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Children and Youth in Strategic Climate Litigation: Advancing Rights through Legal Argument and Legal Mobilization
Transnational Environmental Law  (IF3.925),  Pub Date : 2022-06-14, DOI: 10.1017/s2047102522000218
Elizabeth Donger

Children and young people constitute more than one quarter of all plaintiffs in rights-based strategic climate litigation cases filed globally up to 2021. This article examines the implications of this development for children's environmental rights inside and outside the courtroom, relying on the analysis of case documents, media coverage, and the broader literature on strategic climate litigation and children's rights. The article finds that children are well placed to make powerful arguments for intergenerational justice. Conversely, children's rights arguments that address their current-day grievances are under-utilized. More consistent inclusion of these types of claim could strengthen children's environmental rights, clarifying and enforcing legal obligations towards children in the context of the climate crisis as it unfolds. The involvement of children in strategic climate litigation, moreover, can advance the critical role of this demographic as stakeholder in climate solutions. However, the participation of children also raises ethical and practical dilemmas, which are currently poorly understood and only haphazardly addressed.