Thursday, October 20, 2016

Conserving the Future is a Matter of Public Trust - Project Coyote

Children suing state and federal governments argue climate change will be irreversible and current generations should not rob the next of a stable, predictable climate. Treves says the same argument can be made regarding wildlife extinction. Photo: Thomas Good

Last May, a group of children persuaded the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to compel the state government to regulate greenhouse gases. Their case was based on a claim that the atmosphere falls under a long-standing legal principle: the government is obligated to hold some resources in trust for public use, now and in the future.
“Atmospheric trust” lawsuits are also advancing in other state courts and two federal courts. Their arguments arise from common-law principles, as well as the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of intergenerational justice for the beneficiaries identified in its Preamble: “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
The U.S. Constitution does not specifically mention the environment, so marshaling it in such cases depends on a common law doctrine called the “public trust” – the concept that certain assets must be held in trust for our children and theirs. This doctrine has guided almost 200 years of U.S. jurisprudence.
The Massachusetts case is just one of many that might revolutionize how the U.S. and state governments preserve our climate, water, and wildlife...

more: Conserving the Future is a Matter of Public Trust - Project Coyote

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