Representatives of nearly the entire U.S. fossil fuels industry lined up on Thursday to help the federal government wage a legal battle against a group of young people—aged 8 to 19—who are demanding climate policies that respect the rights of current and future generations.
The 21 young plaintiffs filed a landmark lawsuit against the federal government in August, in which they charged that, by permitting the ongoing extraction and burning of fossil fuels at an astronomical pace, the administration of President Barack Obama is violating the constitutional rights of current and future generations—and failing to protect the public trust.
"Instead of changing their business model to meet the scientific reality of climate change, these companies are demanding we adapt to an uninhabitable world that supports their profits,"
Lining up against the children is the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), and the American Petroleum Institute (API)—which together represent nearly every Big Oil company in the country, including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and Koch Industries.
The industry lobbyist groups explained their interest in the case by charging the lawsuit could "impair" their members.
Even limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times would submerge coastlines, cause the mass extinction of species and trigger extreme weather, according to Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and co-author of the report published today in the journal PLOS One.