Late this afternoon the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) released a brief 3-page order denying the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss the Juliana case in advance of trial. The allowance to proceed comes as something of a surprise as it follows Chief Justice Roberts’ stay of the trial just days before it was scheduled to begin in an Oregon federal district court.
Whatever the Supreme Court decides in the case of 21 young plaintiffs seeking to protect themselves and the nation from the worst ravages of Earth’s warming climate, they and their attorneys have created a record in which the Trump administration has admitted the truth about the causes and harms of global climate change.
In the past week or two Trumpsters gave climate defenders new reasons to take the Administration to court—of either the legal or public opinion variety.
In San Francisco this week, Fossil Free California hosted a panel discussion on the most recent municipal litigation against the fossil fuel industry.
Judge Alsup has spoken. Chevron, ExxonMobil and other of the world’s oil companies, large and small, are breathing easier as a result of his dismissal of the City of Oakland and the People of the State of California v BP P.L.C. et al.
This appears to be the core of the oil companies’ strategy. First, believe everything the IPCC says. Second, the IPCC says the real problem is prosperity, economic growth! Therefore, blame the ones burning the oil — all we did was dig the stuff up.
Through the magic of YouTube TV, I was able to sit in on the oral arguments in the latest episode of Juliana v. United States. The lawsuit is being brought by 21 plaintiffs ranging in age from 10 to 21. It accuses the federal government of causing them harm by failing to protect them adequately from the effects of global warming.
The question in these trials is straightforward: Do governments and corporations have an obligation to protect the habitability of the Earth’s climate for human populations?
On June 24, 2015, a court in The Hague ordered the Dutch government to act faster in its duty to protect its citizens against the effects of climate change.
Can the law protect us from climate change? Do we have a legal right to a stable climate? Are governments responsible for preventing dangerous climate change within their borders?
In 2011, the Dutch attorney and author of Revolution Justified published on why and how to sue the Dutch government for failing to combat climate change; a year later, the nonprofit Urgenda and 886 citizens said sure, let’s do that. The rest is for the history books—and June 24, 2015 will appear there in bold type.