Climate-concerned youth advocates have officially pleaded their groundbreaking case for urgent climate action(opens in a new tab) in front of a Montana court this week. While not the only legal attempt of its kind — and certainly not anticipated to be the last — it was the first constitutional climate case to successfully go to trial in the United States.

And it signals a renewed urgency among some activists to have the courts weigh in before it’s too late.

The case, Held v. Montana, has been brought before the court by 16 young residents and Our Children’s Trust(opens in a new tab), a nonprofit public interest law firm that represents youth in climate litigation. With the help of the organization, the Montana plaintiffs argued that the state has an obligation “to protect the air, waters, wildlife and their public lands that are threatened by drought, heat, fires, smoke, and floods,” as well as the harm caused by fossil fuel extraction.