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Young Washington Plaintiffs Argue Appeal in Constitutional Climate Change Case

EUGENE, Oregon - As smoke from nearby wildfires shroud the Pacific Northwest, attorneys for the plaintiffs in Aji P. v. State of Washington will present oral arguments before the Washington Court of Appeals on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.

The hearing will be available to view live on Washington State’s Public Affairs Network.
 
The 13 young plaintiffs from across the state are suffering a wide array of personal, climate change-related harms and filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the state, Gov. Jay Inslee and several state agencies for the actions they are taking that make the climate crisis worse.
 
In spite of an expressed desire to address climate change, greenhouse gas emissions in Washington continue to rise. The complaint asserts that in causing climate change, Washington has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the law; and has caused impairment of essential public trust resources. The plaintiffs seek a declaration of their fundamental rights to life, liberty, and a healthful environment and a government-created plan to comprehensively address the crisis.
 
In the past few days, what officials describe as a “historic” fire event has caused untold devastation to land, people, wildlife and animals in Washington State. “I think one just needs to look outside their window to see the urgency and severity of the climate crisis these children are experiencing,” said Andrea Rodgers, attorney for the plaintiffs. “After months of being required to stay away from friends and family during the COVID pandemic, these kids are now unable to safely go outside. We are hopeful the court will recognize that these kids have a right to take their government to court when it acts to violate their rights.”  
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Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization advocating for urgent emissions reductions on behalf of youth and future generations, who have the most to lose if emissions are not reduced. OCT is spearheading the international human rights and environmental TRUST Campaign to compel governments to safeguard the atmosphere as a "public trust" resource. We use law, film, and media to elevate their compelling voices. Our ultimate goal is for governments to adopt and implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans with annual emissions reductions to return to an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm.

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