Project Report:
Atmospheric Trust Campaign
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


We support a network of youth, lawyers and top scientists, economists and experts from around the world in multiple disciplines, to bring about systemic governmental action at the federal, state, and global domestic levels that drives systemic market incentives and public policy to place our society on a scientific prescription for atmospheric health, climate stability and ocean de-acidification.

60 Minutes Our Children's Trust
60 Minutes featured a special episode on Our Children's Trust and the Juliana vs. U.S. Climate Suit on Sunday, March 3, 2019.


As you know, at the federal level in the U.S., Our Children's Trust supports Juliana v U.S. - the landmark federal lawsuit that 21 youth plaintiffs have brought against the U.S. government asserting that the government’s actions have violated their basic rights. The U.S. District Court has already found in favor of the youth plaintiffs in Juliana, on the major legal questions in the case. In November, 2016 the Court ruled for the first time in history, that:

1. The U.S. Constitution secures the fundamental right to a climate system capable of sustaining life; and

2. The Court has authority to order the U.S. government to implement a science-based national climate recovery plan to stabilize our climate system and protect natural resources upon which future generations depend.

Since that historic ruling, the U.S. Government has tried relentlessly to dismiss the youths’ lawsuit, and to have the historic constitutional rulings referenced above undone on appeal. Three times in 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled resoundingly against three separate government attempts to do so, finding in favor of the youth each time that their case should advance to trial. Also in 2018, the government filed two highly unusual efforts to have even the U.S. Supreme Court intervene to stop the case before trial! On July 30, and again on November 2, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the youth, again refusing to halt the case. Nonetheless, as a result of those unsuccessful government delay tactics, the October 29, 2018 start date, set by the U.S. District Court as the date the 10 -12 week Juliana trial would begin, was delayed. And now, the full Juliana trial is again on hold as the U.S. Court of Appeals considers a subsequent effort by the government to undo those historic rulings, this time in the form of an interlocutory appeal. Oral argument on that interlocutory appeal is expected before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit during the first week of June, 2019, in Portland, Oregon. As a result, the youth have requested an urgent preliminary injunction, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to prevent additional climate harms by immediately halting all new coal leases on public lands, all new approvals for offshore oil and gas development, and all new permits and approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure, during the pendency of the interlocutory appeal.

When the Juliana case comes to trial, 22 preeminent international experts will testify in support of the youths’ case. Indisputable evidence will demonstrate that for more than 50 years, the U.S. Government has known that CO2 pollution from burning fossil fuels causes global warming and destabilizes the climate system on which all present and future generations depend. Despite this knowledge, the U.S. government actively promoted fossil fuel production, consumption and pollution for decades and failed to implement its own plans to reduce CO2 pollution in accordance with scientific prescriptions known to it. As a result, atmospheric CO2 increased dramatically, creating the grave climate destabilization and ocean acidification we face today. This federal lawsuit puts climate science squarely in front of the federal judiciary and asks the court to protect constitutional and public trust rights to a sustainable future. With the evidence strongly in their favor, the youth are well positioned to secure the remedy they seek: a court order that the U.S. government immediately develop and implement a national science-based climate recovery plan to stabilize our climate system and return atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350 parts per million before the year 2100.

To achieve coordinated science-based climate mitigation policy in individual states and in other nations, Our Children’s Trust also supports related youth climate actions against other national and state governments. Youth-led actions are now advancing in the national courts of India, Pakistan, Uganda, in the state courts of Oregon, Alaska, Washington, North Carolina, and Florida, and in several state administrative agencies. Underlying these actions are state and global domestic court rulings from related cases supporting government climate action, many brought by youth with the support of OCT. OCT is also actively working with youth and lawyers in multiple additional state and global domestic jurisdictions, to coordinate filing of additional parallel constitutional and public trust legal actions against those governments in the near future, each seeking court mandated science-based government action to mitigate the climate crisis.


We explore and advocate for market approaches that promote a sustainable economy as they relate to climate change, energy security, food production and other environmental matters.

Economic imbalances that favor carbon intensive goods and services continue to dominate our economy. We seek legal requirements to drive economic, market-based and governmental policy solutions that realign those imbalances toward a sustainable economy and stabilization of our climate system.

We seek a court ordered systemic, national, science-based climate recovery plan that we envision will include critical market based policies including: realignment of tax incentives and subsidies away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy; establishment of a carbon fee system reflecting the true costs of carbon intensive goods and services; allocation of R&D funding toward innovation that develops the market readiness and economic viability of new and existing climate stabilizing technologies; etc.


The scope of our work is global and transformative. We are advancing legal actions on behalf of all present and future generations to achieve systemic government policy at the federal, state, local and global domestic levels. Our media and organizing work is similarly focused at all of these levels. Because the climate crisis is simultaneously a global and local issue, governmental action and policy at all levels of government is crucial to achieve a meaningful solution. We are driving science-based governmental climate recovery action and policy by securing legal rights (constitutional and public trust) that mandate such action and policy at the governmental level.

Information Dissemination

In addition to efforts to keep Alex C. Walker Foundation directors informed through telephone and email communications, we also seek to disseminate information on the results of our efforts and to increase public awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis and the constitutional and public trust legal solutions to that crisis. We do this through our media, public education and organizing work. Recent major media outlet coverage of our work includes: National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Examiner, CNN, Forbes, Bloomberg, Outside, Think Progress, Reuters, The Guardian, Weather Channel. Links to all significant media coverage can be found at: We are pleased that 60 Minutes will also be featuring Juliana v. U.S. and the work of Our Children's Trust on its March 3, 2019 broadcast.

On October 28-29, 2018, we coordinated rallies in support of the Juliana lawsuit in all 50 states and in several international venues to bring attention to what was to be the first day of the Juliana trial on October 29. Though that trial start date was delayed by government efforts to appeal aspects of the case, we demonstrated global support for the Juliana youth plaintiffs nonetheless, bringing attention to the constitutional right to a safe climate system, and the Science-Based National Climate Recovery Plan the youth seek in their lawsuit. Additionally, our multi-segment podcast, No Ordinary Lawsuit, tells the story of the Juliana case and the youth, science and law involved. Oral argument of the government’s Petition for Interlocutory Appeal will be scheduled during the first week of June 2019, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. At that time, and at each significant court event, we will continue to rally support, and to publicize the evolving story of this ground-breaking case. Once in trial, we will host press conferences after each day of the 10 - 12 week Juliana trial, to ensure that the public is aware of the “trial of the century” and the constitutional impacts it has on their futures and those of the children in their lives.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$100,000.00 on 8/1/2018 (Check sent: 8/27/2018)

  Related Organizations
Our Children's Trust  

60 Minutes Our Children's Trust


Elizabeth Dickinson
Chief Development Officer, Our Children's Trust

Posted 3/21/2018 10:07 AM
Updated   3/8/2019 6:23 PM

  • Nonprofit

© 2024 Alex C. Walker Foundation