Position Statement on Global Warming
and the Rule of Law

“No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” — Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights, Fifth Amendment.

Introduction
 
  • The government has known for 50 years that fossil fuel emissions are causing global warming but failed to take effective action. Three decades ago, world leaders came close to reaching a binding agreement, but without time pressure to act, the problem was left to the next generation to solve.
     
  • Our generation is now challenged with solving this difficult problem as we begin to experience human-caused climate changes first predicted a generation ago. Although today’s costs are manageable, our children face irrevocable harm: the loss of valuable coastal land and cities due to sea level rise, collapse of natural ecosystems, and escalating damage costs leading to an ever-declining standard of living.
     
     


    On the left: Earth from 1 million miles in space. Buried remains of plants and animals, formed over hundreds of millions of years, formed vast geologic deposits of fossil fuels.  The burning of fossil fuels is releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are warming the Earth.  By absorbing 90% of the heat and much of the emitted CO2 over the past 50 years, oceans have slowed atmospheric warming, but the resulting acidification and warmer water are killing off marine ecosystems, intensifying storms and raising sea levels.

    On the right: Earth’s atmosphere is an extremely thin sheet of air, seen from 200 miles in space as the blue band above the surface.  The atmosphere shields the earth from intense radiation and moderates the climate.  Fossil-fuel emissions and deforestation are changing the atmosphere, leading to global warming.  Climate scientists say we must act now to rapidly reduce fossil fuel emissions, or face irreversible changes to the climate that will impoverish today’s children and future generations.   Photos -  NASA.
     
  • Humans evolved to deal with immediate crises, but postpone dealing with issues that extend beyond a generation (e.g. person’s life or the election cycle in democracies). Thus far, actions taken to address global warming are incremental and insufficient. Scientists conclude with 99.9999% certainty that global warming is human caused. The oceans have served as a sink by absorbing the main greenhouse gas and much of the additional warmth. A decade ago scientific research revealed with 100% certainty that fossil fuel emissions are causing ocean acidification that harms marine life. It is not enough to act, we have to act now to avoid irreversible changes to the climate that will impoverish today's children and futrue generations.
     
  • The main challenge in addressing global warming is to convince society about the urgency without being dismissed as alarmist.
     
  • This position paper lays out the Walker Foundation’s strategy of addressing climate change by supporting court action enforcing legal protections in the U.S. Constitution, and through common law. Although they are not entitled to vote, and therefore have little political influence, children are entitled to equal protection under the law. Foundation grants fund attorneys representing the rights of today’s children and future generations to a stable climate and healthy oceans.
     
  • The Foundation supports a science-based reduction in emissions sufficient to stabilize the climate and ensure healthy oceans and a healthy atmosphere for today’s children and future generations.
     
  • The Foundation trustees are hopeful that if forced to act, the public and political leaders will seek market-based, cost-effective solutions. The Foundation is supporting economic research on how to design these solutions.
     
  • Rather than achieving emission reductions by shrinking the economy, the Foundation is supporting the market-based approach of putting a price on pollution by taxing carbon. The Foundation also supports accelerated government funding of research and development, leading to a clean-energy economy that includes safe nuclear power.
     
  • The Foundation is supporting an expansion of electricity generation to improve global living standards, and to transition transportation and industry away from reliance on fossil fuels.
     
  • Pollution is waste. Putting a price on pollution incentivizes industry to develop cleaner, healthier, and more efficient methods of production, leading to a high standard of living.
     
  • Increased productivity creates economic growth ... Increases in productivity allow firms to produce greater output for the same level of input, earn higher revenues, and ultimately generate higher Gross Domestic Product. 1
  1. Increased productivity creates economic growth, The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development.

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