by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
“‘We may have won a battle, but we’re still fighting a bigger war,’ says 14-year-old petitioner.”
Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” a judge in Washington state handed a group of eight young petitioners a landmark win this week, ordering the Department of Ecology (ECY) to consider statewide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based on best available science.
“The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners, who are in elementary, middle, and high school.
“I’m not going to sit by and watch my government do nothing. We don’t have time to waste. I’m pushing my government to take real action on climate, and I won’t stop until change is made.”
—Zoe Foster, 13
The kids acted with the help of a NASA climate scientist as well as Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.
“This is a decision of immense national significance,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, which has similar cases going around the country. “Judge Hill acknowledges the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming, refuses to accept any more bureaucratic delay, and mandates that the State consider and act in just two weeks time on the youth’s scientific evidence that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 [parts per million].”