Olson: “If the Trump Administration was at all confident it could defend itself at trial, it would be preparing for trial.”

Today the Trump Administration filed a writ of mandamus petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking an extraordinarily rare review of a November 10, 2016 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken to deny its motion to dismiss Juliana v. United States. Further, the Trump Administration is seeking “a stay of proceedings in the district court” while the Ninth Circuit considers its petition.
The Trump Administration argues the Ninth Circuit should “exercise its supervisory mandamus powers to end this clearly improper attempt to have the judiciary decide important questions of energy and environmental policy to the exclusion of the elected branches of government.”
The U.S. Constitution provides for three separate but equal branches of government, with no exception for energy and environmental policy.
This Trump Administration’s filing comes just one day after Judge Aiken shut down another rare path to Ninth Circuit review, with an order denying the US government and fossil fuel industry’s motions seeking an interlocutory appeal.

OUR CHILDREN'S TRUST ("OCT") is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization leading the global effort to elevate the voice of youth to secure the binding legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.  OCT supports climate advocates and related organizations, volunteer and reduced-fee legal counsel in the U.S. and around the globe, legal actions seeking country-specific and statewide science-based Climate Recover Plans, and returning atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to below 350 ppm by the year 2100. 



“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” –U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

On November 10, 2016 Judge Ann Aiken issued an opinion and order denying the U.S. government and fossil fuel industry’s motions to dismiss a constitutional climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youth. The decision means that the youth, age 9 to 20 and from all over the U.S., now have standing because their rights are at stake, and now their case is headed to trial.  Link - original article:


San Francisco - Today, attorneys representing 21 youth plaintiffs in the landmark climate case
Juliana v. United States filed an answer to the Trump Administration’s mandamus petition with
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In their answer , attorneys make clear that the U.S. government already admitted that its actions
imperil youth plaintiffs with “dangerous, and unacceptable economic, social, and environmental
risks,” and that “the use of fossil fuels is a major source of [greenhouse gas] emissions, placing
our nation on an increasingly costly, insecure, and environmentally dangerous path.”

Attorneys for the youth plaintiffs also point to their July 20th deposition of Dr. Michael
Kuperberg , head of the federal climate research program, who testified that he is “fearful,” that
“increasing levels of CO 2 pose risks to humans and the natural environment,” and that he does
not “think current federal actions are adequate to safeguard the future.”

The Trump Administration originally filed the mandamus petition on June 9th, arguing the Ninth
Circuit’s intervention was necessary due to what it characterized as burdensome discovery
issues. On July 28th, a panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit ordered youth plaintiffs’ attorneys
to answer the petition. Now, the Trump Administration will have 14 days to reply to the youth
plaintiffs’ answer before the Ninth Circuit panel makes its ruling. Before the Trump
administration filed the mandamus petition, the District Court had issued an order for trial to
begin on February 5, 2018 in Eugene, Oregon, with Judge Ann Aiken presiding.

Dr. Harold Wanless , an expert geologist for plaintiffs from the University of Miami who has
done work on sea level rise for both defendants and Exxon, said in his declaration filed today:

“We are headed to catastrophic sea level rise a lot faster than we have anticipated. If we
act now, we may not be able to save Naples and Miami and other low-lying regions. But
if we do not act now, we have no chance to protect plaintiff Levi’s barrier island, and we
will also be heading towards losing Orlando and many other places presently above any
projected sea level rise.”

A declaration submitted by Levi Draheim , 10-year-old Florida resident and youth plaintiff in the
case reads:

“I’m scared about how climate change impacts and ocean acidification will continue to
harm the beaches and streams in Florida and the wildlife that inhabit them. I can already
notice the beaches around me getting smaller because of sea level rise. The reason why I
care so much is I basically grew up on the beach. It is like another mother, sort of, to

Julia Olson , co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust,

“What’s clear is the burden of climate change impacts faced by our young plaintiffs far
outweigh the federal government’s exaggerated burden in participating in pretrial
discovery. Even so, we have no interest in drawn out discovery and will work with
attorneys from the DOJ to move this case expeditiously to trial in February.”

