Students suing state and federal government over failure to protect them on climate change


Gabe Mandell, 14, (center) and fellow students suing
Washington state  
By: Chan Yuan

Students have filed two lawsuits against the government for failing to protect them and future generations from the harmful effects of climate change.

Aji Piper, 16, of Seattle, Washington, is a plaintiff in two cases, one against President Barack Obama's administration and the other against the state of Washington.

In that lawsuit, the 21 students argue that the federal government's failure to act on climate change, violates their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. They also believe that the government has violated its obligation to hold certain natural resources in trust for future generations.

A federal judge in Eugene, Oregon, allowed the lawsuit against the Obama administration to move forward.

In the second case, 8 students between 12 and 16 years old, have filed a lawsuit, asking a judge to find Washington in contempt for failing to protect them and future generations from the harmful effects of climate change.

The state argued that it has complied with the court's prior orders on climate change and that there were no basis for finding the Department of Ecology in contempt.

After hearing arguments, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill said she needed more time and that she will have her ruling at a later date.

These cases are part of a nationwide effort led by the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children's Trust, to force states and the federal government to take action on climate change.