US children sue President Obama over climate change

Una ventina di ragazzi ha denunciato le politiche ambientali del governo Usa: «Non fa abbastanza per il clima e dunque non ci protegge».

“President Obama must do more to tackle climate change. We turn to judges for our future to be protected”. Twenty children and teenagers, aged 8 to 19, have decided to take the United States of America to court, asking for more actions to protect the environment. Among them, there’s the daughter of James Hansen, former NASA climate scientist, renowned environmental activist, and author of numerous studies.

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The group is led by the association Our Children’s Trust. The charge, filed at the court of the US state of Oregon, calls for the adoption of policies to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, in order to protect the Earth and future generations. “US government acknowledges, at least since 1965, the risks linked to increasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere,” said the kids. “Yet it hasn’t done enough to curb such problem. In this way, it has violated youngsters’ constitutional rights, and failed to protect essential public goods, putting resources, such as air, see, coasts, water, flora, and fauna, at risk”.


our children's trust
The kids and teenagers who sued the US government ©Our Children’s Trust


Judges are asked to order the government to adopt a strategy able to reduce CO2 concentration to 350 parts per million by 2100 (current levels are around 400). It is a request similar to that filed by the Dutch organisation Urgenda, in June, which convinced a Netherlands’ court to “condemn” the government to reduce harmful emissions on its territory.


our children's trust
Plaintiffs are aged 8 to 19 ©Our Children’s Trust


In a similar way, US kids’ initiative is not only symbolic. Indeed, the US oil industry asked the court to participate in the lawsuit in order to be able to oppose to the case of Our Children’s Trust. “The oil industry doesn’t want further pressures on the federal government over climate change. The fact that oil companies paid attention to the issue demonstrates that they consider the legal action to be big deal,” said Gerald Torres, legal expert at the Cornell University.


our children's trust
©Our Children’s Trust


According to Alex Loznak, 18, one of the children who denounced the White House, is clear that “oil tycoons are scared. As Mahatma Ghandi said, ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’. Our fight has just begun. And we are going to win”.

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