Through Judicial Action




‘Groundbreaking’: How children in Hawaii won landmark climate case

By Al Jazeera Staff 06/21/24
In an historic settlement of a climate change lawsuit brought by 13 children and young activists in 2022, the Hawaiian department of transport agreed on Thursday to decarbonise its transport sector with a goal of…
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Eight young people are suing Alaska to stop a major natural gas project

By Kavitha George 06/19/24
Young people are suing the state of Alaska to block a controversial natural gas project. They argue more fossil fuel development will make human-driven climate change worse. Alaska Public Media's Kavitha George reports.
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The Hawai’i Youth Climate Trial

By Evan George and Cara Horowitz 06/18/24
Last summer, many Americans were glued to the events unfolding in Maui as a raging inferno overtook the town of Lahaina, trapping thousands and killing at least 99 people.   This summer, we’ll see 13 youth…
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8 young Alaskans reignite a court fight over climate change and fossil fuel development

By Kavitha George 06/07/24
Linnea Lentfer grew up in Gustavus, a town of 600 people tucked into the vast, scenic wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska. Her father first set eyes on Gustavus on a high…
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Young Alaskans sue state over fossil fuel project they claim violates their rights

By Dharna Noor 05/23/24
Plaintiffs claim $38.7bn gas export project, which would triple state’s greenhouse gas emissions, infringes constitutional rightsEight young people are suing the government of Alaska – the nation’s fastest-warming state – claiming a major new fossil…
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Supreme Court oral arguments set for July 10 in Held v. Montana case

By Blair Miller 05/23/24
The Montana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on July 10 in the state’s appeal of the Held v. Montana case, after which the court will decide whether the State of Montana is indeed violating…
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Courage on the Frontlines: Alaska’s Youth Sue to Stop Climate Crisis

By Andrew Welle 05/22/24
On May 22, 2024, eight youth from across Alaska, supported by Our Children’s Trust, filed a new constitutional climate lawsuit against their state government. Building on the foundation of more than a decade of Our…
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Legal jousting intensifies over next step in kids climate case

By Lesley Clark 04/08/24
Six retired Montana Supreme Court justices are urging the state’s highest court to uphold a landmark legal victory for young climate activists. It comes as the state of Montana has asked the state Supreme Court…
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Young people push for a Green New Deal for schools across the U.S.

By YCC Team 02/23/24
So students in the Sunrise Movement have been lobbying their local school boards across the country to pass a Green New Deal for Schools. In the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, they recently celebrated…
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Greta Thunberg goes on trial over London oil industry protests

By Damien Gayle 02/01/24
Greta Thunberg defied a police officer’s instruction to comply with an order to stop protesting outside an oil industry summit in central London last year, a court has heard.
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The Climate Lawsuit Three Presidents Tried to Kill Is Finally Going to Court​

By Neel Dhanesha 01/05/24
In the last days of 2023, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ended an argument that had lasted eight years and three presidential administrations. Juliana v. United States,…
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Environmental lawyers are worried about the new youth climate case

By Lesley Clark 01/05/24
Environmental lawyers fear that a lawsuit launched by California youth to hold EPA accountable for planet-warming emissions could backfire on other climate cases.
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YOUTH v GOV the documentary

YOUTH v GOV is the story of the Juliana v. The United States of America constitutional lawsuit and the 21 American youth, ages 14 to 25, who are taking on the world’s most powerful government.…

Youth v. Gov is what we do at Our Children’s Trust: representing and supporting youth securing their legal right to a safe climate

The world’s only non-profit public interest law firm dedicated exclusively to securing the legal rights of youth to a healthy atmosphere and safe climate, based on the best available science.

Previous Cases and Legal Actions in Montana

Youth petitioned the Montana Supreme Court for original jurisdiction asking the court to declare “(1) that the State of Montana holds the atmosphere in trust for the present and future citizens of the state of…

Environmental Rights in State Constitutions

The constitutions of more than three-quarters of the countries on earth have explicit reference to environmental rights or responsibilities In the last several years courts in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia, Pakistan, Nepal and Colombia…

How youth climate court cases became a global trend

This week Germany’s supreme court ruled that the country’s climate law is partly unconstitutional and ordered the government to draw up clear emissions reduction targets after 2030.


