NO- this is not an article about gun control, marches in Washington or survivors of the Parkland tragedy, nor the media’s treatment of the issue or the survivors. This is also not an article about teacher walkouts in Kentucky and Oklahoma where teachers are demanding more pay and…oh yeah, more funding for the schoolchildren. Nor is it about health care, DACA, or any other of the plethora of issues that could be “for the children.”
Instead, this article is about a frivolous- and that is with a capital F- lawsuit brought by 21 youngsters in federal district court in 2015. The case was filed in the District Court in Eugene, Oregon. Originally, members of the fossil fuel industry joined the suit as defendants but were released by an order from the judge. The Trump administration went to court to have the suit dismissed, but that request was denied. Said the judge in the case: “Exercising by ‘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.” One can go here to read the main plaintiff’s page for a summary of the legal proceedings to date.
In short, climate change will get its day in court in the modern equivalent of a Scopes monkey trial. One should not get confused with two other lawsuits involving climate change. One involves the cities of San Francisco and Oakland suing five major oil companies over climate change using a nuisance law theory to extract “damages.” Another involves the states of New York and Massachusetts suing oil companies over misleading investors in regards to climate change and that likely falls under some financial law.
This lawsuit is a completely different animal…and a more dangerous one. And we can start with the judge’s written opinion cited above. First, “reasoned judgment” is to this judge, his opinion. That alone is scary. What exactly is a climate system capable of sustaining human life? Today’s climate system seems to be sustaining human life quite well as the population grows every year. Even if we could define it, the judge has now transformed this into a “fundamental right.”
This writer has no doubts that the “children” behind this lawsuit have deeply held beliefs about climate change. Any kid who forms an organization like Earth Guardian, a plaintiff in the case, must have some deeply held beliefs, no matter how misinformed, gullible and juvenile they may be. It is to be expected after years of propaganda from the environmental Left.
But this writer also has no doubts that these children are unwitting pawns in a movement they know little about other than the passions aroused in them. Further, like the youthful gun control advocates, they are largely ignorant dupes. While the umbrella organization- Our Children’s Trust- babbles on about climate change and drags the government into court to justify energy policy before a judge, the “children” are largely ignorant of the fact that many of the things they take for granted today- those things that make their lives better and more fulfilling than those before- is attributable to affordable energy.
They are ignorant of the fact that it is gas that fuels their parent’s car as they get ferried to their soccer or baseball games. They are ignorant of the fact that fossil fuels heat their homes and power the lights in their schools, not to mention their video games. They do not realize that solar and wind energy alone in no way meets the energy demands of this country, nor are they aware that the United States has through technology and innovation actually decreased greenhouse gas emissions without falling under the yoke of unenforceable international agreements. They totally ignore and deny on other “environmental grounds” that nuclear sources efficiently delivers energy by producing almost zero greenhouse gases.
Most importantly, they do not realize the important Constitutional issue involved here which one may proffer is more “fundamental…to a free and ordered society.” That is, having failed at the ballot box and in the court of public opinion, their only recourse is to now enter an actual court room. One should rue the day when a court of law in this country dictates policy better left to the political process.
It is no coincidence this lawsuit was filed in Oregon in the Ninth Circuit. It would be interesting to see if a judge in Texas or Louisiana would find such a “fundamental right.” One doubts it since a similar case was tossed from the DC Circuit.
It is perfectly fine to operate in the interests of “the children.” It is never fine to use the “children” as pawns for your agenda. Instead of lionizing these “children,” we should be taking pity on them.