Climate Change

Is Kids Climate Case Coming to an End?

The "trial of the century" may not happen after all.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On the eve of Thanksgiving, a federal district court judge may have conceded that there will be no federal trial in a case to force the federal government to take more aggressive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions so as to forestall global climate change. After a not-too-subtle rebuke from the Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the trial court judge in Juliana v. U.S. placed the planned trial on hold in order to allow for an interlocutory appeal of the court's denial of the federal government's motion to dismiss the case. This action came in response to a none-too-subtle rebuke from the Supreme Court suggesting the trial court was a bit out of line—a message that does not bode well for the plaintiffs' claims.

The Juliana case is likely the most ambitious and aggressive climate change suit filed to date. Filed on behalf of children who are not yet able to vote, the suit's claim is that by failing to control the emission of greenhouse gases, the federal government has violated the plaintiffs's substantive due process rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to uphold its "public trust" obligation to hold certain natural resources in trust for the people and for future generations.

However serious the threat posed by climate change—and it is quite serious—these are audacious and aggressive claims. It is also not clear that they are the sort of question that can be adequately adjudicated in federal court. Accordingly, the federal government sought to have the claims dismissed on multiple grounds, including that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, that their claims presented nonjusticiable political questions and the failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted.

After the district court denied the government's motion to dismiss, the government immediately sought leave to file an interlocutory appeal, which the district court also rejected.

Faced with the prospect of expansive and intrusive discovery requests—and a looming trial—the federal government sought relief in the form of a writ of mandamus and a stay of the proceedings from the Supreme Court to force the trial court back into line. This was an aggressive move, to be sure, but one the Solicitor General's office believed was warranted given the unprecedented nature of the plaintiffs' claims and the trial court's unwillingness to allow its initial decisions to be challenged.

The SG's aggressive response to the trial court's intransigence paid off with a November 2 order from the Supreme Court. While the Court did not grant the government's motions, it made very clear that a majority of justices thought the district court was out of line. A stay of the proceedings was premature, the Court's order explained, because there was still an opportunity for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to provide "adequate relief." This was not-so-subtle hint that the Ninth Circuit heard loud and clear, issuing its own stay of the proceedings on November 8 and inviting the district court to reconsider its refusal to allow interlocutory review.

The actions taken by the Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit left the trial court little alternative but to reverse course. In her order, Judge Aiken tried to defend her handling of the case, but it does not go very well. After recounting the proceedings to date, the judge identifies the relevant legal standards for an interlocutory appeal, thereby demonstrating how her initial decision was in error.

With respect to the question of interlocutory appeal, appellate review is generally available only after a final judgment has been entered by a district court. 28 U.S.C. § 1291. The Interlocutory Appeals Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1292(6), provides a limited exception to that requirement: "When a district judge, in making in a civil action an order not otherwise appealable under this section, shall be of the opinion that such order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, [s]he shall so state in writing in such order." 28 U.S.C § 1292(b). "Even where the district court makes such a certification, the
court of appeals neve1theless has discretion to reject the interlocutory appeal[] and does so quite frequently." James v. Price Stern Sloan, Inc., 283 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing to 16 Wright, Miller & Cooper § 3929, at 363).

Congress did not intend district courts to certify interlocutory appeals "merely to provide review of difficult rulings in hard cases." US. Rubber Co. v. Wright, 359 F.2d 784, 785 (9th Cir. 1966). Rather such ce1tification should be granted only "in extraordinary cases where decision of an interlocutory appeal might avoid protracted and expensive litigation." Id. . .

The district court should have seen this coming. The Juliana case has regularly been trumpeted as the "trial of the century," a climate Scopes trial, to demonstrate the urgency of climate change and force federal action. As Judge Aiken noted in her denial of the government's motion to dismiss, this case "is of a different order than the typical environmental case." Indeed, to recite the underlying legal arguments—that there is a judicially enforceable constitutional right to federal climate control under some combination the public trust doctrine and substantive due process—and to consider the relief plaintiffs sought is to make plain the ambitious and unprecedented nature of the plaintiffs' claims, and to make plain the district court's error in denying the prior request for an interlocutory appeal. There is no question but that there is "substantial ground" to question the district court's initial ruling on multiple dispositive motions that could (and, indeed, likely will) bring this litigation to an end. If this case did not satisfy the standard for an interlocutory appeal, it's not clear what case ever could.