18 California children sue EPA over climate change

By Alex Wigglesworth   12/13/23  
Eighteen California children are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by allowing pollution from burning fossil fuels to continue despite knowing the harm it poses to kids.
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The Kids Who Sued Montana Over Climate Change and Won Say It’s Just the Start

By Ninis Twumasi   12/12/23  
n 2020, 16 plaintiffs, ages 5 to 22, took the state of Montana to court for, they said, violating their right to a clean environment, which is enshrined in the state’s constitution. This year, after…
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DOJ: Montana climate ruling doesn’t help Juliana lawsuit

By Lesley Clark   09/13/23  
The Biden administration has told a court that a big youth-led climate victory in Montana should have no bearing on a similar lawsuit lodged against the federal government.
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Children Have a Right to Sue Nations Over Climate, U.N. Panel Says

By Somini Sengupta   08/28/23  
Young people around the world are increasingly taking their governments to court for failing to reduce climate pollution, and on rare occasions, they are winning. This week, their efforts received an endorsement from an independent…
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The Montana climate kids’ lawsuit has energized activists, including this one

By Kate Selig   08/27/23  
During a quiet Monday morning at home in Flagstaff, Ariz., Tia Hatton took a break from work and checked social media. What she saw left her stunned and exhilarated. “The Montana kids won!” she repeated…
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Young Evangelical Activists Face A Key Climate Barrier: Their Elders

By Bekah MCNeel   08/23/23  
In the year 2050, when today’s 3-year-olds will be 30-year-olds, climate scientists expect the height of the slowly unfolding climate disaster to have arrived. The specifics vary slightly, but most experts warn that some regions…
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Montana youth climate ruling could set precedent for future climate litigation

By Nathan Rott and Seyma Bayram   08/23/23  
A Montana judge's historic ruling in a climate lawsuit brought by 16 young plaintiffs could have implications for future climate litigation, legal experts say.
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With TikTok and Lawsuits, Gen Z Takes on Climate Change

By David Gelles   08/19/23  
As Kaliko Teruya was coming home from her hula lesson on August 8, her father called. The apartment in Lahaina was gone, he said, and he was running for his life. He was trying to…
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LEVER TIME: Montana’s Monumental Climate Win

By Frank Cappello   08/17/23  
This past Monday, a judge in Montana ruled that young people are entitled to a “clean and healthful” environment. The case, known as Held v. Montana, included 16 plaintiffs ages 5 to 22 who testified…
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Judge Rules in Favor of Montana Youths in Landmark Climate Case

By David Gelles and Mike Baker   08/16/23  
A group of young people in Montana won a landmark lawsuit on Monday when a judge ruled that the state’s failure to consider climate change when approving fossil fuel projects was unconstitutional.
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Climate Change Was on Trial in Montana

By David Gelles   08/15/23  
The state of Montana has a constitutional obligation to protect its residents from climate change. That was the stunning ruling from a judge who delivered a landmark decision on Monday. It compels Montana, a major…
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Young environmental activists prevail in first-of-its-kind climate change trial in Montana

By Amy Beth Hanson and Matthew Brown   08/15/23  
Young environmental activists scored what experts described as a ground-breaking legal victory Monday when a Montana judge said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel…
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Judge rules in favor of Montana youths in landmark climate decision

By Kate Selig   08/14/23  
The court determined that a provision in the Montana Environmental Policy Act has harmed the state’s environment and the young plaintiffs by preventing Montana from considering the climate impacts of energy projects. The provision is…
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We Won

Today, for the first time in United States history, a court ruled on the merits of a case that the government violated the constitutional rights of children through laws and actions that promote fossil fuels,…
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Sweeping Constitutional Win for Held v. State of Montana Youth Plaintiffs

