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For Failing to Act on Climate Crisis, 13 Young Plaintiffs Just Sued the State of Washington


For Failing to Act on Climate Crisis, 13 Young Plaintiffs Just Sued the State of Washington

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A group of 13 youths just filed a lawsuit against the State of Washington's for breaching its constitutional and Public Trust obligations.

Why? Failure to act on climate change.


"What’s in our heart goes out to the world: that’s power."
Pearl Means


While it may be inspiring to see these young people advocated for the transition to cleaner sources of energy, someone really needs to teach these kids why we use the energy sources that we do and why the US energy portfolio is the way that it is today. This problem is not one of merely of political will, where politicians can just decide that their state is going to pursue an action. In order to make a successful plan you have make feasibility reports.

This suit of “A zero-CO2 energy and transportation system for Washington state can be achieved by 2050 without acquiring carbon credits from other states or countries” is not feasible as there aren’t any energy sources with zero CO2 emissions. Yes that’s right even wind and solar emit CO2 during their lifecycle. If you mean emissions during operation that’s another specification entirely, but that’s not what the suit states.

These claims made by so called experts “Experts have already concluded the feasibility of, and prepared a roadmap for, the transition of all of Washington’s energy use (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2050” do not translate to mean zero-CO2 emissions. Furthermore interesting how this article does not link the data to prove the feasibility of such a venture. What evidence are these expert claims based on?


We need to have a discussion of costs, though. Nowhere in this article is a discussion of what this “plan” to reach zero emissions by 2050 will cost the Washington state budget. Will probably be absolutely immense and raise taxes an extraordinary amount. The result is that people will leave for lower tax states and the state of Washington have the funds it originally projected to pay for the plan. So it will have to either raise taxes even more, leading to a spiraling effect or pull from other sources of revenue or programs. Not pretty. Yet no one discusses fiscal sanity on this website. It disappoints me.


Why aren’t SENIOR citizens coming together to sue Trump and Congress
for theft of SS funds?


Because most seniors are Republican conservative, Trumpy backing, Fox News, religious church going , over weight do nothings.
PS: I am a 75 year old progressive, environmental supporting, Buddhist. I pray every day for Trump to be perk walked into a maximum security prison along with his crime family.


I live on the Olympic peninsula in Washington State and I totally support these brave, concerned young citizens. It’s their world and our fault. Time to wake up. We act like the bunch of out of control monkeys we are!


Congrats on reaching 75 and being a progressive and environmentalist. I’m 69 and live in a town in Washington State which has become more and more popular as a retirement haven for oldsters such as ourselves. I have already seen a rise in luxury cars and custom houses being built and, even more to my point, a change toward more conservative politics. This has resulted in some bond issues and proposed small increases in taxes to help provide low-income housing to people without million-dollar portfolios being defeated. I have little interest in being part of “senior lunches” and other such functions as I have little in common with them, politically or economically.
Such a shame as I am of the opinion that, as you grow older and gain more experience and, hopefully, more knowledge, that you should become more progressive, not less. The current version of conservatism is a sellout of the human mind and spirit.


For most of us oldsters, our future is behind us (I’m 80) but our children and grandchildren are the future. Our generations have bequeathed a disaster to them, but they are beginning to realize this, and fight it. I wish them victory, and time for victory. This could be a better, more beautiful world and it is up to all of us to pull together and try to make it so.
*The total burden should not be on the children, but perhaps their example will light the way. Bless them all.


100% clean energy is very doable.

So what is the plan? Where is the action? Who is the leadership? Good intentions and eloquent talk will not protect the future of humanity. This lawsuit has merit and the young have standing.

– I am a 66 year old Washingtonian and as mad as hell at the violation of public trust.


If its so doable, how about you explain exactly what would be required in terms of units, expected production, cost and how much time is needed to complete construction?


How much time and money do you have for a tutor?

Chapters – Energy efficiency, district heating/cooling, bore hole seasonal heat storage, waste heat recovery, hydro power (WA is nearly 100% hydro), high voltage DC national grids, crop residue, public electric transport, solar power, wind power, geothermal power, solar heat, absorption chilling, hydrogen aircraft, zero energy buildings, solar steam industrial process heat, education/innovation, and so on. Average ROI 5% (about the same as housing) for $1tn/year capital investments. US fossil fuel use is about $1tn/year (6% of GNP).

Sweden retrofitted their entire country in about 15 years then held international conferences in Toronto, Seattle, (I attended both) and Stockholm. Most Americans have never heard of 100% heated cities using seasonal heat storage.

It is a do or die proposition.


Your assertion that no one on this site discusses fiscal sanity is both untrue and offensive. I, and many others, often comment on the net costs associated with the choices we make.

You’ve made lots of assumptions that the facts don’t support. As is often the case, you there “immense” costs, without identifying what those are and, more importantly you fail to account for the savings associated moving to a renewable energy-based system. Beyond, while you put the question of “what it costs” to us you fail to ask the most important part of the question – “as compared to what?” In the electricity system planning world, asking and answering this question is known as integrated resource planning (or IRP) and is the accepted standard for evaluating the costs and benefits associated with resource planning options and then comparing the net cost or benefit to the other options on the table.

