UCLA National Youth v Gov Law Suit Discussion and Responses


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Required Discussion: National Youth v. Gov. law suit – Discussion Group 1


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Note:  This is a required assignment worth 10 possible points of the 1000 points total for the course.


Read all of the guidance and discussion prompts below. 

Before watching the provided resources for this assignment, review the discussion questions below.

Create an outline for yourself (essentially a Word document with the questions). Use your outline while watching the provided videos, so you only need to watch them once.

While watching, it may be helpful to write down the time stamp when each discussion question is discussed, in case you need to hear those parts again. It is good to describe specific items from the resources in your responses as this helps to show what you learned.

Fully respond to each question, composing your answers in a Word document.

Use separate paragraphs for each of the points listed below.

Remember to follow the Discussion Board Rubric in the three dots on the upper right to make sure you get all possible points.

We are looking forward to hearing what you learn!

Note: Use your own words. All Discussion posts and Lab submissions must be written in your own words, even if you work through the course or lab material with someone else in the class. Also do not copy from subtitles. See Plagiarizing Definitions and Consequences (Start Here module) for more information.

Part I – Atmospheric Trust Litigation – Resources

  1. Watch the following video related to the Atmospheric Trust Litigation, which is at the heart of the important Youth v. Gov. case out of Eugene, Oregon:
  2. Bill Moyer Overview of the case, 2017 (video, 25:15):  Climate Crusade (with captions????????)
  3. Then, watch/review at least one of the videos or articles provided below:
  4. 2018, Washington Post Article:  Supreme Court Refuses to Block Kids Climate Lawsuit Against US Government (2018)
  5. 2019, 60 Minutes video (13.46):  The Climate Change Lawsuit That Could Stop the US Government from Supporting Fossil Fuels. and a link to the first video on that page: Juliana v. Gov clip on 60 Minutes (13:46) (????????) (with captions????????)
  6. January 2020: Sharply Divided 2:1 Ruling of Only Three Judges (2-page summary)
  7. PDF Overview (????????)

Latest News 

November 20, 2020 (The Guardian):  European States Ordered to Respond to EU Youth Activists’ Climate Lawsuit 

February 2021:  Youth Activists Will Take Climate Case to US Supreme Court (????????) (2-page summary)

In a scathing dissent to the 2020 ruling (????????), Judge Josephine Staton wrote that, “The government accepts as fact that the United States has reached a tipping point crying out for a concerted response yet presses ahead toward calamity. It is as if an asteroid were barreling toward Earth and the government decided to shut down our only defenses.” she added. “Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the nation.”

Part 2: Discussion Questions

1. Atmospheric Trust Litigation (3 pts)

What is Atmospheric Trust Litigation? How is this similar to a financial trust where a lawyer watches over an older persons’ assets until they are transferred to their beneficiaries when they die. Is it legal for the lawyers to spend the money in the trust?

1 The Atmospheric Trust Litigation is a legal system that mainly about that the government should have responsibilities to manage and protect natural resources on earth. Based on this litigation the government needs to protect the present and future atmosphere, living creatures, plants, water system, and so on, for its citizens and citizens’ offspring.

This litigation is similar to a financial trust as it is future-oriented. The government needs to protect the natural system for the future generation just as the financial trust need to protect assets for the offspring of their clients. The next generations are the beneficiaries. It is illegal for both lawyers and the government to spend the money and use up the natural system in the trust.

In my opinion, the government does not “own” the atmosphere. The government can be regarded as the trustee, it can only manage and protect the atmosphere. The natural resource is a heritage to all future generations. The public and future public “own” the atmosphere rather than the government.

Based on the concept that the government does not “own” the atmosphere, it makes me feel that those developed nations destroying our resources are illegally stealing our assets. In my opinion, it is unethical behavior to use up or destroy natural resources. Their duty is to protect them for the future generation, rather than using them up for short-term interest.


  1. The Atmospheric Trust Litigation is applied similarly to the public trust doctrine, where it helps litigate the government in order to prevent improper use of materials, and helps with the issue of climate change. The government should be in control and focus on helping the planet and the Earth’s atmosphere instead of worrying about other companies wanting to use such resources or destroy the resources for their own gain and benefit, while the legislation gets paid off by companies, and corporations to allow them to do so. They are supposed to want to help save, and cannot transfer or allow use of materials for the sake of future generations and for the public’s use.It is similar to the idea of lawyers, because of mismanagement. There are unethical reasons to spend a client’s money, but since they are in charge legally they can spend the money as long as it has been earned. This is similar to the issue of the atmospheric trust litigation because of the ideas of being mismanaged and not being used for the client or the public’s best interest, instead they are being bought out and are used for unethical purposes.
  2. I don’t think the government ‘owns’ the atmosphere per say. I think that since the atmospheric trust litigation is a public doctrine the government needs to be aware and follow the rules of not allowing it to be used or transferred for money or corporations, as it is for future generations. The atmosphere is the publics and it should be the government’s job to properly keep safe, anf out of disruptive hands in order to keep secure and well enough for future generations to enjoy.
  3. It makes me upset. For me it reminds me of my own shortcomings with having certain people in charge of certain things growing up. As a child I gave all my birthday and Christmas money to my mother for her to put into my savings account so that I could be set when I turned 18, and only to find out at the age of 18 she had been taking the money out and I was left with 23 cents. It’s absurd that people think that since they are in charge of something that they have a right to use it as if it is theirs when it is not. I am very upset with how the government makes innocent things into political gains.

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