Reaping What They Sue

Green Kids

An interesting article from DR today:

Teens Sue Sweden for Betraying Climate: How It’s Gone in Three Similar Cases, Simon Andersen Nielsen,, February 13

It begins with events in Sweden and looks at three similar cases, in Ireland, Holland, and Norway, and explores what it all could mean for Denmark.

A group of young people wants to drag the Swedish state to court for not doing enough in the fight against climate change.

The young people have formed the association Auroramålet (The Aurora Goal), and want to sue the state for not living up to its goal of significantly reducing CO2 emissions by 2030.

Take a bunch of coddled kids who’ve been raised with Europeans’ invincible faith in the state, add in a surprisingly American faith in lawsuits, brainwash them through years of public schooling to believe that the climate is on the brink of inevitable collapse, and this is what you get.


In the Netherlands, the environmentalist Urgenda Foundation along with 900 Dutch civilians sued the state to lower its CO2 emissions, claiming that the government target of reducing emissions from the 1990 levels by 17% before 2020 was inadequate.

They won in court, and on appeals, and finally got the Dutch Supreme Court to order the state to reduce emissions by 25 percent in the same time frame.


Things in Ireland followed a similar course when the youthful environment group Friends of the Irish Environment sued the government for not being specific enough in laying out how they would achieve their climate targets by 2050.

Last July, the Irish Supreme Court ordered the government to lay out the specifics.


Just this past December, Norway’s Supreme Court heard a similar case: Greenpeace and a bunch of Norwegian youths had sued the state for betraying their constitutionally guaranteed well-being by allowing oil drilling in the Barents Sea.

The Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs, arguing that the Norwegian government’s climate activities in other areas meant that the Barents Sea drilling was just one small variable in a much larger equation: that, in other words, drilling didn’t have to be stopped for Norway to meet its climate commitments.


Andersen Nielsen then wraps things up with what it all means for Denmark (using Google Translate here to save time, instead of translating myself). The woman he cites, Annemette Fallentin Nyborg, is a Danish scholar who’s writing her PhD on climate law cases at Copenhagen University.

Denmark is already involved in a case before the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.

Here, six young Portuguese have summoned 33 European countries amid devastation caused by climate change.

Global warming is already affecting Portugal a lot. Among other things in the form of droughts and forest fires.

The young Portuguese want the European countries to live up to their responsibility to curb climate change.

The case has already been allocated a place on a “fast-track” scheme because the court considers the case important.

It is too early to predict how the trial in Strasbourg will turn out, but it may have great significance for the countries involved, assesses Annemette Fallentin Nyborg.

Also Denmark.

“If the Human Rights Court takes the side of the young Portuguese, it will set a very clear tone in relation to future trials. It will send a signal that it is a human right to be protected from climate change. And that all countries can be held accountable,” she says.

If all countries can be held accountable, why are only 33 named in the Human Rights Court Case?

If in fact there’s a “human right to be protected from climate change,” then the very nature of climate makes it a global issue, meaning everyone’s a defendant. And yet if the plaintiffs are arguing that it’s a human right, then everyone’s a plaintiff, or at least a party to the suit.

There is, however, no such thing as a “human right to be protected from climate change.” That people can pretend there is such a right without being laughed out of society means that what we really need is a human right to be protected from stupidity.

The youth of Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Norway, and Portugal (the SHPIN countries?) have inherited a world their great-grandparents couldn’t have dreamed of: their wealth and well being are in fact unprecedented in human history. That they’re even able to find time to throw their lawsuits together instead of having to work 80 hour weeks just to avoid starvation and homelessness is a testament to just how far we’ve come.

For a refreshingly pragmatic discussion of the scope of “climate change,” and what we can and should realistically do about it, take some time to watch this sober discussion between Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and prominent climate scientist Bjorn Lomborg of Denmark.

The real problem with the “youth” environmental movement is that those poor kids have been terrified into believing that the world is going to become unlivable within their lifetimes due to climate change. There’s no science to support that kind of paranoia, and never has been, but for anyone under twenty-five or thirty, it’s all you’ve ever heard: we’re doomed.

