Groundbreaking Youth Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Can Proceed
A federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration's last-ditch efforts to derail a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs, preserving the trial start date of Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon.
The judge largely rejected the government's arguments but granted the administration's motion to dismiss President Donald Trump as a defendant.
A federal judge has rejected most of the Trump administration's arguments attempting to stop the national children'… https://t.co/BaP2R3s0UQ— InsideClimate News (@InsideClimate News)1539619440.0
The judge said the students can get what they want by suing officials below the president, but she left the door open for Trump to be reinstated as a defendant in the case, if necessary.
Lawyers for the teens had argued the president shouldn't be excused for failing in his official capacity to protect the environment from rising global temperatures while subsidizing fossil fuel-dependent industries.
The groundbreaking lawsuit targets the government for creating policies that encouraged climate change, and for violating the country's youngest citizens their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, as well as failing to protect essential public trust resources.
On Friday, government attorneys filed a third writ of mandamus petition, a rarely used legal maneuver, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay district court proceedings, according to Our Children's Trust, the non-profit group supporting the youth plaintiffs. Judges with the Ninth Circuit denied the first two petitions, saying the petitions were not justified.
"To suggest that our government suffers harm greater than its citizens by having to participate in a trial when its youngest citizens bring legitimate claims of constitutional harm before our Article III courts flies in the face of democratic principles," Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children's Trust, said in a press release Friday. "We are going to trial on October 29th."
The Department of Justice also plans to file a second writ of mandamus petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 17, the press release said. In July, the high court ruled that the administration's motion to dismiss the case was "premature."
As the scheduled trial date approaches, Our Children's Trust has organized rallies across the country on Oct. 28-29 to rally support for the plaintiffs.
Supreme Court Rules Trump Administration Can’t Stop #Youth Climate Case @youthvgov #youthvgov @350eugene https://t.co/fHsVgHBGcZ— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1533294131.0
By Julia Conley
Ecologists and environmental advocates on Thursday called for swift action to reintroduce species into the wild as scientists at the University of Cambridge in England found that 97% of the planet's land area no longer qualifies as ecologically intact.
"Conservation is simply not enough anymore," said financier and activist Ben Goldsmith. "We need restoration."
Just 3% of world’s ecosystems now remain intact. Conservation is simply not enough anymore. We need restoration. https://t.co/iWcLxAoLWn— Ben Goldsmith (@Ben Goldsmith)1618487636.0
The authors of the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, expressed alarm at their findings, which showed that of the 3% of fully intact land, much lies in northern areas which weren't rich in biodiversity to begin with, such as boreal forests in Canada or tundra in Greenland.
The amount of ecologically intact land "was much lower than we were expecting," Dr. Andrew Plumptre, head of the Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat at Cambridge and lead author of the study, told Science News.
"Going in, I'd guessed that it would be 8 to 10%," he added. "It just shows how huge an impact we've had."
The researchers examined whether natural habitats had retained the number of species which were present in the year 1500—the standard used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to assess species' extinction.
Earlier research using satellite imagery led to estimates that 20 to 40% of the planet had retained its natural biodiversity. But areas including dense forests, which can appear intact from above, were found to be missing numerous species.
The researchers linked the loss of unscathed land to hunting and other destructive human activities, disease, and the impact of invasive species. According to The Guardian, the study may underestimate the intact regions because it does not "take account of the impacts of the climate crisis, which is changing the ranges of species."
Only 11% of the land still considered intact was found to be in officially protected areas, but much of the intact regions "coincide with territories managed by indigenous communities, who have played a vital role in maintaining the ecological integrity of these areas," the researchers wrote.
In light of the study, advocates including author George Monbiot and ecologist Alan Watson Featherstone called for "rewilding," or species reintroduction in affected areas.
Rewilding isn't a luxury. It's essential to protect the world's living systems. https://t.co/WbqrTU3VTR— George Monbiot (@George Monbiot)1618465601.0
If anyone wonders why we have a UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration & rewilding has to become a major focus for huma… https://t.co/7V8IewrqLC— Alan Watson Featherstone (@Alan Watson Featherstone)1618468497.0
The reintroduction of up to five species could help restore 20% of the planet to previous levels of biodiversity, the study found.
"Examples would include reintroducing forest elephants in areas of the Congo Basin where they have been extirpated, or reintroducing some of the large ungulates that have been lost from much of Africa's woodlands and savannas because of overhunting (e.g., buffalo, giraffe, zebras etc.), as long as overhunting has ceased," the researchers wrote.
Previously, the rewilding of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. led to a resurgence in the park's ecosystem.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
Google Earth's latest feature allows you to watch the climate change in four dimensions.
- Forest change, such as deforestation in Bolivia for soybean farming
- Urban growth, such as the quintupling of Las Vegas sprawl
- Warming temperatures, such as melting glaciers and ice sheets
- Sources of energy, such as the impacts of coal mining on Wyoming's landscape
- Fragile beauty, such as the flow of Bolivia's Mamoré River
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By Asher Rosinger
An Epidemic of Distrust
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Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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As reported by Wine Enthusiast:
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