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High School Students Take Global Warming to Court

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 2 years ago

Earth 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Katherine Ellison reports in the Atlantic that a group of high school students is suing the federal government in US District Court claiming the risks of climate change — dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions — will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. "I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we're not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more," says 18-year-old Alec Loorz, one of the plaintiffs represented, pro bono, by the Burlingame, California, law firm of former US Republican congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey. While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders. Last month, Judge Wilkins granted a motion to intervene in the case by the National Association of Manufacturers who says the plaintiffs lack standing because their injuries are too speculative and not likely to be reduced by the relief sought. "At issue is whether a small group of individuals and environmental organizations can dictate through private tort litigation the economic, energy, and environmental policies of the entire nation," wrote NAM spokesman Jeff Ostermeyer. The plaintiffs contend that they have standing to sue under the "public trust doctrine," a legal theory that in past years has helped protect waterways and wildlife. While the adults continue their argument, Loorz says kids his age are much more worried about climate change than many of their parents might imagine. "I used to play a lot of video games, and goof off, and get sent to the office at school," says Loonz. "But once I realized it was my generation that was going to be the first to really be affected by climate change, I made up my mind to do something about it.""

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