Judge Aiken, however, is unbowed. Her order continued:

The function of trial courts in our judicial system is to initially consider the myriad evidence and legal issues offered by the parties and then refine them to their most essential form, rendering judgment and relief as the law allows. Our judicial system affords district courts the respect of operating under an assumption that such courts do not "insulate hotly contested decisions from [] review simply by fast-tracking those decisions and excluding them from its published determination." Indep. Producers Group v. Librarian of Cong., 792 F.3d 132, 138 (D.C. Cir. 2015). Here, the Court has deliberately considered all motions brought by the parties, and its decisions are accessible for appellate scrutiny. . . .Trial courts across the country address complex cases involving similar jurisdictional, evidentiary, and legal questions as those presented here without resorting to certifying for interlocutory appeal. As Justice Stewart noted, "the proper place for the trial is in the trial court, not here." Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 266 (1962) (Stewart, J., concurring.)

Importantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that "[p]ermitting piecemeal appeals would undermine the indepe1idence of the district judge[.]" Id. Additionally, ordinary adherence to the final judgment rule is in accordance with the sensible policy of "avoid[ing] the obstruction to just claims that would come from permitting the harassment and cost of a succession of separate
appeals from the various rulings to which a litigation may give rise, from its initiation to entry of judgment." Id. (quoting Cobbledick v. United States, 309 U.S. 323,325 (1940)). The Court notes again that this three-year-old case has proceeded through discovery and dispositive motion practice with only trial remaining to be completed.

This Court stands by its prior rulings on jurisdictional and merits issues, as well as its belief that this case would be better served by further factual development at trial. The Court has, however, reviewed the record and takes particular note of the recent orders issued by the United States Supreme Court on July 30, 2018, and November 2, 2018, as well as the extraordinary Order
of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. USDC-ORE, Case No. 18-73014 issued on November 8, 2018. At this time, the Court finds sufficient cause to revisit the question of interlocutory appeal as to its previous orders, and upon reconsideration, the Court finds that each of the factors outlined in § 1292(b) have been met regarding the previously mentioned orders. Thus, this Court now exercises its discretion and immediately certifies this case for interlocutory appeal. The Court does not make this decision lightly. Accordingly, this case is STAYED pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The question now will be what issues the Ninth Circuit wants to hear on appeal. There are multiple threshold issues from which to choose, including standing and the political question doctrine, as well as the viability of the plaintiffs' legal theory. Whatever path the Ninth Circuit takes, I suspect it will not be good for the plaintiffs, as it is clear this case now has the Supreme Court's attention, and it is unlikely to look favorably on the merits of the plaintiffs' claims. So, in some sense, the question for the plaintiffs is likely how they would prefer to lose. The choice matters because judgments on some issues, such as standing, could effect the viability of future climate-based claims in the future. By overplaying the plaintiffs' hand, Judge Aiken may have actually set back the cause of using the courts to advance climate policy—or so it seems right now.

The developments in the Juliana case were not the only Thanksgiving weekend climate change developments. On Friday, the federal government released the latest National Climate Assessment, which paints a none-too-pretty picture of what global climate change has in store if atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are not stabilized. Yet however much the report suggests action on climate change is needed, the Juliana developments suggest that those who think the remedy is to be found in federal court may be looking for love in all the wrong places. Meaningful climate policy will have to come from the political process, and that will remain a long, hard slog.

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  1. “Filed on behalf of children who are not yet able to vote, the suit’s claim is that by failing to control the emission of greenhouse gases, the federal government has violated the plaintiffs’s substantive due process rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to uphold its “public trust” obligation to hold certain natural resources in trust for the people and for future generations.”

    Objection, you Honor. Speculative, and assumes facts not in evidence.

    1. Always great to see the birther class offer pointers on evidentiary standards.

      Carry on, clingers. In all of your poorly educated, superstitious, bigoted glory.

      1. Tiresome. Get new material.

        1. and just where is an NPC going to get new material unless it is programmed into them by a real person?

          1. I kind of think the NPC meme was a bit overplayed, but in Kirkland’s case it might just be the literal truth.

            1. Every meme has been overplayed. Generally, they’ve been overplayed by the time that they are recognized as memes.

      2. Gosh … ad hominem as a substitute for “argumentation.”

        You must have nothing substantive to say.

