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Poll: Should courts hold states accountable for climate change?

BY   April 18, 2015 at 12:57 PM EDT
Smoke stacks from the NRG power plant outside of Jewett, Texas.  Photo by Nick Simonite/Associated Press

Smoke stacks are seen from the NRG power plant outside of Jewett, Texas. An Oregon-based environmental group is using a legal strategy called “atmospheric trust litigation” to try to force governments to take action on climate change. Photo by Nick Simonite/Associated Press

A new take on climate-change activism is spreading across the globe.

Frustrated by the slow pace of progress, an Oregon-based environmental group is using a novel legal strategy called “atmospheric trust litigation”  to try to force governments to take action on climate change.

The group is using an ancient legal theory called the “public trust doctrine” to argue governments must take broad steps to protect the atmosphere.

The group we profile on Saturday’s NewsHour Weekend, Our Children’s Trust, has brought lawsuits against the federal government and 15 states, but many of them have been dismissed.

While some state judges have been receptive to the idea that atmosphere could be considered a natural resource, no judge has yet forced a state government to take such action.


What do you think? Take our poll above and weigh in in the comments section.

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