In 2015, 21 children and teens brought a case against the United States for failing to address climate change. Finally, on November 10, 2016, a federal judge denied the federal government's request to dismiss the case. Juliana v. United States will go to trial in 2017.
As Eric Holthaus describes:
The young plaintiffs, who range in age from 9 to 20, allege that climate change violates their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by causing direct harm and destroying so-called public trust assets such as coastlines. The case argues that climate change is worsened by the aggregated actions of the federal government in permitting fossil fuel development, subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, and many other such actions. Further, the children and their lawyers say these government actions are willfully prioritizing short-term profit, convenience, and the concerns of current generations over those of future generations. The plaintiffs state that the government and these companies have continued to prioritize these short-term gains for more than five decades with full knowledge of the extreme dangers they posed.
The case is being supported in part by the organization Our Children's Trust, who produced this short video appeal about the case, pleading the Obama administration to settle before Donald Trump takes office in January.