27th Sep 2016

Landmark US Climate Ruling by Our Children’s Trust


“[This is] the most important lawsuit on the planet right now.” - Bill McKibben & Naomi Klein

In 2015, twenty-one youth from across the United States, age 8 to 19, filed a landmark constitutional climate change lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Also acting as a Plaintiff is world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, serving as guardian for future generations and his granddaughter. Their complaint asserts that, in causing climate change, the federal government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

On April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled in favor of the young Plaintiffs by denying the government and fossil fuel industry’s motions to dismiss. While the ruling was a major victory for the Plaintiffs, it is now under review by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken, who heard oral arguments on September 13, 2016. Judge Aiken announced she would try to release her decision within 60 days of the hearing, which would be mid-November. After which, the case will head either to trial or appeal.

*Click here for timeline of the Alec L. v. McCarthy lawsuit we filed in 2011.