Youth Climate Lawsuit Is Going to Trial; Appeals Court Rules

Youth plaintiff Kelsey Juliana speaks during a 2017 press conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, flanked by co-plaintiffs in their climate suit against the federal government. (Robin Loznak)

The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday ruled that climate suit brought by a group of 21 youth against the Trump administration can move forward.

In an unusual move, the Trump administration had  filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit asking it to review a lower district court's decision to let the case proceed. The administration argued that defending its climate change policy would pose too great a burden requiring "drastic and extraordinary" measures.

"If appellate review could be invoked whenever a district court denied a motion to dismiss, we would be quickly overwhelmed with such requests," the three-judge panel ruled in a unanimous decision.

The case will now move forward in the U.S. District Court in Oregon.

“The Ninth Circuit just gave us the green light for trial,"  said Julia Olson, a co-attorney for the youth plaintiffs. "We will ask the District Court for a trial date in 2018 where we will put the federal government’s dangerous energy system and climate policies on trial for infringing the constitutional rights of young people.”

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The lawsuit, filed by nonprofit Our Children's Trust on behalf of the 21 youth, seeks science-based climate recovery plans by the federal government.

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The two-year-old suit, filed during the Obama Administration, argues that the U.S. government has been complicit for decades in the acceleration of global warming.

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