A group of 8- to 19-year-olds says climate change will doom the future unless changes are made now—and they're trying to force the government to do just that. Nearly a dozen young people filed a federal lawsuit in Oregon yesterday, arguing that the current consumption of fossil fuels is unconstitutional and a health threat. “We brought this case because the government needs to immediately and aggressively reduce carbon emissions and stop promoting fossil fuels, which force our nation’s climate system toward irreversible impacts,” plaintiff Kelsey Juliana, 18, says in the suit, according to Al Jazeera America. “If the government continues to delay urgent annual emissions reductions, my generation’s well-being will be inexcusably put at risk."
Former NASA chief climate scientist James Hansen is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, which follows a climate change plan unveiled by President Obama earlier this month. The Clean Power Plan seeks to "reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030," according to WhiteHouse.gov, but the lawsuit demands more aggressive action. A similar lawsuit filed by environmental advocacy group Our Children's Trust and some of the plaintiffs in the Oregon case was dismissed last year by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. (Read more climate change stories.)