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Should Governments Be Blamed for Climate Change? How One Lawsuit Could Change US Policies

Published on August 23, 2023

Image of history courthouse building of limestone in park-like setting with American flag
Image Credit: Jimmy Emerson | Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A landmark ruling saying Montana has a constitutional duty to guard residents from the harmful effects of climate change could have wider implications, environmental experts said.

In a decision Monday lauded by activists as a potential turning point for the environmental movement, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley sided with young plaintiffs who claimed state policies used to evaluate requests for fossil-fuel projects are unconstitutional because they don’t allow for agencies to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions – a practice she said had detrimental effects on the environment and the mental and physical health of young people in Montana…

Patrick Christie, a professor of marine and environmental affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle, called Seeley’s decision “a precedent-setting ruling that with have impacts throughout the U.S. and beyond.”

“This ruling makes it clear that stonewalling and ignoring the best available science is no longer tenable,” Christie said.

He said safe, reliable and economically viable energy alternatives are available to Montana and other states looking for more environmentally friendly sources.

Continue reading at USA Today.

Original story by Marc Ramirez for USA Today.
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