  2. Hmm, another non-partisan judge, appointed by [you don’t need to know that!], reconsidering her decision in accordance with objective legal principles pronounced by the non-partisan Supreme Court. If you say otherwise, you are an enemy of the people.

    1. Je suis Jim Acosta?

  3. “It is also not clear that they are the sort of question that can be adequately adjudicated in federal court.”

    It is, however, clear that they are not the sort of question that can be adequately adjudicated in federal court.”

  4. Political question seems to be a good reason not to go to trial. Would be a battle of the experts which could go on forever. The trial could limit the number, but to what number should it be would be an issue.

    1. Well I for one welcome our new judicial masters. Politics is so messy and all the stakeholders seem to think they have some stake in what s being decided.

      It seems a much cleaner process to have some Clinton or Obama judge in California or Hawaii to issue a nationwide (worldwide?) injunction and just fix the whole mess forthwith in the judicial tradition of King Canute.

      1. Wonder what would have turned up in discovery, that they were so afraid of, though.

        1. Maybe we would discover that we don’t know the future.

          1. Hmm. That doesn’t sound very progressive.

            Better check your opinion for microaggressions and hidden privilege. Just to be safe.

        2. Kind of a ridiculous fishing expedition, if oil companies are the fount of all knowledge and can forsee hazards decades before the rest of us as some seem to believe, then we should just turn world government over to them rather than the clueless assholes that are running things.

        3. Does it hurt being that ignorant Jimmy?
          Or just normal for a Progressive serf?

        4. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that they were afraid of the expense. The sheer volume of costs associated with discovery on this level is daunting. Considering that you have multiple federal departments going back decades using tens of billions of government dollars (hundreds of billions if you include things such as renewable energy subsidies), just processing it would take multiple man-years of labor.

        5. Maybe the issue is “public policy should be made by people elected by the people”?

      2. in the judicial tradition of King Canute

        Do not libel a good King. He commanded the waves to be still to show his foolish courtiers that some things were beyond the powers of the King. Translated to the federal bench Canute would have ruled in favor of the “kids” – not by commanding the federal government to do something, but by making an order commanding the CO2 itself to disperse, and quit the realm.

    2. Also a political question because of lack of judicially manageable remedies. In order of strongest argument for dismissal to weakest argument, I would go 1) Political question, 2) Substantive Due Process, 3) Standing.

      I’d rather not have them rule no standing because that could potentially come up even in more reasonable lawsuits.

      1. I cannot stand items ruled on standing, personally. It’s used too often as a “Shut up” tactic. Most egregious that comes to mind was the ruling that the CO2 tailoring rule had essentially no one with standing to challenge it, since they benefitted from the rule (as opposed to being harmed by the untailored rule, which was unmanageable on its face).

  5. Another stupid ovarian appointed by one of Klinton or Obongo. No real surprise.

    1. Your comments are offensive and unhelpful.

      1. In a free country, we should welcome presentation of unvarnished conservative thought.

        1. I am a conservative. I do not think like that. You should cease stereotyping. Maybe some people are just jerks.

          1. Milady, are you not acquainted with the good Rev?

          2. If one is not a good little Progressive Plantation serf, spouting the appropriate propaganda, then one is bound to be disparaged as a Conservative by RAK aka the Royal Arse Kisser!

      2. Theo,
        ActualRightWing is just kidding around. He’s (she’s??) a troll, and does not ever make substantive points on this website. My advice: read those posts just for the amusement factor. (Not that they are inherently funny. But it’s funny–to me, anyway–that people find amusement in wasting their time typing out dumb comments.)

        My secret suspicion is that Actual is really a stealth liberal, since nothing will put off liberals, moderates, or independents more than racist and/or idiotic posts coming from “Republicans.” See, Clinton is spelled with a K. Like Klu Klux Klan. Clever! And Obama has been changed to Obongo. Which sounds vaguely like something they’d have in Africa. Like something from, say, Kenya!!!! Brilliant satire! Brilliant!!!

        1. There was a time I thought that ARWP was an ALK account set up to be his foil, his heel. I don’t think he could stand writing that stuff for this long, so I guess it’s not him. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

          1. I contribute solely as Kirkland.

            1. The word “contribute” here is used very loosely.

              1. What if they’re both bots, punching on each other to distract from civil discussion of the topics at hand?

                Actually, in meme theory, they could both be bots even if they’re human, regurgitating memes as a defense mechanism from their quasi-religious overlord memeplexes, to receive little positive strokes associated with what is similar to virtue signaling.

