High-profile climate trial to kick off this fall

Source: Benjamin Hulac, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018

The landmark climate lawsuit filed by kids and young adults against the U.S. government will begin in the fall, a judge said yesterday.

Judge Ann Aiken, a Clinton appointee on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, will hear opening statements Oct. 29 in Eugene, Ore.

The plaintiffs sued in 2015, arguing that the American government has for decades violated their constitutional rights and safety by worsening climate change and at points encouraging the combustion of fossil fuels, despite the fact federal researchers knew of climate dangers by the 1960s.

That their case, Juliana v. United States, will be heard in a federal courthouse and before the public is a victory for the plaintiffs, who have climate scientists lined up to testify that the world is in a perilous state due to humanity’s actions and inaction (Climatewire, March 22). Justice Department lawyers under the Obama and Trump administrations fought to get the case dismissed.

Instead of suing for financial damages, the plaintiffs demand that the federal government develop a plan to phase out fossil fuels and swiftly address climate change.

Three industry groups — the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the National Association of Manufacturers — sued years ago as outside parties to block the case, before withdrawing in 2017.

The organizations could have been exposed to discovery requests if they had remained.