The courts have contributed to efforts to recognize and act on climate change and defend environmental protections. They have countered the Trump administration’s deregulatory orgy and stopped Republican legislators from running roughshod over the natural world by shutting down dirty energy pipelines, and upholding the right of children to sue for climate action.
Courts outside of the US are also mandating responsible government action. In Denmark the courts have forced the government to reduce climate change causing greenhouse gases. In April Columbia’s Supreme Court ruled that government must take urgent action to protect its Amazon rainforest and stem deforestation. These are but two examples of court actions that have resulted in victories for the natural world. According to an LSE study there are more than 1200 climate change laws around the world.
The courts have done a great deal to protect both the climate and our environment in the face of the nightmare that is the Trump administration. The US justice system has checked the administration’s reckless agenda and as such they may offer the best hope we have of countering the presidency of Donald Trump.
California offers a practical rebuke to the Trump administration’s central narrative that environmental protections and climate actions hurt they economy. The state has passed some of the nation’s most progressive environmental legislation including an air pollution law and most recently a cleaning chemical disclosure law. Contrary to Trump’s assertions California’s economy continues to enjoy prodigious growth.
However wrong minded they may be Repubicans still control both legislative chambers and as president Trump still has broad powers. Nonetheless US courts have shown that they are capable of countering government malfeasance at the highest levels.
The Courts and Fossil Fuels
Court Rulings Check Pruitt’s Vison of the EPA
The Courts Offer the Best Hope for Environmental and Climate Justice
Courts are Defending the Climate and the Environment
Danish Legal Victory Shows How the Courts Can Combat Climate Change