Oregon teens take global warming to Oregon Supreme Court
EUGENE, Ore. - There's no place 16-year-old Kelsey Juliana feels more at home than walking and breathing in the fresh air of Oregon's outdoors.
"I was named after the outdoors, and I was born in the wilderness in Fall Creek," Juliana said. "It's just so beautiful."
But for this South Eugene High School student, she fears the fresh air in her home state could soon be disappearing.
"It's not looking too good if we continue living the way that we are," Juliana said.
Since the tender age of 10, Juliana has been studying the effects of climate change in Oregon and around the world.
"With climate change we're seeing high increases of drought, we're seeing higher intensity, and more frequent fires in Oregon," Juliana said.
About a year ago Juliana and Olivia Chernaik, another minor from Oregon, decided to file a lawsuit against Governor Kitzhaber and the State of Oregon. The lawsuit compelled the government to protect Oregon's natural resources as required by the Public Trust Doctrine.
"There are top leading scientists all over the world who are working very hard to present this case," Juliana said.
In order to preserve the climate, current climate science is calling for a return to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the century.
For the atmosphere to make it to that point, scientists said carbon dioxide emissions would need to be reduced by at least 6 percent per year. If action is not taken until 2020, carbon dioxide emissions would need to be reduced by at least 20 percent per year.
For now Juliana is just waiting and hoping that the Oregon Supreme Court listens to her plea.
"We are the upcoming leaders of this world and it really is our future that is at stake," Juliana said.
Juliana's lawyers filed their notice of appeal last week. No word on when or if any action will be taken.