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Rise Of Children Climate Activism Fuels Concern Over Political Exploitation

Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times

Kids are fast becoming the face of the climate change movement as teenagers, ‘tweens and even younger children file lawsuits, stage walkouts and lobby lawmakers. But newly released documents have raised questions about whether the students are being motivated or manipulated.

A cache of emails released Wednesday on Climate Litigation Watch showed that top climate activists at the 2012 La Jolla strategy session sought to involve children in a legal and civil offensive against the fossil fuel industry, which would include worldwide marches from the “youth climate movement.”

Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Christopher C. Horner, who obtained the emails via an open-records request with the University of Oregon, said the presentation contained in the email is more evidence that students have been used as props.

“It turns out that the frenzied street theater of children’s marches and schoolkids’ strikes was laid out behind closed doors years ago, at the organizational meeting of what became a climate litigation industry,” Mr. Horner said in an email.

Thousands of student activists are preparing to skip class Friday for the Youth Climate Strike, an international protest led by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who was nominated Wednesday by three Norwegian Socialist Left Party lawmakers for a Nobel Peace Prize.

“The adults have failed us,” Greta, 16, said in a statement. “And since most of them, including the press and the politicians, keep ignoring the situation, we must take action into our own hands.”

The U.S. student walkout has the blessing of more than a dozen leading liberal and climate groups, including former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, which organized the La Jolla gathering.

The slides presented at the closed-door meeting by University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood proposed “atmospheric trust litigation” that would be “linked to youth climate movement [worldwide marches]” and include “stories of youth plaintiffs.”

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