The Trump administration is asking the United States Supreme Court to block a lawsuit filed by young Americans seeking to force more federal action on climate change.
The lawsuit, first filed in 2015, argues that U.S. federal policies have exacerbated climate change, depriving the country's youngest generation of their constitutional rights. As Pacific Standard reported in 2016:
The lawsuit is thorough in its demands: Plaintiffs want the government to stop permitting and subsidizing carbon energy; to phase out carbon emissions as soon as possible; to seek a drawdown in atmospheric carbon to 350 parts-per-million by the close of the century; and to enact a countrywide plan that will stabilize the climate system.
The federal government is arguing that it's up to the legislative branch, not the judiciary, to set climate policies. Earlier this week, a federal judge in Oregon blocked the administration's attempt to throw out the case, but granted its request to dismiss President Donald Trump as a defendant.
The emergency filing by Department of Justice attorneys Thursday is a last-ditch effort to avoid the trial, which is scheduled to begin in Oregon in less than two weeks. The Supreme Court rejected the administration's previous attempts to get the high court to intervene in July as "premature," but also expressed concerns, calling the breadth of the plaintiffs' claims "striking." Since then, the Senate has confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the court.