In an historic first, Judge Kathy Seeley in the First Judicial District Court of Montana ruled wholly in favor of the 16 youth plaintiffs in Held v. State of Montana, declaring that the state of…
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Montana judge rules in favor of youth in historic climate change lawsuit

By Jacob Knutson   08/14/23  
A judge in Montana ruled on Monday that the state violated the state constitutional rights of 16 young people by promoting the use of fossil fuels and ignoring the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, which…
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Montana Kids Just Won Their Landmark Climate Lawsuit. Here’s Why.

By Dana Drugmand   08/14/23  
Sixteen young Montanans have accomplished something unprecedented in U.S. history – holding their government accountable for exacerbating the climate crisis and thereby violating their fundamental constitutional rights. In a ruling released August 14, 2023, district…
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Judge rules in favor of Montana youths in landmark climate decision

By Kate Selig   08/14/23  
In the first ruling of its kind nationwide, a Montana state court decided Monday in favor of young people who alleged the state violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment” by promoting the…
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The Montana youths behind a historic climate lawsuit, and the places they love

By Kate Selig   08/05/23  
It has been described as “landmark” litigation, “groundbreaking” and “first-of-its-kind.” But behind one of the nation’s most watched climate lawsuits — aimed at demonstrating that Montana’s promotion of fossil fuels violates the state’s constitution —…
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Youth in Hawaii get court date for 2nd U.S. climate trial

By Lesley Clark   08/04/23  
Young people suing Hawaii’s transportation agency for contributing to climate change will go to trial next June, becoming the second group of youth in the United States to take their government to court over global…
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Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review

Climate litigation represents a frontier solution to change the dynamics of the fight against climate change. This Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review shows that people are increasingly turning to the courts to combat…
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In a Montana Courtroom, Debate Over Whether States Can Make a Difference on Climate Change, and if They Have a Responsibility to Try

By Richard Forbes   06/28/23  
At the close of the final day of their lawsuit against Montana for its failure to rein in development of fossil fuels in the state and slow climate change, all but one of the 16…
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The six big surprises in the Montana youth climate trial

By Karin Kirk   06/26/23  
Montana’s landmark youth-led climate trial entered its second week June 19, and attention turned to lawyers for the state of Montana as they lined up to make their case. The plaintiffs’ case the previous week…
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Why the Montana Climate Kids Can’t Lose

By Neel Dhanesha   06/23/23  
When Lander Busse spoke to the press after closing arguments in Held v. Montana, a trailblazing youth-led climate case that wrapped on Tuesday, he sounded optimistic.
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5 takeaways from historic Montana climate trial

By Lesley Clark   06/23/23  
Sixteen young people who sued the state of Montana over its deference to the fossil fuel industry wrapped up the nation’s first youth-led climate trial earlier this week and now await a ruling. Eleven of…
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Defense arguments are set to open in a landmark climate case brought by Montana youth

By Ellis Juhlin   06/19/23  
Attorneys for the State of Montana said Friday they will not call one of their top expert witnesses in the only youth climate lawsuit to make it all the way to trial in the U.S.
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Inside the unexpectedly wild landmark Montana youth climate trial

By Karin Kirk   06/15/23  
When I got an assignment to cover the landmark youth climate lawsuit that went to trial in Montana this week, I thought I was going to be able to pop in, grab some salient quotes,…
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‘It’s time for my government to take action’: A conversation with a youth plaintiff in Held v. Montana

By Akielly Hu   06/14/23  
Hello, and welcome to Part 2 of our series on personal action in the face of climate change. (Check out Part 1 here, looking at why individual action is a fraught concept, and how individuals…
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‘My life and my home’: young people start to testify at historic US climate trial

By Dharna Noor   06/13/23  
The US’s first-ever trial in a constitutional climate lawsuit kicked off on Monday morning in a packed courtroom in Helena, Montana.
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A Landmark Youth Climate Trial Begins in Montana

