On the same day as 17-year-old Great Thunberg stood in front of thousands of young people in Switzerland, fearmongering their imminent death due to old white men in charge of the world refusing to listen to her; a US federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit by 21 'climate kids' who claimed the U.S. government’s climate policies and reliance on fossil fuels harms them, jeopardizes their future and violates their constitutional rights.
The Oregon-based youth advocacy group Our Children’s Trust filed the lawsuit in 2015 in Eugene on behalf of the youngsters (aged between 8 and 18). It sought an injunction ordering the government to implement a plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide emission.
The Ninth Circuit ruled that the children must look to the political branches - Congress and the executive branch - for action, rather than the courts.
“The plaintiffs have made a compelling case that action is needed; it will be increasingly difficult in light of that record for the political branches to deny that climate change is occurring, that the government has had a role in causing it, and that our elected officials have a moral responsibility to seek solutions,”
“We reluctantly conclude, however, that the plaintiffs’ case must be made to the political branches or to the electorate at large, the latter of which can change the composition of the political branches through the ballot box. That the other branches may have abdicated their responsibility to remediate the problem does not confer on Article III courts, no matter how well-intentioned, the ability to step into their shoes.”
As KOIN reports, the 2-1 vote for dismissal was a major blow for the climate activists, who have filed numerous similar cases in state and federal courts and currently have nine cases pending in state courts from Alaska to New Mexico.
Of course, it goes without saying that a lawyer for the children said the group intended to appeal the decision to a panel of the full circuit.
“The Juliana case is far from over. The Youth Plaintiffs will be asking the full court of the Ninth Circuit to review this decision and its catastrophic implications for our constitutional democracy," said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, in a statement.
"The Court recognized that climate change is exponentially increasing and that the federal government has long known that its actions substantially contribute to the climate crisis," Olson added.
The full ruling can be read below...