Trial Date Set for Children's Climate Change Lawsuit
I've posted before about a climate change lawsuit brought by some children. Well things have moved on.
A federal judge has set a trial date for the landmark lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults over the U.S. government's alleged failure to rein in fossil fuel development and address climate change.
The trial will start on Feb. 5, 2018, in federal district court in Eugene, Oregon, with Judge Ann Aiken, court documents show.
Filed in 2015, the lawsuit, Juliana et al v. United States, seeks sweeping changes in federal climate change efforts and in government programs that subsidize or foster the development of fossil fuels. A decision on the lawsuit by Judge Aiken could come once the trial ends some time in the spring of 2018, though the case is expected to be appealed by both sides possibly to the Supreme Court, likely delaying the final outcome for years. Its advancement to trial means that decades of federal policy on fossil fuels and climate change—including information that had previously been unknown or hidden—could come under public scrutiny.This may be the most interesting part of the lawsuit, deposing people in the government, and demanding documents.
The information the plaintiffs gather in the discovery phase could potentially damage the reputation of the government or the fossil fuel industry long before the court renders a decision. "Evidence will be made public at trial, and possibly before," Olson said.[.....]
Juliana is based on a legal concept called the public trust doctrine, which argues that the government holds resources such as land, water or fisheries in trust for its citizens. Climate litigators contend that the government is a trustee of the atmosphere, too. The doctrine's power flows from the Fifth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and the Vesting, Posterity and Nobility Clauses of the Constitution, the plaintiffs maintain.[.....]
The plaintiffs in Juliana argue that the federal government has known for at least 50 years that combustion of fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and changes the climate. Because it chose not to limit fossil fuel use and cut greenhouse gases, the government violated the plaintiffs' right to protection from environmental degradation under the trust doctrine, the suit alleges.