Climate Change on Trial: An Earth Day Conversation with Julia Olson, Lead Attorney for Landmark Children's Climate Lawsuit

featuring feature Julia Olson, Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel for Our Children's Trust.

Olson Event 4-22-19

Images from the Program

Today's young people and their children and grandchildren will bear the brunt of global warming. The effects American communities are experiencing today – heat waves, sea-level rise, extreme rainfall, crop failures, and wildfires – will worsen over time.  

In 2015, 21 youth plaintiffs filed suit against the federal government, arguing that by subsidizing fossil fuels and failing to control greenhouse gas emissions the United States is violating the children's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. The innovative case, Juliana v. United States, has survived two appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, but government lawyers continue to fight to prevent the case from ever heading to trial.

At an Earth Day event hosted by UCLA School of Law's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Julia Olson, Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel for Our Children's Trust, and lead attorney for the youth plaintiffs, will deliver an evening lecture to discuss this groundbreaking case. Olson's work has been profiled in 60 Minutes, The Washington Post, CNN, Vogue, NPR, and many other leading media outlets. University of Oregon Law Professor Mary Wood told The New York Times, "she has built not just a case, but a movement."

Following the lecture, UCLA Emmett Institute Faculty Director and Shapiro Law Professor Ann Carlson will moderate a discussion and Q&A with the speaker. A reception will precede the event. The event is open to the public.

The event is co-sponsored by UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA Sustainability, and the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge. 

April 22, 2019 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA


Julia Olson, Executive Director & Chief Legal Counsel, Our Children's Trust

Julia Olson graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993 with a B.A. in International Affairs and from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, with a J.D. in 1997. Julia worked for 15 years representing grassroots conservation groups in the West. She helped protect rivers, forests, parks, wilderness, wildlife, organic agriculture and human health. After becoming a mother, and realizing the greatest threat to her children and children everywhere was climate change, she began focusing her work in that field and founded Our Children's Trust. Her work has led her to the intersection of human rights and environmental protection and she is passionate about working for youth. Julia also teaches environmental courses as an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Ann Carlson, Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and the Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law.

Ann Carlson is a leading scholar of climate change and air pollution law and policy, the co-author of a top casebook on Environmental Law (with Dan Farber and William Boyd), and the co-editor, with Dallas Burtraw, of a forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press, Lessons from the Clean Air Act: Building Durability and Flexibility into U.S. Climate and Energy Policy. She has published numerous articles in leading law reviews, including California, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, and UCLA. Carlson is currently serving as the Speaker of the California Assembly's representative to the Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee. She is a frequent media commentator and blogs at Legal Planet. She is the recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching and the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching, and is the 2017 University of California Sustainability Champion. Carlson is a magna cum laude graduate of both UC Santa Barbara and Harvard Law School.

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