9-year-old Ridhima Pandey is leading the charge against climate change in the 1.25 billion strong nation of India. She has recently filed a legal case against the government for their incompetence on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels used in factories, vehicles, and agriculture. The petition also asks for the officials to be held responsible for their neglect of duty in the protection of Indian youth.
“My government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions,” Pandey said in a recent statement. “This will impact both me and future generations.”
The petition is filed at the India’s National Green Tribunal, that is a specialized court handling environmental issues. The lawsuit targets the Central Pollution Control Board of India the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate.
The lawsuit is akin to another youth-led legal case in the United States, where a group of 21 kids aged between 9 to 20 recently accused the U.S. government and energy companies of violating their
“constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property”
by failing to stem global warming.
Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust and the lead counsel in the U.S. climate lawsuit, said in an earlier statement that Pandey’s petition is more
“evidence of a global movement of youth rising up and taking their governments to court to seek protection of their fundamental rights to a stable climate system and demand science-based climate action,”
India notoriously hosts four of the world’s ten worst cities for air pollution. It is in the top three for world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, only to be topped by China and the United States.
“As a young person [Pandey] is part of a class that among all Indians is most vulnerable to changes in climate, yet are not part of the decision-making process,” according to the 52-page petition.
Pandey, who is the daughter of an environmental activist, follows suit of six Indian teenagers who filed a similar lawsuit over air pollution in New Delhi, India, which has the worst air quality in the country.
Pandey pleads to the tribunal to order the government and prepare a national climate recovery plan and a dedicated carbon budget.
“Children in India are now aware about the issues of climate change and its impact,” her attorney Rahul Choudary said in a statement. He added that Pandey “is simply asking her government to fulfill its own duty to protect the vital natural resources on which she and future generations depend on for survival.”