              2. The word “contribute” here is used very loosely.

                +1,000,000

                1. It is technically a contribution.

                  It’s not … useful, thoughtful, interesting, or helpful.

                  But it is a contribution.

                  (It’s not as bad as “contributing” sand to a pot of stew, but might be like putting in tofu cubes or jicama in a beef stew; pointless and wasting everyone’s time.)

              3. Come on now, don’t be so hard on Kirkland. I think his comments are excellent. In fact, he presents many of the best arguments for his side that there are.

                1. When given inconsistencies in his positions, ARWP either clarifies, hedges, or moves on and doesn’t answer, showing he’s not a bot. Kirkland just doubles down, usually with some form of whataboutism, such that I don’t think he’d pass the Turing Test if it wasn’t for the occasional comment unrelated to politics.

                  1. My positions are never inconsistent. If I haven’t answered, ti’s because this crappy commenting system has no notification feature.

                    1. That is, itself, and inconsistency, as you have acknowledged in the past an inconsistency.

                    2. No, it isn’t. I’ve acknowledged that I may not have answered a post. I deny that my positions have been inconsistent.

                2. Damning with faint praise, are we?

                3. That’s not saying much if they are the best arguments for his side. Then again, it is hard to justify Marxism in any form, especially Progressivism.

          2. I have also thought this, and ALK’s response calling the statements “unvarnished conservative thought” in consistent with someone creating a persona to attach to his strawmen.

        2. I suspect you are correct. I have wondered before how it is even possible for someone to think that way. I will follow your advice and ignore him, as I usually do Kirkland.

      3. Not a recent development

      4. I notice you didn’t say that they were untrue, though.

        1. Yeah! How dare you not address his substantive criticism of her being a “stupid ovarian”?

          1. Is she an ugly, dykeish looking woman? The answer is yes. Was she appointed by one of those two traitors who previously held the White House? Yes. Is she making a political ruling because she’s a hack? Yes, she is.

            1. Was she confirmed with bipartisan support? Yes.

              1. So what? Republicans confirm liberal hack judges, at least up until Garland. Only the Dems stonewall.

                1. “at least up until Garland. Only the Dems stonewall.”

                  Said without the barest hint of irony.

                  1. Irony requires awareness

                2. And, as everybody knows, judges appointed by liberals have gay buttsex with each other (that is, they stick their scholongs up each other’s rectums) while they write their decisions.

                  Hey, this is kinda fun.

                  1. “(that is, they stick their scholongs up each other’s rectums)”

                    But what if these judges appointed by liberals are schlongless? What if they are, you know, ovarians? How do they participate in this Godless gay buttsex? Do they strap on a Steely Dan?

                    And if you can’t figure out a way to insult brown Muslims and Meskins in a post – the dirt people – you’re not trying hard enough. ARWP will not approve.

                    1. I don’t know how the schlongless ovarians do the Godless gay buttsex, but anything a schlongfull person can do, a schlongless person can do better. So they must do it somehow.

                    2. “And if you can’t figure out a way to insult brown Muslims and Meskins in a post – the dirt people…”

                      “dirt people” is a terrible term. I prefer “caramel people”. As opposed to coconut or chocolate people.

      5. Depends on what your goal is. If you think being “nice” is helpful, then no, they’re not. If your goal is to hasten the collapse of America so that sober men can take over, then they are.

        1. It’s nice you hear you admit that your goal is to hasten the collapse of America. I mean, it was easy to infer, Comrade Patriot, but to hear it straight from your, well, fingertips is refreshing honesty.

          1. The collapse of America is the only thing that will bring about the end of liberalism. People are okay with liberalism as long as they’re comfortable.

            1. WE MUST END THE COMFORT!

  6. Jonathan, I would steer you to Anthony Watt’s blog, WattsUpWithThat. You have to go back in the archives to find the early dissection of the shoddy science behind the global warming alarmism, but you may come away reassured that the world is not on the brink of climate disaster.

    From the folly of using trees as temperature proxies to falsified data to computer models that are laughably incomplete?those who are pushing climate alarmism are not doing good science.

    To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds: I will believe man is changing the climate when the people keening shrilly about a crisis start changing their lifestyles to accord with their hysterics.

