On Monday, Swedish teen and climate change activist Greta Thunberg joined 15 other children in filing a lawsuit with the United Nations (U.N.) Committee on the Rights of the Child. The kids, between the ages of eight and 17, hail from 12 different countries. Their lawsuit seems an attempt to force five specific countries to adopt extreme climate reform in the name of children’s rights. The global law firm Hausfeld, based on K Street in Washington, D.C., is representing the kids. Earthjustice, another U.S.-based climate change law firm, is also representing them.
Thunberg joined other kids from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Palau, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United States. The lawsuit aimed its fire against five countries: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey. Each of these countries have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, along with the Paris Climate Agreement, the Kyoto Protocols, and the Climate Change Convention.
In other words, these child activists are pressuring countries that are already committed to climate change activism to embrace even more radical reforms. The lawsuit faults each of the five countries for failing “to reduce its emissions at the ‘highest possible ambition.'”
This morning, children from around the world filed a human rights complaint to the United Nations over the inaction of…
“Germany also has less incentive to decarbonize without delay when it can point to France—who as demonstrated below is decarbonizing with delay. The only way for the world to decarbonize the global economy and limit or reduce atmospheric concentrations of [greenhouse gas] is for each state to stay within its carbon budget and for each to ensure that other states are complying as well,” the lawsuit states.
In other words, every country must “decarbonize without delay” because to do otherwise amounts to child abuse. Each of the kids in the lawsuit claims these countries are violating their rights because they will be harmed by the specter of climate change. (Never mind the long track record of failed predictions from climate alarmists.)
Perhaps because the potential harms of climate change are impossible to predict, the kids’ lawsuit does not name a specific dollar amount in child abuse damages. Instead, the lawsuit demands the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child official find “that each respondent, along with other states, has caused and is perpetuating the climate crisis by knowingly acting in disregard of the available scientific evidence regarding the measures needed to prevent and mitigate climate change” and that “by recklessly perpetuating life-threatening climate change, each respondent is violating petitioners’ rights to life, health, and the prioritization of the child’s best interests, as well as the cultural rights of the petitioners from indigenous communities.”
As if this were not scary enough, the lawsuit also demands that the five countries change their national and local laws. The kids asked the commission to have the countries “review, and where necessary, amend their national and subnational laws and policies to ensure that mitigation and adaptation efforts are being accelerated to the maximum extent of available resources and on the basis of the best available scientific evidence to (i) protect the petitioners’ rights and (ii) make the best interests of the child a primary consideration, particularly in allocating the costs and burdens of climate change mitigation and adaption.”
If this lawsuit were to succeed, it would effectively establish a one-world government on climate change under the U.N. committee. Any government that agreed to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child could be forced to alter its laws to fall in line with this precedent and to solve climate change — because they have to prevent child abuse.
Sadly, many nations have already surrendered part of their sovereignty via international agreements like this convention. This would involve an international body effectively creating law by finding governments that are already committed to fighting climate change to be insufficiently zealous in their efforts. This lawsuit effectively applies a purity test among countries already committed to fighting climate change.
Liberals have already called for the media to silence dissent on climate change, but this lawsuit is a terrifying new level of overreach.
Eleven-year-old petitioner Ridhima Pandey, who lives in India, said, “Climate change is not a problem which any country can solve on its own. All the countries must join their hands together to solve this crisis as it is a global issue.”
In a statement along with the lawsuit, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg admitted to having developed “climate anxiety” after being bombarded with alarmist messages from adults. She claimed to have gotten over it by engaging in constant activism. “It has just become such a normal part of my life that I don’t even think about it. This is just sort of a full time job,” she said.
Thunberg arguably represents the interests of the climate-industrial complex in Sweden. She first became popular after a financier-turned-activist shared her story on Facebook. Many energy companies stand to gain if governments extend lavish climate contracts, and while Thunberg is almost certainly a true believer, her cause has received more attention because these financiers backed her up.
“Without a transformational change in the next decade, the human rights impact of climate change on the Petitioners and more than 2 billion other children will be locked in and irreversible,” Michael D. Housfeld, chairman of the law firm representing the kids, said in a statement. “What we all must do now is: talk less, act more.” It seems the lawsuit intends to force the five nations to act, regardless of their own sovereignty.
Scott Gilmore, a human rights lawyer at the firm, declared, “The climate crisis is a children’s rights crisis. The current path of global warming will leave today’s children with an unlivable world.”
All this “for the children” posturing enables climate alarmists to brush aside the very real debate on climate change. While it stands to reason that greenhouse gas emissions might impact the global climate, it is far from certain exactly what impact they have. The models to predict future temperature and other effects have all failed. The widely-cited statistic that 97 percent of scientists agree that manmade climate change is a crisis is a false twisting of the actual data.
Furthermore, many of the solutions pushed by activists like Thunberg are entirely unworkable. Even those who believe climate change is an immediate crisis can disagree with radical demands to redistribute wealth and achieve “climate justice.” If climate change is a serious threat, market solutions and human ingenuity will be far more effective than a government power grab.
In 1968, Paul Ehrlich warned about mass starvation, especially in India. Yet at the time, plant disease expert Norman Borlaug spearheaded the Green Revolution. New farming methods supercharged agriculture and fed the people whom Ehrlich predicted would starve. Human ingenuity solved the problem by pushing supply up to meet demand. If climate change is a real threat, humanity doesn’t need a one-world government so much as a Norman Borlaug for energy.
Unfortunately for Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey, these countries have embraced both the climate alarmism driving this lawsuit and the loss of sovereignty that gives the lawsuit its force. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child should not define a lack of zeal in fighting climate change as child abuse, but the legal logic is not as far-fetched as it may seem.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.