Youth Climate Activists Want to Take U.S. to Trial Over Anti-Global Warming Actions – Newsweek
A youth climate advocate group that filed a federal lawsuit six years ago to condemn U.S. leaders for harming the environment now wants their amended case to go to trial, the Associated Press reported.
“These 21 young people have been stonewalled, delayed, and obstructed by their own government for six years now,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Julia Olson, said in a statement. “These young people have been waiting six years to have their evidence heard and the issues determined by a court of law. When will our government act like the global leaders they claim to be and let these youth be heard?”
The original lawsuit was filed in 2015 by the Oregon-based group that agreed to hold the nation’s leaders accountable as they believed that the government perpetuated a fossil fuel economy while knowing scientific warnings about climate change.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs stated that they have a constitutional right to a climate that sustains life.
“We’re not talking about our parents’ harms,” said lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana of Eugene. “We’re talking about our harms.”
Olson announced a development in the case, known as Juliana v. the United States, on Monday, just as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, began in Glasgow. President Joe Biden is in attendance along with other world leaders to discuss their pledges on how to cut carbon emissions.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
In a major victory, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled in 2016 that the plaintiffs had a case and that it could proceed to trial, but the lawsuit has been challenged repeatedly in federal court by the Obama and Trump administrations, which sought to get it dismissed.
A three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2020 dismissed the case after finding that Aiken lacked the power to order or design a climate recovery plan in the high-profile lawsuit.
They noted that such a remedy should be made by the nation’s politicians or voters.
The plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint in March and asked the judge to change their lawsuit to seek a different ruling: that the nation’s fossil fuel-based energy system is unconstitutional.
In May, Aiken ordered a settlement conference with U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin, who came out of retirement to oversee the process.
The youth plaintiffs are now between the ages of 13 and 25.