A judge’s ruled in a lawsuit filed by eight kids forces the state of Washington to get dead-serious about the threat of climate change. King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the state Department of Ecology to create rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2016. The judge said the urgency of climate change and the state’s responsibility to protect citizens required that the Ecology Department be held to a deadline, rather than make its own timeline. The ruling reversed a November decision that left emissions-reducing rules to the state. Hill said then that the state has a “mandatory duty” to “preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality for the current and future generations.” But because the Department of Ecology was already working on new regulations ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee, additional rules weren’t necessary, she said then. Current state targets, set in 2008, call for a reduction in emissions of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The kids argue that current science makes clear that the cut should be at least 80 percent. After the state withdrew draft emissions rules in February for more work, lawyers for the children went back to court, asking the judge to press regulators to act. “This is a massive victory,” said Gabe Mandell, 14, who was among the eight kids who brought the lawsuit. The judge ordered the state to produce rules cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the year, and to make recommendations to the state legislature during its 2017 session to align emission-reduction goals with current science. She also ordered the Ecology Department to consult with the youth petitioners as they draw up the plans.
From Huff Post Photo Credit Our Children’s Trust