    1. You might also spend some time watching a few of Richard Lindzen’s lectures available on YouTube. Lindzen is an actual atmospheric physicist who can explain the operation of the greenhouse gas mechanism together with convection and adiabatic cooling (which the idiots at SkepticalScience.com just ignore), and explain why the radiative balance computations done to support the AGW narrative are just wrong.

      1. If only there were some, I don’t know, really hot, really big, really bright object in proximity to earth that could have a meaningful effect on our climate…

        1. The candle makers shut it down.

          1. Damned unions. SEIU did the same thing to my monocle polishing consortium. And then they had the gall to make off with all of my orphans and force them to work as Fight for Fifteen? agitators.

      2. Richard Lindzen is a smart guy, but he is far from the only smart guy working in the field. And the clear majority of these guys and gals do not agree with his hypothesis. Lindzen once predicted that a doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would result in little if any increase in global average surface temperature. Thus far, trends in the data are not going in his direction.

        It’s kind of like you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and the doctors you see recommend similar courses of treatment. If you look hard enough, you can probably always find someone with credentials who will recommend doing nothing or some off-the-wall therapy. After all, it’s just your life.

        1. Lindzen once predicted that a doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would result in little if any increase in global average surface temperature.

          Can you supply a reference for this? What Lindzen says is:

          If we were to assume that all warming over the past 50 years were due to added greenhouse gases, we would conclude that the sensitivity [to a doubling of CO?] was about 1?C. How do models with much higher sensitivity manage to replicate the past 50 years? They do so by subtracting from the greenhouse warming essentially unknown aerosols, which they then include as due to human emissions. However, in a recent paper from the Max Planck Institute, Stevens (2015) finds that aerosols are limited and unable to compensate for the higher sensitivities. If man accounts for only 51% of the recent warming, then even modest future warming becomes implausible.

        2. Yeah, well Lindzen is closer than the IPPC, Lewis and Curry have calculated TCS at 1.3K, not using models, but actual HADCRUT4 data since 1860. If Lindzen says its zero than that’s closer to 1.3 than the IPPC mean of 3.0.

          1. Just to be clear, I have never heard or read anything from Lindzen claiming it (i.e., climate sensitivity to CO2) to be zero, or even claiming that he knows what it is, just that he believes, based upon the evidence that he has reviewed, that it is close to 1.0 degrees K, which is a hell of a lot lower than what is claimed by the IPCC.

        3. The heating we have seen in the last few decades is warmer nights and not warmer days. This theory of warming lines more closely with UHI more so than carbon as an extra sensitive gas. The feedback sensitivity given to carbon would imply we have an unstable atmosphere as there is no capping of the feedback loop give saturation. So we know the models are wrong since our atmosphere has had much higher concentrations of carbon in the past but we maintained environmental stability.

          1. So we know the models are wrong since our atmosphere has had much higher concentrations of carbon in the past but we maintained environmental stability.

            There have been instances of environmental instability in the past, including mass extinctions, that some blame on the Clathrate gun hypothesis. Supposedly, increases in temperature released methane that had been stored in permafrost, resulting in a greater greenhouse effect, thereby increasing temperature and releasing more methane, etc. But again, the IPCC itself says that this is very unlikely.

    2. I second the promotion.

      My two personal favorite examples of alarmist hysteria are (1) all the pearl clutching over killing off corals, when they have survived millions of years of climate change, most recently the 4-500 foot sea level rise of 10-15,000 years ago; and (2) there were cattle ranches in Greenland 1000 years ago during the Medieval Warming Period, and there are none now, which makes it pretty unlikely that it is warmer now than then.

      1. While coral reefs generally have survived for millions of years, most established coral reefs are younger than 10,000 years old. The 410ish foot sea level rise (starting about 20,000 years ago) would have killed off a lot of coral. The concern is that rising sea levels will kill off existing established colonies (like it did in the past).

        The current consensus is that the northern hemisphere is hotter today than it was in the Medieval Warm Period. Your cherry-picked selection of Greenland is noted. You should know that the science about the Medieval Warm period suggests that it was much more stable (temperature wise) than you’ve apparently been told, and the causes of the modest increases have explanations that are wholly consistent with the current warming trend. In any event, there are cows on Greenland today.

        1. The current consensus is that the northern hemisphere is hotter today than it was in the Medieval Warm Period.

          Not according to the study described in this article:

          A paper published this week in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology finds that the Medieval Warming Period “was warmer than the late 20th century by [about] 1?C.” The paper adds to the peer-reviewed publications of over 1000 scientists in the Medieval Warm Period Project showing that the global Medieval Warming Period was warmer than the current warming period.

