Kid-led Lawsuit, Conflicted Government and Impending Doom: Contributing Writer Shares Updates About Climate Change

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Rose Roche
Contributing Writer

In recent months, there has been a number of stories pertaining to the effects of climate change and action, or inaction, governments have taken. Since many of these stories were overlooked when they were first reported, here is a guide that explains the significance of some of them.

Legal Action Taken By Kids For Kids

James Hansen, a NASA climate scientist, teamed up with a group of 21 youths to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Government for what they believe is a violation of their constitutional rights. The group says the planet is slowly dying, and they worry about their own children being unable to experience the same weather as them.

They claim the government is promoting the use of fossil fuels throughout the nation, resulting in “a dangerous destabilizing climate system.” Greenhouse gases are at “unprecedentedly high levels compared to the past 800,000 years…and pose risks to human health and welfare,” according to the group.  

Also, they are criticizing the government for not protecting public resources, such as water and land.

This case was filed under President Barack Obama’s administration but was handed over to President Donald Trump’s administration after the election. Because of Trump’s controversial remarks about climate change, the lawsuit has received more attention.

Contradicting Climate Claims

The most recent public review of the National Climate Assessment was released on Nov. 23, Black Friday, and it warned of the expense that the U.S. economy could face if climate change is ignored. This information was gathered by top scientists and federal agencies.

Throughout the 1,600 pages that were released, it reports, “By the end of the century, climate change could cost the United States $500 billion per year.” A major blow to the U.S. economy.

Many of the authors said a change should be made limiting the production of harmful fuels and gases into the ozone that ultimately cause the rising temperatures across the globe. The Clean Power Plan was set forth to cut back the widespread use of greenhouse gases in an effort to lessen their negative impact. However, the Trump administration has cut the program’s funding.

Despite Trump wanting to cut back the funding for the regulation of harmful greenhouse gases, “government agenc[ies] can’t simply undo an environmental rule on a whim; they have to justify a rollback on the grounds that the existing regulation violates the law, that it isn’t supported by the science, or that its replacement will be better.”

12 Years: A Warmer Climate

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on Oct. 8 that said, “there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 C.”

If the temperature continues to rise, these climate scientists predict there will be waves of natural disasters including floods, droughts and tornadoes.

The 2015 Paris agreement’s goal is to keep temperature increases between 1.5 C and 2 C. However, the U.S. dropped out of the agreement under the Trump administration, weakening the multi-national accord.

If climate change continues to raise global temperatures by more than 2 C, which is the projection, there could be fatal effects.

“At 1.5 C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50 percent lower than at 2 C,” according to the report. “Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.”

Essentially, if the rising temperatures due to climate change are limited to an increase of 1.5 C, the damage will be significantly less compared to an increase of 2 C.