This Monday, 16 children, including the now-world-famous Greta Thunberg, filed an unprecedented complaint with the United Nations, relating to carbon emissions. The suit was filed after Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
The teenagers who filed the complaint come from 12 different countries, but it is not clear how the teens met or began organizing together.
The complaint names Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey, stating that these five counties must be “compelled” to significantly reduce their emissions.
The complaint is filed under the “Convention on the Rights of the Child,” stating that the human rights of children are being violated by countries who have large carbon outputs.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words — and yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying,” Thunberg said during her speech on Monday, according to CNN.
“The message that we want to send is that we’ve had enough,” she added.
The United States and China are both absent from the complaint, despite contributing to a large percentage of the global carbon output. These countries could not be compelled through this treaty because they have not ratified it to allow children to seek justice for potential violations. The countries who were named are not necessarily the largest polluters in the world, they just happen to be the largest who are signed onto the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” treaty.
Meanwhile, protesters in Washington DC are blocking roads and attempting to shut down the city for climate change demonstrations. This was all after major protests in cities throughout the world last week, which were called the largest climate change protests in history. It is estimated that roughly 4 million protesters were spread throughout the world for the demonstrations last week.
I’m in downtown DC where climate activists with Extinction Rebellion have blocked the intersection of K and 16th streets with a big sailboat that says “rebel for life.” @WTOP @WTOPtraffic #ShutDownDC pic.twitter.com/NWIO1aRvM3
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) September 23, 2019
However, the complaint, and many of these protests, seem to focus exclusively on carbon emissions, and fail to address the many other environmental problems, including plastic contamination or the loss of biodiversity across the world, each of which represents very serious problems for future life on earth. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for a large amount of pollution, but solving the ecological crisis faced by the world is much more complex than just reducing carbon emissions.
Image Credit: © UNICEF