A recent study for the Platte River Power Authority, concludes:

Based on the numbers reported in the study, the ZNC portfolio avoids the emission of 59.0
million tons of CO2, and has an additional cost (valued in the present) of roughly $220
million. This implies a mitigation cost of $3.73/ton of CO2. If we think of this mitigation cost
as analogous to a price on carbon, it would be roughly equivalent to adding a 3.7 cent/gallon
carbon tax on gasoline.

Spreading the same $220 million out over the 132 TWh of electricity generation PRPA
projects over the study period (roughly 4 TWh / year * 33 years = 132 TWh), would yield an
additional cost of 0.167 cents/kWh.

So the incremental cost of moving to a zero net carbon supply portfolio is $0.00167/kWh – this is less than the typical noise in utility fuel adjustments – i.e. less than the typical price volatility on your electric bill; hardly an “immense” cost as you assert.

I would add that this study does not account for health, environmental and climate costs avoided by moving to a zero net carbon system, so it grossly overstates the de minimis costs that it calculates.


See my reply to tvorandftc’s reply to your original comment above for an example of this type of analysis. You really ought to do some homework before you spread the misinformation contained in your comments.


Why did you choose to use a study based in Colorado as evidence for 100% renewable in Washington state? Talk about doing your homework…
Like you do realize that solar irradiance changes with higher latitudes. The data collected on potential generation and capacity for solar is inaccurate if youre using it as evidence in Washington.

This report doesn’t even compare pricing of hydropower, even though this resource makes up over 80% of generation in Washington according to the EIA. If you wanted to follow the PRPA study you would actually support incentives that undermine hydroelectric plants, as the study supports increased integration of hybrid grid structures for non-baseload power capacity.


I just went to a convenient and available report to demonstrate a point. I’m sure there are similar studies for Washington that have comparable results, especially given the high percentage of hydro available in Washington, although on quick review I haven’t found a zero net carbon study. There is a good IRP from E3 covering Washington and Oregon, that demonstrates significant CO2 reductions (80% by 2050), at increased electricity prices in the 6-12% range, depending on the strategy. Again these aren’t insurmountable cost increases and they don’t capture externality savings associated with avoided health care, environmental and climate costs, which could even turn those costs into savings. Also, note they are reducing 80% of carbon in a system that has a large share of near carbon-free resources already, primarily hydro, so they are wringing a large share of carbon out of the system.

If you have an IRP study showing a contrary result, please share it.


The problem is you took my comments that were mostly questions about this suit and evidence and portrayed them as misinformation. At no time did I ever say that a 100% renewable 2050 plan was impossible for the state of Washington. Instead I made the claim that a Zero-CO2 energy and transportation system for Washington State was impossible, because all energy sources emit CO2 during their lifecycle. For hydropower these plants require an extremely large amount of concrete and cement, which emits CO2 during manufacturing. So the idea that a 100% hydropower state would be CO2 free is inaccurate.

My second comment to which you made your original reply to, was a question on how exactly 100% clean energy was going to happen. I asked for more clarification in regards to how many units would need to be constructed, what the expected production or generation of energy would be, what the cost of this project would be and how much time would be needed to construct this plan of action. I’m not quite sure how you took a question to be an assertion of inaccurate information. The questions I ask are factors that need to be determined before any such plan is enacted by a state government.

The state of Washington is in a much better position to enact legislation towards a 100% renewable electric generation portfolio than most states due to the state’s high production from hydroelectric sources. However, given that the suit is made due to potential long term environmental costs, any such project that is asserted by the government needs to determine the net environmental cost of the project and compare these costs to the current portfolio of the state.

Plaintiff A establishes concerns of timber destruction and marine ecosystem damage. If we want to create a new energy portfolio that adheres to the concerns of Plaintiff A then it would be pertinent to make sure that our new energy resources don’t have a major effect on timber and fish. If we want to adhere to the concerns of Plaintiff A, perhaps it would not be a good decision to greatly increase biomass production to supplement natural gas as this energy resource could potentially have a greater impact on timber. This does not mean that we shouldn’t look into biomass production, but rather we should compare the costs of biomass to the costs of natural gas as it relates to timber.


Your IRP link does connect to any report btw…


river – Not quite sure that most seniors are Repug right wing, Trump fans, etal.
But many Americans have been lied to for so long by right wing propaganda about Social Security
that many are confused about it. I’ve actually spoken to one or more staff of right wing members of
Congress who didn’t know that SS costs the government nothing.
I do think that a lot of Social Security/retired put a lot of trust in AARP for leadership on SS issues…!!


The kids aren’t buying garbage feedback from corrupt government officials.
The reasons WHY are total corruption of government by right wing which continues to permit the burning of fossil fuels – and dangerous nuclear reactors.

While Congress and corrupt officials continue to lie to the public about energy for the benefit of monopoly control over our natural resources. All natural resources should be nationalized – and any use of those natural resources should be only by approval of citizens and any profits being returned to government/people.