Youth Sue Government for Failing to Protect the Atmosphere for Future Generations

Our Children’s Trust (OCT), a nonprofit law firm in Eugene, Oregon, is representing youth who are alleging that the government, by failing to protect the atmosphere, is denying their constitutional rights.

This action follows years of serial climate change cases based on the public trust doctrine filed in states and federal courts across the country. These cases have activated the climate debate inside the judicial forum about whether the atmosphere is part of the public trust and if so, what the government obligation is to protect it for current and future generations. Youth are declaring the atmosphere as part of the public trust, alleging that governments are failing their duty to protect it, and asking the courts to order state and federal governments to make scientifically prescribed policy commitments to reduce carbon emissions to safe levels.

Three Degrees Warmer Board Member, Andrea Rodgers, is representing the youth in Washington, a case that is still alive after years of filings. Three Degrees Warmer supported the Washington youths’ case with an amicus brief to the Washington Supreme Court in 2012, and then filed an amicus brief supporting the youth with the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014.

Read the expert legal opinions collected by the New York Times in an opinion piece published today about the litigation. Three out of four legal experts interviewed offer affirming views.

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