On Tuesday, the Massachusetts (MA) Supreme Court mandated the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to promote impactful climate legislation. The court deemed that the DEP failed to uphold climate change agreements outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 and “requires the department to promulgate regulations that establish volumetric limits on multiple greenhouse gas emissions sources, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents, and that such limits must decline on an annual basis.”
This historic ruling is in line with citizens around the world demanding climate justice from their political leaders. Last June, the Dutch government was sanctioned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the first ever climate change lawsuit against a sovereign body.
Lawmakers are beginning to be held accountable for climate change agreements. This week, San Diego’s City Attorney stated that the city’s recent Climate Action Plan is legally binding under the California Environmental Quality Act.
In Massachusetts, four teenagers, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Mass Energy Consumer Alliance brought the climate action case to court. “The global climate change crisis is a threat to the well being of humanity, and to my generation, that has been ignored for too long,” said one of the young prosecutors, Shamus Miller.
This case is in accordance with “youth around the country and internationally…bringing their governments to court to secure their rights to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate,” commented Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust (an organization that helps youth fight “game-changing” legal battles around the world).
This case is in line with two additional recent youth climate justice victories in Oregon and Washington, which substantiate the fact that, given the latent nature of climate change, younger generations are forced to clean up the mess of those that came before them.