TALLAHASSEE -- Eight Florida students are suing Gov. Rick Scott and state agencies in a bid to force them to draw up a plan to combat the effects of climate change.

The lawsuit, filed in he Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, mirrors other complaints pursued by students by others parts of the country.

But the complaint states that Florida, because of its low-lying nature, is particularly vulnerable to changes in sea levels as a result of changes in the global climate.

William Large, of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, said he is concerned the "allegations in the complaint are not backed up by scientific evidence."

Among the claims in the complaints filed by the students is that, due to rising sea levels, salt water is finding its way into areas with human populations, Large said.

"How do you make that connection with alleged CO2 pollution," Large told the Florida Record. "They are using the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas ... they made a lot of allegations in the complaint that don't seem to be backed up by sufficient ultimate facts to prove the assertions that the kids are making."

Ultimate facts is a legal term for those that can be logically deduced at the end of a trial. 

The intergovernmental panel on climate change, the main international body overseeing research in this area and reporting on the risk, and which draws on the expertise of thousands of scientists, has consistently warned climate change is real and man responsible to a large extent.

The students, ages 10 to 19, want the court to order the state to draw up and be bound by a science-based "Climate Recovery Plan." They argue Florida is uniquely vulnerable and under threat from rises in sea level linked to climate change.

"The plaintiffs are asking the state of Florida to adhere to its legal and moral obligation to protect current and future generations from the intensifying impacts of climate change," the group said in a statement, according to Inside Climate News.

Their lawsuit asks that state officials "prepare and implement an enforceable comprehensive" plan to phase out fossil fuel use and "draw down excess atmospheric CO2 through forest and soil protection so as to stabilize the climate system."

The lawsuit names as defendants Gov. Scott, state agencies and the leaders of those agencies. It was reported in 2015 that Scott had banned the use of the terms "climate change" and "global warming."

The students are supported by Our Children's Trust, an Oregon advocacy group that has filed similar court actions across the country, at state and federal level.

The group has proved somewhat successful after filing a complaint in Oregon against the federal government. A federal judge ruled that there was enough weight to the arguments for the matter to go to trial, which is due to take place in October.

Editor's Note: The story was revised to correct a misquote. 




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