposed recovery plan asks for an immediate 6% reduction in carbon emissions each year until the end of the century.
“Nothing else compares to climate change in the sense to take urgency as a global
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