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Greta goes to court: ‘Suing world leaders in landmark climate lawsuit’ – ‘Potentially world-changing climate complaint’

UNITED NATIONS—On Monday, Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people filed a potentially world-changing climate complaint. On an abnormally steamy day in New York, when sweat built on the brows of the dark-suited diplomats funneling into the United Nations for a major climate summit, the group of teens cranked up the heat even further.

They announced that they’re suing five of the world’s major carbon polluters on the grounds that the countries are violating their rights as children. If the suit is successful, the United Nations would classify the climate crisis as a children’s rights crisis. And more importantly, it would compel Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey—the five countries named in the suit—to work with other nations to forge binding emissions’ reduction targets, a sharp change from current international efforts that have so far basically rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic.

“This is all wrong, I shouldn’t be up here,” Thunberg said, addressing the General Assembly and shaking with rage. “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 youth climate activism movement has over the past year exploded prior notions of what’s possible in the realm of climate politics. Greta Thunberg’s solitary strike outside the Swedish parliament every Friday starting last August has spawned a global movement. This past Friday, an estimated 4 million young adults and their supporters took to the streets around the world to demand climate action.

“Young people above all—young people are providing solutions, insisting on accountability, and demanding urgent action,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said opening the Climate Action Summit. “They are right.”