Alaska justices hear youth climate lawsuit
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on an Alaska Supreme Court hearing on an appeal involving a climate change lawsuit filed by state youths (all times local):
A lawyer representing 16 Alaska youths told the state Supreme Court his clients have a constitutional right to a healthy environment.
Attorney Andrew Welle told justices Wednesday that climate change is already damaging the lives of his clients and will have serious long-term consequences unless changes are made.
He asked justices to render invalid a state law that says fossil fuel development is an official state policy.
Assistant Attorney General Anna Jay told justices that the courtroom is not the place to decide state policy on greenhouse gas emissions.
She asked justices to affirm rulings in previous cases concluding that courts don’t have tools such as public hearings to formulate a policy.
Justice Daniel Winfree did not specify when the court will issue a written opinion.
Attorneys for 16 young Alaskans who sued over state climate change policy are expected to argue their case before Alaska Supreme Court justices on Wednesday.
The lawsuit says state policy that promotes fossil fuels violates the constitutional right of young Alaskans to a safe climate.
The lawsuit says human-caused climate change will be catastrophic unless atmospheric carbon dioxide declines.
Among the damages it lists are increasing temperatures, changing rain and snow patterns, rising seas, storm-surge flooding, thawing permafrost, coast erosion and increased wildfires.
A judge ruled against the youths a year ago.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller cited previous cases that concluded the courts lack scientific, economic and technological resources that agencies can use to determine climate policy and it was best left in their hands.