Their hysteria is therefore understandable: it’s the inevitably poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree that is climate alarmism.

Our own Eldest participated, with her school’s tacit approval, in the 2019 “school strike day” spearheaded by the deeply disturbed patron saint of climate hysteria, Saint Greta of Stockholm.

Herself and I didn’t try to stop her. Quite the contrary: we suggested she ask other demonstrators what they were specifically demonstrating against (or for), and what they wanted to achieve by demonstrating. And we told her that whatever she felt about the environment, her very presence was going to be used politically in ways she might not appreciate.

In the event, she told us pretty much everyone she met was there for the same reason she was: it was better than sitting in school all day. Her favorite sign that she’d seen, she informed us, was one that said (in Danish), “I’m just here to get out of school.”

Hysteria’s not a good thing. It’s counter-productive.

My own generation was raised, like the generation before us, under the Damocles’ Sword of nuclear annihilation. That threat still exists, even though we only seem to talk about it when there’s an American Republican in the White House.

Hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings don’t get enough food to eat; they’re a subset of the half a billion who live in extreme poverty ($1.90 per day, which is $693.50 per year). Millions around the world die every year of diseases that could have been prevented by vaccinations we take for granted in the west. About one in seven adults worldwide is illiterate.

Those are real problems right now. Climate change is a slow-rolling phenomenon whose magnitude is such that without grinding human civilization to a full stop, the best we can realistically hope to do is nibble around at its edges. (And as Lomborg points out, even ceasing all human activity related to carbon emissions tomorrow, which would be catastrophic in its own right, the ultimate impact would be negligible.) But poverty? Hunger? Ignorance? Those are problems we can do something about because we know exactly what they are, and who’s suffering, and what can be done to alleviate it.

If instead of flying in his private jet to receive an award for his climate heroism, John Kerry donated the cost of the flight to some struggling village in the form of livestock or agricultural improvements or medicine, he would actually be making a life-saving difference in human lives.

Lomborg also stresses the point of the gradual and incremental nature of climate change: we’re an extraordinarily adaptable species, and never more so than today. At one point he says something along the lines of, “People talk about this three or four degree increase in temperature like it’s going to happen overnight. That would be devastating, but that’s not what’s going to happen. These things are going to happen slowly. And yes, it’s going to eat up a lot of waterfront property, but not all in one catastrophic overnight rise of sea level. People act like people are going drop dead in Philadelphia because it’ll be too hot. But people aren’t dropping dead in Houston, and that’s already much warmer than Philadelphia will be in fifty years. People will survive because that’s what we do, we adapt and survive. There’ll be economic disruption as some places need more air conditioning, or more heating, and different house design, and that takes money away from other things, but that will happen naturally over time. It will have a real cost, about three to four percent of GDP will be spent on these kinds of adaptations, but it’s not going to kill us.”

I took a lot of liberties in that long paraphrase, but I don’t think I misrepresented anything Lomborg said or took anything out of context. And I think it’s worth stressing that neither he nor Crenshaw are denying climate change, or squabbling over particular findings: they’re taking climate change as a given, they’re even assuming a fairly substantial anthropogenic contribution, and they’re talking calmly about how best to prioritize our reaction to climate change alongside the other challenges we face (which is sort of Lomborg’s wheelhouse).

One certainty: we have been terrifying our children with all this talk of a doomed planet and end of days. Now they’re also being terrified of a disease that’s less likely to kill them than their own parents are. They’re being locked out of school and isolated at home. We’re damaging the hell out of our own kids.

Add all that up, and our biggest challenge is not the climate, or the pandemic, or nuclear war: it’s deprogramming this generation of western kids from all this ridiculous hysteria and fear. Because if, as the politicians like to remind us, children are the future, and the children are scared witless of existence, then the future is going to be a dark and terrible place.

Instead of suing for “climate justice,” they ought to sue us all for educational malpractice.

They’d have a much stronger case.