Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lawsuits, no matter how well-meaning, won't slow down climate change

Kelsey Juliana, 19, addresses reporters after court proceedings in her lawsuit against the state government.
Some people are so concerned about climate change that they've taken it to court. Multiple times.

In 2011, two Oregon teens filed a lawsuit in Lane County trying to force the state to do more to reduce carbon emissions and help stave off climate change.

Originally, Judge Karsten Rasmussen refused to hear the case, arguing that the teens' complaints were political, not legal. The Oregon Court of Appeals overturned that, and sent the case back to Lane County Judge Rasmussen for a decision.

Judge Rasmussen ruled that the state has no obligation to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change, basing his decision upon his conclusion that the atmosphere --- unlike submerged and submersible lands --- is not part of the public trust. He also added that the court would place an "undue burden" on the state Legislature if it ruled in the teens' favor. After the failure of their suit, the teens are now going to take their case to a higher court.

Ultimately, frivolous lawsuits against political institutions are not going to slow down climate change any time soon, no matter how well-meaning the plaintiffs are.

Really, you (and they) would be better off simply making sure they do what they can in their own life to lessen their own personal environmental footprint. To help you out on that front, here's a list of 50 tips on how you can personally fight climate change:

No comments:

Post a Comment