Should the atmosphere be considered part of the public trust, a resource essential for our collective survival? An Iowa judge, for one, thinks that there is good reason and precedent.
Last May, a group of young Americans, fed up with government inaction on climate change, decided to sue to protect their future. The group, led by 16-year old Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming and the iMatter campaign, filed legal actions against the federal government and 49 states, seeking to force the states and federal government to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to levels deemed necessary by the best available science.
Earlier today, a D.C. District Court judge ruled that the National Association of Manufacturers and other polluter interests can intervene on the government's behalf to argue that they have the right to keep on dumping carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
So the case is sure to prove controversial and the world will be watching to see how the courts handle the matter in the weeks and months to come.
As Loorz, now 17, explained to me last week, the decision to sue the government came only after seeing the failures of the Executive and Legislative branches in addressing the problem.