Climate change, which may actually end us all much sooner than anticipated, will nevertheless have the biggest adverse effect on the generation of kids growing up now. So obviously, the federal government is trying to disappear a lawsuit filed by a group of young activists who say the administration’s handling of climate change is a violation of their constitutional rights.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, an assistant attorney general known for representing BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, is arguing that the suit should be tossed out because it is a “direct attack on the separation of powers” among the government’s three branches. Ah yes, that’s what melting down the separation of powers, not everything else. “We don’t think there is a state-created danger here,” he added.
According to CNN, the complaint was first filed by 21 plaintiffs in 2015, though a previously scheduled trial was halted in October 2018. Now, a three-judge panel is set to determine whether the case can advance, with a decision expected within a few weeks or months.
The plaintiffs, who range in age from 11 to 23, are essentially blaming the government for willfully destroying their futures:
The climate kids allege their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property are being violated by a US government that is knowingly promoting the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, which cause dangerous levels of warming, raising sea levels and promoting droughts and storms.
They also say they have a right to a safe atmosphere, and that they are being discriminated against as young people who will bear outsize consequences of the climate emergency.
Julia Olson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, argues that future generations (if there are any?) will see the climate emergency as the most significant legal challenge of the century:
“When our great-grandchildren look back on the 21st century they will see that government-sanctioned climate destruction was the constitutional issue of the century,” Olson said. “We must be a nation that applies the rule of law to harmful government conduct that threatens the lives of our children so that they can grow up safe and free and pursue their happiness.”
If the case does go to trial and temporarily stops fossil fuel development, it would halt production of 60 new oil and gas pipelines, 32 new liquefied natural gas and coal terminals, and one oil export facility.