Update to Our Children’s Trust for Climate Justice: Juliana v. United States

Hi friends,

As we continue to advance our U.S.-based state and federal youth climate cases, including Juliana v. United States, we wanted to share with you some exciting developments in three of the global cases we support!

We have been working with Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste (a Mexican non-profit legal organization) since early 2019 in support of a ground-breaking youth climate lawsuit in Mexico. This case, Jóvenes v. Gobierno de México, was brought by fifteen youth plaintiffs against the Mexican government to enforce stringent carbon emissions standards.

Last month, in response to the plaintiffs’ appeal of an August 2020 lower court ruling, the Seventh Collegiate Court ordered the lower trial court to hear evidence on the facts of the case! This is great news for these young plaintiffs who are requesting that their government comply with its constitutional obligations and the terms of the Mexican General Law on Climate Change requiring emissions controls well beyond what the government has undertaken to date.

We are eager to support these youth and their lawyers as the case proceeds to trial!

Youth plaintiffs in Jóvenes v. Gobierno de México

Indian attorneys representing a single brave youth plaintiff recently learned that their constitutional climate case, filed in 2017, will soon be heard by the Indian Supreme Court! After two years of slow progress, this is an extremely positive development. We are eager to continue following and supporting the attorneys in this case as it advances in the highest court in India, all while, at the same time, Juliana v. United States advances to the highest court in the U.S.

Our Children’s Trust is also proud to stand in solidarity with partners we’ve been working with since 2017 who filed a landmark climate case in 2020, inspired by Juliana v. United States, on behalf of six Portugeuse youth. Represented by Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), the youth plaintiffs are suing 33 countries in the European Court of Human Rights for contributing to the climate catastrophe in violation of their human rights.

Last week, Our Children’s Trust requested court permission to submit evidence in this case on the most current climate science benchmarks necessary to protect the rights of the youth plaintiffs to a safe climate. We look forward to the opportunity to support these youth with the best available science supporting their claims.

So What Does This All Mean?
These developments in our global work are especially exciting because they demonstrate that courts – on three different continents – recognize and accept their judicial responsibilities to hear the climate claims of young people, granting them access to their courts. As we continue to advance parallel claims here in the U.S., both at the federal and state levels, this positive momentum in global jurisdictions demonstrates that the courts have authority to address youth claims against their governments for the harms they are experiencing from the climate crisis.

As these global cases, each inspired and supported by our OCT team, continue to advance in their respective courts, we will continue marching forward in the U.S. to affirm the decisions of numerous judges, including Judge Aiken in Juliana v. United States, who have similarly found that young people have the constitutional right to a safe climate and that the courts have the ability to respond to and to redress violations of that right.

“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”

                                                              - U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

How You Can Help!
We provide legal representation to our youth clients – and support to global attorneys and their young clients – in urgent, necessary, game-changing climate litigation, all at no cost to the young people we represent or their families. And you can support our efforts!

Please make a donation today to help us continue to secure legal victories around the world, including in the United States, that will protect safe futures for all children and future generations. Thank you for your consideration and support!

In solidarity,
The Team at Our Children’s Trust