NEW YORK, NY, Jan. 10, 2017 – Today, Victoria Barrett, 17, will send more than 62,000 Care2 petition signatures in support of her climate lawsuit to the White House. Victoria is one of 21 young people suing President Obama, and several federal agencies, for the government’s actions that have caused carbon pollution, climate destabilization, for the resulting violations of the youths’ constitutional rights, and to secure immediate science-based climate recovery action at the federal level. On January 13, the federal government must Answer the youths’ Complaint. On January 20, Donald Trump and his administration will automatically become defendants in the case.
Before Trump’s climate denying administration takes office, Victoria and her co-plaintiffs are urging President Obama to stand with them and to protect their futures.
Victoria Barrett, youth plaintiff, Earth Guardian RYSE member and Action Fellow with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) said:
“We’ve urged President Obama and his administration to settle our lawsuit, but our calls for settlement have gone unanswered. President Obama was the first person in power to tell me, at the young age of 9 years old, that I have the ability to create change. He told me that it’s okay to have hope. In his remaining 10 days in office, I’m asking the President to leave a legacy of truth before Donald Trump and his administration push their climate denialism rhetoric and actively work to harm my future. The federal government’s answer to our complaint is due this Friday, January 13 – my hope is that they will admit the truth, and not deny science or their collusion with the fossil fuel industry. My generation’s livelihood is on the line and we won’t give that up – we will find justice. As President Obama said, ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.’ The President was right, I cannot wait for some other time and I cannot wait for some other person. We want President Obama to be on our side, on the right side of history.”
Through their Care2 petition, youth plaintiffs urged Obama to reject fossil fuel interests and come to the settlement table in their lawsuit. They invited him to end the case – to meet with them, implement a climate recovery plane, and define his legacy. The Care2 petition garnered over 62,000 signatures of support.
On November 10, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completely rejected the government and fossil fuel industry defendant’s arguments to throw their case out. In doing so, the judge validated the youths’ constitutional and fundamental right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life and found that the youths’ requested relief, a National Climate Recovery Plan, is appropriate relief for a violation of that right. Plaintiffs are now headed to trial in what may be a turning point in United States history.
Plaintiffs are now focused on preparation for their trial. On December 28, attorneys representing the plaintiffs sought to obtain testimony from Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil and President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. The Notice was served on Sidley Austin, the law firm representing three intervenor-defendants in the lawsuit: American Petroleum Institute (API), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Tillerson is scheduled to be deposed by plaintiffs’ attorneys on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration. In his deposition, Tillerson will be asked questions about his knowledge relevant to the youths’ claims that their constitutional rights have been violated. Plaintiffs seek to prove these trade associations have known about the dangers of climate change since the 1960s and have successfully worked to prevent the government from taking the necessary steps to fully address climate change.
The youth’s federal case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.
Petition link: www.care2.com/YouthvGov
Video only: https://youtu.be/XZDHWXH1gO0
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Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) has a mission to educate young people about the science of climate change and empower them to take action. Their award-winning youth climate education and advocacy training programs have reached 2 million young people across the United States. By empowering youth to take action within a frame of justice and optimism, they are supporting young people to shift the national discourse on climate in ways that are proven to affect public opinion and policy.
Our Children’s Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.
Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members working together to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthy sustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools, organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, and globally to address the critical state of the Earth.
Care2 (www.Care2.com) is the world’s largest social media site for good, a community of 38 million standing together, starting petitions, supporting each other’s campaigns and sharing stories that inspire action. People, nonprofits and brands are creating extraordinary global impact with Care2, helping individuals, animals and the environment to make the world a better place. A pioneer of online advocacy since 1998, Care2 is a B Corporation, or social enterprise, using the power of business as a force for good.