Listen: The climate change lawsuit that could stop the US government from supporting fossil fuels
"Than Juliana versus the United States to quote, one federal judge. This is no ordinary lawsuit. It was filed back in two thousand fifteen on behalf of a group of kids who were trying to get the courts to block the US government from continuing the use of fossil fuels they say it's causing climate change endangering their future in violating their constitutional rights to life liberty and property when the lawsuit began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government's lawyers who have sensed watched the supreme court rejected two of their motions to delay or dismissed the case for years in it is still very much alive in part because the plaintiff. So the master body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics in a force the governor. To admit that the crisis is real. The case was born here in Eugene, Oregon, a tree huggers paradise and one of the cradles of environmental activism in the United States. The lead plaintiff university of Oregon student. Kelsey Juliana was only five weeks old winter parents took her to her first rally to protect spotted owls today. Her main concern is climate change drought and the growing threat of wildfires in the surrounding cascade mountains there has wildfire season. That was so intense. We advised not to go outside that particular matter in the smoke was literally off the charts. I mean, it was so bad. It was it was passed severe in terms of danger health in new that's because of plummet change. That's what scientists tell me. It's not just scientists even the federal government. Now knowledge is in its response to the lawsuit that the effects of. Climate change are already happening and likely to get worse, especially for young people who will have to deal with them for the long term important as this case to you. This case is everything this is the climate case, we have everything to lose if we don't act on climate change right now my generation and all the generations to come. Okay. She was keen when the lawsuit was filed and the oldest of Twenty-one plaintiffs. They come from ten different states all claim to be affected or threatened by the consequences of climate change. The youngest Levi dre Heim is in sixth grade here eleven years old and you're suing the United States government. That's not what most eleven year olds do, right. He's lived most of his life on the beaches of a barrier island in Florida. That's a mile wide in barely above sea limb. What's your biggest fear about this aisle? I fear that I won't have a home here in the future that the island will be going. Yeah. That the island will be underwater because of change. So you feel like you've got a stake in this. Yes. That department of Justice will were recruited from environmental groups across the country by Julia Olsen, an Oregon lawyer and the executive director of a nonprofit legal organization called our children's trust. She began constructing the case eight years ago out of the Spartan space now dominated by this paper diorama that winds its way through the office to what is this. This is a time line that we put together documents what in win past US administration's knew about the connection between. Clean fossil fuels and climate change. The time line goes back fifty years beginning with the presidency of Lyndon Johnson during president Johnson's administration. They issued a report nineteen sixty five that talked about climate change being a catastrophic threat, whether it was a democrat or a Republican office Olsen says there was an awareness of the potential dangers of carbon dioxide emissions. Every president knew that burning fossil fuels was causing climate change. Fifty years of evidence has been a mass by Olson enter team thirty six thousand pages"