Global emissions of greenhouse gases have increased by 60% since 1988. While James Hansen’s testimony is responsible for a significant increase in people’s awareness of climate change, the consequences appear yet to sink in.
Twenty six years later, Hansen is now seeking to have his day in court to effectively force the US government to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Next month the district court of Oregon will rule whether to allow Hansen’s and 21 young American citizen’s case against the US government to proceed to trial.
“It seemed to me that, at least in the US, the most fundamental concepts on which our country was founded were equal rights, equal protection of the laws. All people should have equal rights to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness. The same as for civil rights,” says Hansen.
By failing to rein in climate change impacts, the rights of young people alive today and those that will be born in the future are being disregarded. There is also a fundamental failure of governments to manage natural resources and so protect the public trust.