Eugene, Ore. (KVAL) — A U.S. court magistrate ruled six months ago in Eugene that a climate change lawsuit should proceed. But on Tuesday, lawyers on both sides were back in the courtroom.
Lawyers for the group Our Children’s Trust say the federal government has had decades to control greenhouse gas emissions that have reached a critical stage, and have not done so. “And they haven’t. And instead, they have kept a fossil fuel energy system in place that benefits the fossil fuel industry, and not the people,” said Julia Olson, the plaintiff’s attorney.
The suit seeks to require federal court action to drastically cut carbon emissions that scientists say is causing global warming. The plaintiff for which the case is named says this is history in the making. “As young people and yourselves are advocating for your constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, the right to breathe, the right to drink water,” said plaintiff Juliana Kelsey.
Plaintiff Avery McRae said, “I know that I have a constitutional right to a stable climate, and I know that one of the government’s jobs is to make sure that the future planet will be hospitable for generations to come.”
But Department of Justice attorney Sean Duffy argued that no court in America has found that there’s a constitutional right to a stable climate. He and energy industry attorney Quin Sorenson argued the suit should be dismissed, because climate change issues should be decided by federal agencies and lawmakers, not by court action.