By Mike Baker   06/12/23  
A landmark climate change trial opened on Monday in Montana, where a group of young people are contending that the state’s embrace of fossil fuels is destroying pristine environments, upending cultural traditions and robbing young…
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Historic Climate Trial: Held v. State of Montana

The first-ever constitutional climate trial in the U.S. - led by Montana youth - has begun!
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Montana Repeals State Energy Policy as Climate Trial Nears

By Dana Drugmand   04/03/23  
Montana has repealed its 30-year-old energy policy – including a 2011 amendment that prioritized fossil-fuel development. The move comes as a June trial date approaches for a youth-led climate lawsuit against the state.
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This will be the world’s first ever climate trial of a state transportation system

“These 14 youth are making history. For the first time ever on our planet, these young people in Hawaiʻi are holding their state transportation department accountable for its actions that worsen the climate crisis and…
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In Montana, it’s youth vs. the state in a landmark climate case

By David Gelles   03/24/23  
Sixteen young Montanans have sued their state, arguing that its support of fossil fuels violates the state Constitution....
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Is a healthy environment a ‘fundamental right’? Utah Supreme Court to hear climate case

By Kaitlyn Bancroft   03/17/23  
Natalie R. v. State of Utah was filed by Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit public interest law firm that provides campaign-based legal services to youths seeking to "secure their legal rights to a safe climate,"…
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First Court Hearing in Historic Youth Climate Rights Case Held in Hawai‘i

Youth plaintiffs and their attorneys in the constitutional climate case Navahine F. v. Hawai‘i Department of Transportation appeared today before the Honorable Judge Jeffrey P. Crabtree at the First Circuit Environmental Court in Honolulu to…
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Utah dismisses youth climate case. But it’s not over

By Kylie Mohr   12/08/22  
Last month, a Utah judge dismissed a suit brought by a group of children and teenagers who alleged that the state was shortening their lives by authorizing fossil fuel developments. The plaintiffs’ lawyers, however, say…
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First ‘Kids’ Climate Trial Will Be Heard in Montana

By Lesley Clark   10/05/22  
Young people suing the state of Montana over the effects of climate change are expected to go to trial next June, becoming the first youth climate activists in the U.S. to argue their case in…
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Kids’ climate change lawsuit tossed by Virginia judge

By Clark Mindock   09/20/22  
A Virginia state judge has tossed a lawsuit filed on behalf of 13 young people who claim a state law that promotes fossil fuel development violates their constitutional rights, finding the government is immune to…
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State judge dismisses youth climate suit; due process questions raised

By Patrick Larsen   09/16/22  
A lawsuit brought by 13 young people against the state of Virginia for past and ongoing permitting of fossil fuel projects was dismissed by Richmond Circuit Court Judge Clarence N. Jenkins on Friday.
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Youth-Led Climate Change Lawsuits Are a Tactic to Hold Governments Responsible

By Ray Levy Uyeda   07/25/22  
Rikki Held grew up on a 7,000-acre ranch in Broadus, Montana, where she learned the family business of ranching, hunted deer and elk, and played in the river that cut through the land. But drought,…
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14 Hawai‘i Youth File New Climate Lawsuit Against Their State Transportation Department

Today, 14 young people filed a new constitutional climate lawsuit against the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT); HDOT Director Jade Butay; Government David Ige; and the State of Hawai‘i. In Navahine F. v. Hawai‘i Department…
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Youth-led climate change lawsuits are increasing across the country

By Eric Fayeulle   04/23/22  
Ava Lazar made her first climate documentary at age 11. "When I was little, my older sister was very concerned about climate change, and I didn't really know what it was,” said Lazar. “But she…
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Date set for first youth-led climate trial in U.S. history 

By Lucas Thompson   02/07/22  
For the first time in U.S. history, a youth-led climate change lawsuit will go to trial. In Held v. State of Montana, 16 youth plaintiffs have sued the state over its energy policy, alleging that…
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