A nine-year-old girl has filed a court case against the Indian Government for failing to take ambitious action to tackle climate change. Ridhima Pandey’s lawyer told The Independent she was a “compassionate child” who wanted her Government to help protect the planet for future generations.
The northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, where Ridhima lives, has been devastated in the past three years by heavy rains, flash floods and frequent landslides, estimated to have killed thousands of people.
And Ridhima has argued that India, the world’s third carbon emitter, has failed to put into action the promises it made in signing and ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change. According to the World Bank, climate change will exacerbate the stress on India’s water sources, and the country is expected to suffer major health crises.
The case includes allegations based on India’s constitution, the public trust doctrine, intergenerational equity and the alleged non-implementation of four environmental laws dating back as far back as 1980.
Ridhima knows she will have to inherit her country’s growing climate disasters and she is frustrated not to be able to participate in the decision-making process. She has made it her mission to force her Government to prevent any further damage until she is old enough to help shape her country’s environmental polices.
“My Government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions. This will impact both me and future generations. My country has huge potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and because of the Government’s inaction I approached the National Green Tribunal,” she said.