Our Children’s Trust is a non-profit law firm, the only non-profit law firm in the nation, that is using the court system to force the state and federal government to establish the right of our children to a clean and healthful environment. The law firm started in 2015 and is based in Eugene, Oregon. Their first lawsuit was against the Federal Government. The executive branch, i.e. the Department of Justice, has attempted to stop the lawsuit so they don’t have to act to stop the emissions of fossil fuels. The law firm has also filed lawsuits in four states.
Montana is one of those states and on August 14, 2023, a court in Montana ruled in favor of the children against the state of Montana. You can get a four-page summary of the judgement and even the whole 103 page document on Our Children’s Trust website. The first finding of fact listed in the summary says: “Each additional ton of GHGs (greenhouse gases) emitted into the atmosphere exacerbates impacts to the climate.” There is even a graphic in the longer document of the rising carbon dioxide emissions since 1960.
I went to the source of the graph and found the following. The commentary following the graph is mine.
We often hear human-caused climate change deniers say “climate change comes and goes”. If you look at this graph, you can see that CO2 concentrations have indeed gone up and down over 800,000 years. The coming and going we call the ice ages. But notice what happened after 1960. The concentration of carbon dioxide has increased beyond anything that happened in the last 800,000 years. Now, the deniers may question science. But then they should stop driving cars, stop riding in airplanes, and stop using computers: all devices that modern science has made possible. Indeed, they seem to want to take us back to the dark ages, or maybe worse, to extinction!
Within a few weeks, Our Children’s Trust expects, unless the Department of Justice pulls a fast one, will be back in court arguing their original lawsuit against the federal Government.
The approach being taken by Our Children’s Trust is brilliant. The executive and legislative branches of both the federal and state government of our country are essentially under the influence of fossil fuel money. Due to the Citizen’s United and other U.S. Supreme Court decisions, our electoral process has been corrupted by monetary contributions. We have learned lately that some of the Supreme Court justices have also been personally corrupted. However, the whole court system may be less corrupt than the executive and legislative branches. That is the value of the strategy of Our Children’s Trust.