US Supreme Court allows historic kids’ climate lawsuit to go forward

Nov 6, 2018

By Emma Marris

A landmark climate-change lawsuit brought by young people against the US government can proceed, the Supreme Court said on 2 November. The case, Juliana v. United States, had been scheduled to begin trial on 29 October in Eugene, Oregon, in a federal district court. But those plans were scrapped last month after President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene and dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs, who include 21 people ranging in age from 11 to 22, allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by failing to prevent dangerous climate change. They are asking the district court to order the federal government to prepare a plan that will ensure the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere falls below 350 parts per million by 2100, down from an average of 405 parts per million in 2017.

By contrast, the US Department of Justice argues that “there is no right to ‘a climate system capable of sustaining human life’” — as the Juliana plaintiffs assert.

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One comment on “US Supreme Court allows historic kids’ climate lawsuit to go forward”

  • A landmark climate-change lawsuit brought by young people against the US government can proceed, the Supreme Court said on 2 November.

    Meanwhile – there has been other court action on TRUM environmental abuses and disregard of science:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46150577

    A United States judge has blocked the construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the US.

    The judge in the state of Montana said the Trump administration had “discarded” facts when it approved the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2017.

    It had been rejected two years earlier by the Obama administration, mainly on environmental grounds.

    Speaking outside the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump said the ruling was a disgrace.

    The state department has now been ordered to do a more thorough review of the effect on issues like the climate.

    The administration can appeal against the decision. But groups that have been seeking to block the $8bn (£6bn) project are celebrating.

    Doug Hayes, a lawyer for the Sierra Club environmental group, said the ruling made clear it was time to give up on the “Keystone XL pipe dream”.

    Mr Obama rejected the scheme in 2015 following a recommendation from the Environmental Protection Agency, citing concerns over it increasing US dependence on fossil fuel.

    Judge Brian Morris, of the US District Court for the District of Montana, said construction could not go ahead until a more thorough review of the impact on the climate, cultural resources and wildlife was conducted.

    He also accused the state department of having “discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal”.

    “An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past,” Judge Morris said in his ruling.

    He said the decision also fell short in other areas, including the impact on Native American lands, and did not take into proper consideration issues like oil spills and low prices.

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