Greta Thunberg and 15 other young activists sue carbon-polluting countries over climate crisis

Greta Thunberg.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Sixteen adolescents, including Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, are suing five countries for violating their rights as children by not taking sufficient measures against climate change. But they don't want money, they want action.

The lawsuit was announced Monday shortly after Thunberg's emotional speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly. The five countries named are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey — the children filing the suit, all under 18, are from 12 different countries, including four of the five named in the suit, reports Gizmodo.

They claim the countries did not uphold the 30-year-old U.N. treaty Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the most widely ratified in history, and lays out rights to life, health, and peace.

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The plaintiffs expressed how climate change is negatively impacting them, ranging from worsening asthma to having to leave their homes for fear of running out of water — showing that pollution of the environment has no borders.

The complaint is to be heard by a committee of children's rights experts, and, if successful, the U.N. will classify the climate crisis as a children's rights crisis, according to Gizmodo. Then the five countries must exit the convention or address climate change.

Two of the largest carbon dioxide emitters, China and the United States, are not named, as they did not ratify the part of the treaty that allows children to file a suit against the countries signed onto the protocol. Read more at Gizmodo.

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