Phil Gregory , co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and partner with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP,
in Burlingame, CA, said:

“The Fifth Amendment provides Americans the fundamental rights to personal security,
property, life, and family autonomy and security. The federal court has decided that our
youth plaintiffs have properly brought a complaint that the U.S. government’s actions in
causing climate change infringe upon those rights. Right now, the federal government is
trying every trick to deny these youth access to a trial that will protect their rights. We are
confident the courts will properly protect the youth of America from the growing climate

The Ninth Circuit invited the District Court of Oregon to answer the petition as well. In response,
the District Court filed via a letter on Friday, August 25, referring to the issues presented by the
youth’s case as “vitally important.” The letter, signed by federal Judge Ann Aiken and
Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin , affirmed:

“In short, we do not believe that the government will be irreversibly damaged by
proceeding to trial. In our view, any error that we may have committed (or may commit
in the future) can be corrected through the normal route of a direct appeal following final
judgment. Indeed, we believe that permitting this case to proceed to trial will produce
better results on appeal by distilling the legal and factual questions that can only emerge
from a fully developed record.”

The letter filed by the judges also recognized that the fossil fuel industry’s broad denial of all
allegations in the complaint was in part responsible for the original scope of the youth plaintiffs’
discovery requests. The letter went on to conclude that the withdrawal of three trade association
defendants from the case in June should allow the plaintiffs to substantially narrow their
discovery requests.

Juliana v. United States was brought by 21 young plaintiffs, and Earth Guardians, who argue that
their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s creation of
climate danger. The case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states
and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by
governments to stabilize the climate system.

Counsel for Plaintiffs include Philip L. Gregory, Esq. of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of
Burlingame, CA, Daniel M. Galpern Esq. and Julia Olson, Esq. of Eugene, OR.
Our Children’s Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most
to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present
and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice
campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.

Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five
continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members working
together to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthy
sustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools,
organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, and
globally to address the critical state of the Earth. www.earthguardians.org


AUGUST 28, 2017.

Our Children’s Trust Climate Lawsuit

Scheduled For Trial On February 5, 2018




The  state case, involving the State of Oregon

as defendants and plaintiffs who live in Oregon

(not to be confused with the case venued in Eugene before Judge Aiken,

which is a federal case, involving the federal government

as defendants and plaintiffs who live across the country.)

  Raging Grannies Eugene

"The heart of the OREGON STATE case on appeal:
1. The Public Trust Doctrine:  the idea being: the air, running water, the sea, and consequently beaches and the seashore belong to us all  They are for the people and are not to be harmed these essential natural resources are held for us (the people) by our governments "in trust "our state and federal governments owe us (the people) a duty to not harm or destroy these natural resources our governments are under a further duty to ensure that these natural resources survive from generation to generation. So, they in fact owe a duty to people not yet born.The State of Oregon denies owing plaintiffs this duty and certainly does not think the atmosphere is one of the "natural resources" governments are responsible for holding in trust
2. Best Climate Science: why 350?  The question cannot not be: what rate of emissions reductions are politically feasible...it must be: what emissions reductions are necessary to protect our health, our lives  The best climate scientists agree that atmospheric CO2 levels above 350 parts/million disallow this planet to balance its energy and will eventually result in an unrecognizable––and largely uninhabitable––planet.  Thus, all recovery plans must be science-based – they must be based on the goal of returning our atmospheric CO2 levels to below 350The State of Oregon does not agree that we need to come up with a climate recovery plan that would return our atmospheric CO2 levels to below 350 ppm"  (from Coreal Riday-White, Our Children's Trust Staff Attorney)


Salem, Oregon, December 9, 2016:  Raging Grannies standing at the ready in front of a historic courthouse and directly behind the plaintiff, Kelsey Juliana, 20 from Eugene, Oregon  – supporting her, making clear she is not alone.