by Ed Berry
In a precedent-making decision, the Montana Supreme Court dismissed yesterday the Petition for Original Jurisdiction by Our Children’s Trust saying unsettled factual issues related to limiting emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) must first be addressed in a lower court.
The Montana Supreme Court followed the recommendations of the Montana Attorney General, and rejected the claim made by Our Children’s Trust in its May 4, 2011, Petition, that a “scientific consensus exists that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are affecting the Earth’s climate.” The ruling forces those filing future GHG-emissions lawsuits to first prove the scientific credibility of their global warming claims by means of legally competent evidence.
As the Montana Supreme Court stated the case:
Petitioners ask us to enter judgment in this original proceeding to declare that the State of Montana (State) holds the atmosphere in trust for the present and future citizens of the State of Montana. Petitioners further contend that this trust imposes on the State the affirmative duty to protect and preserve the atmosphere, including establishing and enforcing limitations on the levels of greenhouse gas emissions as necessary to mitigate human-caused climate change.
But, the Court wrote, it was “persuaded” by the Attorney General’s arguments that the evidence Our Children’s Trust offered for human-caused global warming is in legally substantial doubt:
… This disputed record is just one example of the factual determinations this Court would need to make to rule for Petitioners. In addition, it would need to address, among other issues, the current state of climate change science; the role of Montana in the global problem of climate change; how emissions created in Montana ultimately affect Montana’s climate; whether the benefits of energy production must be balanced against the potential harm of climate change; and the concrete limits, if any, of the alleged “affirmative duty” [to restrict CO2 emissions.] (Emphasis added.)
Dr. Ed Berry, CEO of Climate Physics, LLC, said “The Montana Supreme Court’s decision was influenced by Climate Physics’ Motion to Intervene which included 118 Intervenors, 13 minor children, 15 state representatives, 7 state senators, and 8 elected state officials.”
CPI used 2 key scientific exhibits in its Motion to Intervene: A 321-page “Climate Depot Special Report” compiled by Marc Morano and The Heartland Institute’s “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate” edited by S. Fred Singer. The full legal exhibits may be viewed on edberry.com. (See 1000 Scientists Dissent and Climate Change Reconsidered.)