The issue of climate change has been a major feature in public discourse for more than twenty-five years and the debate has vociferously engaged scientists, politicians, and the general public. Climate change is impacting the local, state, national and global levels,ranging from the loss of coastal land in Massachusetts to the loss of permafrost in Alaska. The challenge to addressing the crisis that these climate change impacts are presenting has inspired various proposals, both legal and scientific. The 2012 case Alec L.v. Jackson has brought the issue of Atmospheric Trust Litigation and potential claims for injury due to climate change to the forefront. This article analyzes the Atmospheric Trust Litigation theory for its viability as a potential remedy to address the issue of climate change by looking at the potential obstacles presented by the Public Trust Doctrine.
Andrew Ballentine, Full of Hot Air: Why the Atmospheric Trust Litigation Theory Is an Unworkable Attempt to Expand the Public Trust Doctrine Beyond Its Common Law Foundations, 12 Dartmouth L.J. 98 (2014)