Millennials Worldwide Taking Their Climate Grievances to Court

All around the world, Millennials and Gen Zers are starting to bring lawsuits against their governments challenging the “legality” of years of climate inaction using similar theories as being alleged in the U.S. “kids” climate case pending in the U.S.  That case is currently under review by an appeals court in Oregon, which heard arguments two weeks ago on whether it can go forward — the judges were reported to be sympathetic but skeptical because of the novelty of the young plaintiffs’ arguments.  A decision in the U.S. case is expected by the end of the summer.

Why This Matters:  Young people are the force behind the most impactful social movements, and this one is no exception.  But they are not stopping at marching and school strikes, these young people are availing themselves of all the ways of forcing government change, including litigation.  These legal actions are coordinated by the organization Our Children’s Trust, which is helping to streamline the cases and ensure the best science and advocacy are brought to bear in each country.  They are starting to have successes in several countries, which is good news for the global climate crisis, and according to legal experts, could even have a positive impact on U.S. litigation.

A Few Examples of Active Litigation Globally:

Similar legal challenges have been filed in Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, and Switzerland.  Michael Burger, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School told Sierra Magazine that “American judges do pay attention to what happens abroad. “Judges who get these [climate change] cases and the clerks who work for them become aware of other cases in the U.S. and around the world,” he said.

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