[00:00.00]A federal appeals court has rejected an effort by the United States government to halt a case against President Donald Trump and his administration.
[00:15.90]A group of 21 young people brought the case against the federal government.
[00:23.30]They accuse the Trump administration of violating their constitutional rights by ignoring the harm caused by climate change.
[00:33.73]The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled against the administration on March 7.
[00:43.68]The court said the government had failed to provide enough evidence under federal law to dismiss the case.
[00:52.54]The lawsuit started three years ago in the northwestern state of Oregon.
[00:58.92]At that time, the case was directed against the administration of President Barack Obama.
[01:06.93]This is one of several cases seeking to have courts deal with climate change and its causes.
[01:16.44]The young people, now aged 10 to 21, accuse federal officials and oil industry leaders of knowing for years about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the climate.
[01:33.88]Carbon dioxide is a gas produced naturally in the environment.
[01:39.50]It is made when people and other living things breathe.
[01:43.78]Carbon dioxide also is produced from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.
[01:51.84]The case says the government and oil industry knew that the burning was harmful to Earth’s climate, but refused to do anything about it.
[02:03.46]The young people said the lack of action has deprived them of their rights to life, freedom and property, including the right to live in a habitable climate.
[02:17.08]They want the government to write a recovery plan to reduce carbon emissions to 350 parts per million by the year 2100.
[02:28.09]That would be 400 parts per million lower than current levels.
[02:34.75]Many of the plaintiffs are from Oregon, but some come from other states.
[02:41.72]They say they are affected by the effects of slowly rising temperatures in the atmosphere.
[02:48.42]They have given examples, such as warmer winters, flooding, and damage to fisheries.
[02:56.77]The Obama administration first tried to have the case dismissed.
[03:01.36]It claimed that the courts were not prepared to “oversee a phenomenon that spans the globe,” court papers said.
[03:10.19]In November 2016, a U.S. district judge in Eugene, Oregon refused to dismiss the lawsuit.
[03:19.91]District Judge Ann Aiken said a quick dismissal without looking at the facts could support the accusation of the government’s “knowing decision to poison the air.”
[03:33.81]The Trump administration also tried to have the case dismissed.
[03:38.38]It urged the court of appeals to halt the case before it continued to trial.
[03:45.47]The government said letting the case proceed would lead to a burdensome process of searching for documents and questioning people.
[03:56.30]It also said the case would create a “constitutional crisis” by putting courts against Trump and the many other administration officials named as defendants.
[04:10.48]But in the decision on March 7, Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said the dismissal request was too early.
[04:20.40]He added that deciding whether the accusers’ claims were too general could be discussed through the normal legal process.
[04:30.40]Julia Olson, who represented the plaintiffs, is executive director of Our Children’s Trust.
[04:37.74]The trust provides legal help for efforts to improve the climate. Olsen told the Reuters news agency that her group welcomed the decision.
[04:51.76]“It’s very exciting,” she said. “It will be the first time that climate science and the federal government’s role in creating its dangers will go on trial in a U.S. court.”
[05:05.73]The decision means the case will probably return to the lower court in Oregon where District Judge Aiken will decide what happens next.
[05:16.46]Olsen said she will be seeking official statements from several representatives of top federal agencies, as well as climate change scientists.
[05:28.03]I’m Phil Dierking.