          1. The study was not a meta study on all of the northern hemisphere. It was limited to two locations in Scotland. The part of the abstract you’re leaving out is:

            “Without the benefit of seasonal resolution, SST averaged from shell time series would be weighted toward the fast-growing summer season, resulting in the conclusion that the early MCA was warmer than the late 20th century by ~1 ?C. This conclusion is broadly true for the summer season, but not true for the winter season.”

            Note the citation you’ve included in your quote. Click on it. There is a link to “Northern Hemisphere”. Click on that. There is a link to 20-90 degrees, click on that. Even their own source claims higher current temperature in the area we are discussing (northern hemisphere).

            1. The study was not a meta study on all of the northern hemisphere. It was limited to two locations in Scotland. The part of the abstract you’re leaving out is:

              The finding was that “Thus, during the 10th to 12th centuries winters were colder and summers were warmer by ~ 2 ?C and seasonality was higher relative to the late 20th century.” Furthermore, you quibble with one study. What about the multitude of other referenced studies from the northern hemisphere, Asia, Europe and North America?

              Even their own source claims higher current temperature in the area we are discussing (northern hemisphere).

              In the study you refer to they concluded that “the recent period does not look particularly warmer compared to the MWP.” Is this what you interpret to be a “higher current temperature”?

              Perhaps you are referring to their finding that “peak twentieth century warmth (which occurred between 1937 and 1946) exceeded peak MWP warmth by 0.29?C.” What is this supposed to demonstrate? The MWP was a period of 400 years. If the finding is that the recent period does not look warmer than the MWP then what difference does it make that the peak years were warmer? And what do you make of 1937 to 1946 on the graph showing that significant production of CO2 by humans began only after World War II?

              1. For some reason the tilde character is showing up in these posts as a dash and could perhaps be confused with a minus sign by some.

        2. Cherrypicking Greenland –

          A better example of cherrypicking is Gergis, pages 2k, law dome, dome C., mann2003, etc.

          The claim that skeptics cherrypick is laughable in comparison to those above.

          https://climateaudit.org/?s=gergis

          1. The claim is that cherrypickers cherrypick. Cherrypicking should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, rather than tribalism. Skeptics and alarmists are equally capable of presenting bad science, or cherrypicking data. We should be weary of it wherever it manifests.

        3. One seen some dumb shit… but claiming the consensus that we are warmer than the mwp… wow. The watt blog mentioned above has a map with dots of all the evidence of MWP being warmer. Doesn’t even come close to suggesting the mwp being cooler on the northern hemisphere.

          1. Can you link me to the map?

    3. I would suggest steering to Climate audit dot org and climate etc.

      Climate audit / Steve mcintyre devastates the multiple hockey sticks that all supposedly validate all the other hockey stick studies. The validations all use the same variations of the various proxies selected with expost screening, over/underweighting, bad statistical methods. No competent scientist believes those hockey stick studies provide any meaningful insight into prior temps.

      1. Don’t forget getting the sign wrong, and then claiming it made no difference. I am not sure than someone without scientific training can wrap his mind around Steve’s work, which is why I didn’t send Jonathan there. I think Anthony does a great job of making Steve’s work easier to grasp.

    4. I am very familiar with Anthony Watts’ blog and other skeptic sites. Indeed, I was toiling in the climate skeptic vineyards long before WattsUpWithThat was founded, as I used to run the environmental policy program at CEI and oversaw the launch of the Cooler Heads Coalition.

      1. Thank you for sharing that. That makes your assessment of the climate situation more interesting?I do not see how anyone can be familiar with Anthony’s work on temperature stations and Steve McIntyre’s work on the temperature proxies, as well as the model’s failure to account for water vapor, clouds, and the role of the sun (to name a few variables) and yet fear that we are in a climate crisis.

        Still, this is a law blog and not a climate blog. Thank you for your work; I always find it thought-provoking.

        1. Lady Theo – I have a slightly different take on the quality of the climate science. First I possess little if any knowledge or assessment of the validity of the basic theory that the increase in co2 has an effect on the climate (meaningful effect as opposed to a trivial effect).

