Judge: Youth federal climate change lawsuit can proceed

The U.S. government argued that lawmakers and federal agencies should determine climate change policy

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2014 file photo, smoke streams from the chimneys of the E.ON coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – A federal judge in Oregon says a lawsuit brought by young climate activists against the federal government can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken on Thursday denied requests by the federal government as well as trade groups representing energy giants to dismiss the case. They had argued that lawmakers and federal agencies, not by the court, should determine climate change policy.

The lawsuit filed last year in federal court in Eugene alleges the federal government has known for decades that carbon pollution causes climate change but has failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The plaintiffs include 21 youths as well as climate scientist James Hansen. They are seeking a court decision that finds the government is violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by allowing dangerous emissions to be released into the atmosphere.