Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people filed a potentially world-changing climate complaint on Monday. The group of teens cranked up the already abnormally steamy day in New York when they announced that they’re suing five of the world’s major carbon polluters on the grounds that the countries are violating their rights as children.
If the suit is successful, the UN will classify the climate crisis as a children’s rights crisis, and it would compel the five countries named in the suit, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey, to work with other nations and with each other in order to forge binding emissions’ reducing targets. This is a very sharp change from current international efforts.
The youth climate activism movement has absolutely blown up in the past year, and it Greta Thunberg’s solitary strike outside the Swedish parliament every Friday since last August has spawned a global movement. An estimated 4 million young adults and their supporters took it to the streets around the world this past Friday to demand climate action.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the opening of the Climate Action Summit that young people are above all, young people are providing solutions, insisting on accountability, and demanding urgent action. And they’re right.
The suit has been filed on behalf of the youth by the international law firm Hausfeld, and it contends that world governments are violating children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The convention is the most-signed human rights treaty ever crafted, and it lays out the inalienable rights of children, which include the right to life, health, and peace, all with special stipulations for indigenous groups.
However, there are also all things climate change is upending, as there’s ample evidence that climate change is already making kids (and adults) sick, it takes many lives, and disturbs the lives of many.