Earth Day: 60 Minutes climate stories

This season, the broadcast has covered climate change from several angles. Here are some of them

Lawsuit could put climate change on trial

On this Earth Day, there's a lawsuit focused squarely on climate change that's working its way through the federal court system. It was filed on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the support of the fossil fuel industry.

Last month, correspondent Steve Kroft reported on the suit, Juliana v. United States. As he reported, the suit alleges the U.S. government knowingly failed to protect them from climate change. If the plaintiffs win, it could mean massive changes for the use of fossil fuels.

Kroft spoke with Julia Olson, the lawyer representing the 21 children in the suit. Kroft asked her if the government disputes the findings that every president since Lyndon Johnson has known about the threat of burning fossil fuels.

"They admit that the government has known for over 50 years that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change," Olson said. "And they don't dispute that we are in a danger zone on climate change. And they don't dispute that climate change is a national security threat and a threat to our economy and a threat to people's lives and safety. They do not dispute any of those facts of the case."

Earth Day: A Dutch solution may mitigate flood damage

Climate scientists expect more frequent, more powerful storms in the future, storms which are likely to cause severe flooding. But the Netherlands, which sits mostly below sea level and is one of the most flood-prone places in the world, almost never floods. Last September, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the Dutch solution for flood prevention.  

He spoke with Henk Ovink, the world's only water ambassador. He advises 35 individual countries, a dozen U.S. cities, and the U.N. on how to decrease the damage caused by hurricanes and other major storms.

"We can't prevent them from happening," Ovink said. "But the impact that is caused by these disasters, we can decrease by preparing ourselves. I think the catastrophes we see in the world are all man-made. The storms are perhaps man-caused and you can debate that. But the catastrophes because of the storms? Those are man-made."