          That being said, the capital spend defending the hockey stick studies in spite of the demonstratable errors in those studies (contrary to the “replication/validation” by multiple subsequent studies with and without tree rings) seriously taints what may be otherwise quality work in other areas of climate science.

          1. Joe?I am a scientist, albeit not in the physical sciences?and I find the errors in the alarmists’ work to be egregious. Simple things like seemingly ignoring the margin of error. If a pharmaceutical company claimed a product was effective when the magnitude of the effect fell within the margin of error, it would be vilified by the same people who claim they can model temperature change to more significance than their tools allow.

            I think non-scientists fall prey to Michael Crichton’s observation (can’t remember the name of it) that when they read about something with which they are familiar, they can pick out all the errors and become skeptical; but then they turn to a topic about which they are uneducated and believe every word they read.

            That educated, experienced people can look at the claims of climate alarmists and fail to observe non-scientific motives amazes me.

            1. It’s called the Gell-Mann amensia Effect.

              Could you provide some examples of climate studies ignoring the margin of error? It’s hard to evaluate your claims without specifics.

              1. “Could you provide some examples of climate studies ignoring the margin of error? It’s hard to evaluate your claims without specifics.”

                Example – all the hockey stick studies

                Example 2 – sea level rise – each individual satellite measurement has error margin exceeding a full inch, -Though the claim is made that multiple measurements will average out and reduce the margin of error. Ignoring that systemic errors cant be corrected via averaging.

                1. All the hockey stick studies? That’s not specific enough.

                  Where is the claim you are challenging made? Can you link?

              2. Thank you for supplying the name about which I had amnesia!

                I can give you one example off the top of my head?the process of recording temperature at weather stations in the US over the past century. For the first many decades, thermometers were what you and I think of thermometers as being?glass tubes filled with liquid, marked in degree intervals, with tenths of a degree being the smallest significant digit. These thermometers must be read correctly?to ensure that the reading is not marred by parallax. Furthermore, the readings were rounded to the nearest tenth. Thus, the number of significant digits (those after the decimal point) is, at best, one. The error bars on those readings would subsume even the precision of a tenth of a degree.

                Current thermometers are digital. Yet temperature anomalies (the way we look at change in temperature) marries these two means of measurement and elides the difference in precision.

                It is easy to be misled by the focus on half a degree Celsius?because the graphs are blown up to make a half of a degree or a degree look enormous. Put the so-called anomaly in context, I.e., recorded temperature and imputed temperature over time, and the delta is minuscule.

                Consider further that we have no recorded temperatures for the centuries (millennia) prior to about 1860. All the temperatures imputed prior to that, using proxies, cannot claim to be significant beyond the decimal point. That is common sense.

                1. Another issue with recorded temp measurements is the change in locations where the temps are recorded. A simple look at temp differences on a weather map on the local TV station shows widely varying readings.

                  Any study of historical temps would have to be done at readings from the same locations.

                2. “It is easy to be misled by the focus on half a degree Celsius?because the graphs are blown up to make a half of a degree or a degree look enormous.”

                  You’ve identified a specific problem but I don’t know where you think this manifests. What graph?

                  “All the temperatures imputed prior to that, using proxies, cannot claim to be significant beyond the decimal point. That is common sense.”

                  It’s not common to me. But what decimal point? And what point are you trying to make? If proxy temperatures in, say, 1400 are lower than current by .5 degrees, the margin of error (at least so far as I can tell from what you are saying) is .4-.6.

              3. Also, note that the models do not include variables which at this time are too complicated or poorly understood?e.g., water vapor and clouds. Further, no one really knows what to do with the sun and its cycles: what is the role of solar wind in cloud formation? That is just one question the models ignore.

                I work in pharmaceuticals and specifically, in drugs for hematologic malignancies. The more I read about “cancer,” the more complicated it becomes. Scientists keep finding more and more complex systems that play as-yet poorly understood roles in leukemogenesis, tumor survival, tumor aggressiveness, and tumor response to drugs. I see climate as similar?we at first think we understand it, but as we dig deeper, we find more and more complexity.

                Now, sadly, the 880 is calling my name. The siren song of traffic. Sigh.

                1. each individual satellite measurement has error margin exceeding a full inch, -Though the claim is made that multiple measurements will average out and reduce the margin of error. Ignoring that systemic errors cant be corrected via averaging.

                  So your claim is that all, or most, of the measurements are biased in the same direction? Because if they are not then there is no reason to think the average is biased.

