Greta Thunberg and 15 other kids are taking action where world leaders are not
Greta Thunberg has had a busy past couple of weeks. In addition to protesting outside the White House for climate change and leading a climate strike that included an estimated four million kids and their supporters around the globe, she was also one of 15 other young adults to file what could be a groundbreaking suit
The United Nations is holding a climate summit this week and Thunberg and fellow kids from around the world announced they’ve decided to sue five of the world’s major carbon polluters because they are violating their rights as children. If successful, the five countries named –Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey — would have to work with other nations to “forge binding emissions’ reduction targets,” Gizmodo reported.
“This is all wrong, I shouldn’t be up here,” Thunberg said in front of the General Assembly on Monday. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”
The young environmental activist is no stranger to demanding attention. She kicked off a movement in August 2018 when she sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest her government’s climate inaction. When she posted her actions on social media, she inspired other kids to do the same. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Now, Thunberg and others are raising the stakes by filing a lawsuit stating that world governments are violating children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention, which was drafted in 1989, is a human rights treaty which speaks to the inalienable rights of children, including the right to life, health, and peace. The suit says in part that the overwhelming evidence presented by scientists shows that climate change is making kids and adults sick, forcing them to leave their homes, and in some cases killing them.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg said during her speech. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
The suit charges that the countries named have not used their resources “to prevent the deadly and foreseeable consequences” of the current climate crisis, or worked with other nations to solve this problem, calling out their “inadequate” promises to reduce greenhouse gases and stating that the cuts they have agreed to will not keep global temperatures from rising “less than 2 degrees Celsius,” which the countries agreed to during the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
The United States — which has contributed more global warming-inducing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than any other country — was not named in the suit because it has not ratified the part of the treaty that allows children to seek justice for potential violations, Fox 59 reported.
Although all countries contribute to the global climate changed the five countries listed are part of 51 nations that have signed the Optional Protocol of the convention allowing children from anywhere around the world to file a suit against the nations. The complaint will now be heard by a committee of 18 international experts on children’s rights.