Seattle Times 6/24/15 By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times staff reporter
A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that the state Department of Ecology must reconsider a petition from young climate activists seeking a crackdown on state emissions of greenhouse gases.
Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” Judge Hollis Hill ruled the petition must be reconsidered.
She set a July 8 deadline for the department to report back to the court.
The petition, filed by the youth activists’ attorneys, argues the Ecology Department is required to come up with tough new standards for cutting carbon emissions and put the state on a path to meet them.
Carbon emissions resulting from fossil-fuel combustion are a major driver of climate change, and Gov. Jay Inslee has made reducing them a high-profile goal of his administration.
Inslee has been unsuccessful this year in convincing the Legislature to pass a cap- and-trade program to cut carbon emissions. That effort has been opposed by the oil industry.
The legal battle was initiated by young climate activists in elementary, middle and high school who wanted to be more involved in efforts to cut carbon emissions, according to Andrea Rodgers, of the Western Environmental Law Center.
Last year, her organization joined with Our Children’s Trust in filing the initial petition for rule-making that was rejected by the Ecology Department.
In the subsequent lawsuit, their attorneys argued that the state Department of Ecology, even without additional legislative action, already has enough authority under the Clean Air Act and other statutes to move forward with a major carbon-reduction plan.
“The Legislature has not acted, and the plain and simple truth is that somebody has to act,” said Rodgers, of the Western Environmental Law Center..... more here
- 24 June 2015 by Catherine Brahic and Rowan Hooper New Scientist
A dangerous situation (Image: Siebe Swart/Hollandse Hoogte/eyevine)
The Dutch government has lost a landmark legal case over its greenhouse gas emissions plans.
The environmental group Urgenda brought a class action suit over climate change on behalf of some 900 citizens, including children. The suit claimed that the government's action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is insufficient, and is therefore "knowingly exposing its own citizens to dangerous situations".
Urgenda asked that the court in the Hague "declare that global warming of more than 2 °C will lead to a violation of fundamental human rights worldwide". According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, governments must cut emissions to between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 to have a 50 per cent chance of avoiding 2 °C. Yet European Union states have signed up for 40 per cent cuts by 2030.
Three judges agreed with the class action suit, ruling that government plans to cut emissions by 14-17 per cent compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were illegal. The ruling said: "The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts."
The court ordered the Dutch government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020........ more here