Federal courts are once again considering whether or not a group of 21 young people have the right to demand that the government confront climate change. Lawyers representing the youths claim that they have a constitutional right to a stable climate. Lawyers for the government, however, claim that no one enjoys such a constitutional right.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2015 and was scheduled to go to trial last fall. However, the Supreme Court intervened and the trial was delayed. Now the Court of Appeals in the Ninth District is once again considering the case.
So far, the judges have been grilling both sides. Speaking to the suing party, the judges noted that they were asking the courts to do a lot and that this was no ordinary suit. Lawyers representing the youths claimed that they were asking the courts to do nothing but apply “bedrock” constitutional law. Meanwhile, the government argued that the lawsuit was an attempt to circumvent various statutes.
Thus far, the majority of scientists and most research points to climate change being a real phenomenon. Even many climate skeptics have warmed to the notion that climate change is real but often claim that it’s not man-made. Last year, a Congressionally mandated report found that climate change is having adverse effects on the United States. The report claimed that climate change is contributing to wild fires, heat waves, powerful hurricanes, flooding, and more.
Assuming that climate change is real, our excesses today will be paid for by future generations. The costs and burden of climate change are largely being kicked down the road. And while we can enjoy over-exploitation and waste today, future generations will be adversely affected, enjoying fewer resources and suffering from an unstable environment.