16 Kids Including Greta Thunberg Are Suing Countries For Their Carbon Emissions

If they win, the UN would have to class the climate crisis as a children’s rights issue.

It’s been a crazy week for the climate movement, with an estimated 300,000 people attending the global climate strike in Australia last Friday, and millions around the world. The movement was kick-started by Greta Thunberg just over a year ago with her weekly strikes in Sweden.

Add the tearful and fiery speech Greta Thunberg just gave at the Climate Action Summit 2019, and you can see the explosive power behind the children of the climate movement.

And now, Greta Thunberg along with 15 other children has just filed a lawsuit against 5 countries for their dangerously high carbon emissions. You can check out each of the young climate activists and their stories here.

Greta Thunberg’s Lawsuit

16 children from 12 countries, including Greta Thunberg, have filed a lawsuit against five countries: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey. These countries were singled out because they’re the top polluters from the countries who have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The youth climate activists reckon the countries haven’t made adequate attempts to reduce their carbon emissions per the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The kids are suing on the grounds that carbon pollution violates their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Basically, they’re arguing that in not taking adequate actions against the impending climate crisis, these countries are violating their right to a future.

Okay, But Why Aren’t China And America Included?

China and America are the two biggest polluters in the world, so why haven’t they been singled out in the #ChildrenvsClimateCrisis lawsuit?

Well actually, it’s pretty cooked. America (and China) never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which allows children to seek justice… despite the fact that this is the most ratified treaty, ever. They can’t be called out for violating a treaty they never signed.

The US and China have agreed to hear complaints, but this does not mean we should be expecting any kind of real actions.

What The Lawsuit Really Means

This is a landmark case. The lawsuit isn’t asking for financial compensation – the kids are just asking these countries to reduce their emissions in an effort to avert (or at least, delay) our climate catastrophe.

If the children win in suing these nations, the UN will have to classify the climate crisis as a children’s rights issue, which is a huge deal. If that happens, then countries who have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child will be pressured to reduce their emissions in order to not violate the treaty.

It’s potentially a world changing lawsuit, but there’s no guarantees that it’ll go through. The trouble with international laws and treaties is that they aren’t really enforceable. It’s still up to us as the youth of our time to keep up the pressure. Like Greta Thunberg said when she addressed officials at the climate summit – “change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Image Sources: Twitter, GIPHY. 

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