                  1. Is your claim that all of the error is random?

                  2. Bernard – Random errors are errors in measurement that lead to measurable values being inconsistent when repeated measurements of a constant attribute or quantity are taken. Systematic errors are errors that are not determined by chance but are introduced by an inaccuracy (involving either the observation or measurement process) inherent to the system.[3] Systematic error may also refer to an error with a non-zero mean, the effect of which is not reduced when observations are averaged.[4]

                    Averaging systemic errors is a falicy that alarmist continue to make

                    1. TIP,

                      I asked a question. What I want to know is whether there is a consistent bias. If there is, and that is demonstrable, it ought to be possible to correct for it.

                      Joe,

                      I understand that. I was asking whether the errors did in fact have non-zero mean. I’d like to know the evidence that the measurements are biased.

                    2. Bernard to answer both your questions.

                      Random error bias can be explained via the measurement of the same item multiple times, which can be corrected/reduced by averaging the different measurements. Systemic measurement errors are of the type that are errors in the measuring device, calibration, etc. which cant be corrected or reduced by averaging. For example, if the yard stick is 36.5 inches instead of 36.0 inches, you will always be off by 0.5 inches, no matter how many times you measure.

                      As ladyTheo pointed out – if the thermometor only measures to the .05 degree, you can never average the measurements to a precision of .1 degree.

                    3. Joe,

                      Random error bias can be explained via the measurement of the same item multiple times, which can be corrected/reduced by averaging the different measurements. Systemic measurement errors are of the type that are errors in the measuring device, calibration, etc. which cant be corrected or reduced by averaging. For example, if the yard stick is 36.5 inches instead of 36.0 inches, you will always be off by 0.5 inches, no matter how many times you measure.

                      I keep telling you I understand the point you are making. I think we are using different terminology here. What you call systematic error is what I am referring to as biased measurement. The error is always, or usually, in one direction. And I am asking you how we know that the measurements are biased – that the error is systematic – that the average length of the yardsticks is too long, or too short.

                    4. bernard, you have the burden backwards. It is not TIP’s job to prove the existence of systemic error – it is the data collector’s burden to demonstrate the lack.

                      That said, you are fundamentally misunderstanding the statistical concept. Say I measure the length of a stick. Unfortunately, I only have a very crude yardstick. I (correctly) estimate that the margin of error of the single measurement using that yardstick is a half inch. My measurement error is a combination of systemic and stochastic error. If I make 100 measurements using the same yardstick, I will get different results. If I average those results, I can make the stochastic component of the error go away. As you hint, those random errors tend to cancel out. There is, however, nothing you can do to eliminate any systemic error that results from using that same yardstick.

                      I can eliminate some of the systemic error by having 100 different people make 100 measurements using that yardstick. That will correct for errors in angle, etc. (How you hold the stick matters.) But we still haven’t done anything to check for whether the yardstick actually has 36 inches on it.

                      The bottom line is that even with those 10,000 measurements, the total margin of error is still a half inch.

                    5. Rossami,

                      I am not misunderstanding a damn thing and am growing tired of having a basic point repeated to me over and over.

                      Please stop.

                      I fully grasp that if you keep using the same yardstick you can’t average out the total error.

                      What I am asking is why assume the errors are systematic? (And if they are, how do you know the direction of the error?) How can the experimenter prove to you that they are not? and why, if you want to claim they are you have no burden to supply evidence, or at least some reason based on some flaw the measurement devices or how they are being used.

                      You can’t simply say “Climate change isn’t significant because your measurements are biased.” Well, you can, but if you do you don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

                    6. bernard? the systematic errors come with the nature of our tools. Well, at least one type of error does, that of our tools only being so accurate. A thermometer that measures to 0.05 degrees cannot give you two significant digits after the decimal point. The temperature record until the common use of digital tools was at best only significant to one digit after the decimal, with an error of +/- 0.1. To say that a tenth of a degree, or two tenths of a degree, of warming is significant is just nonsense. It is claiming an accuracy we simply don’t have.

                      We introduce more error when we use different tools to measure different systems. The thermometer in Bangor, ME is not the same one used in San Diego. While the manufacturer may give an accuracy guarantee of some type, the fact is that the tools are unique?and we cannot assume they measure exactly the same.

                      All of these simple errors compound to make our accuracy far less than what we might like.

                      It behooves us to remember, as well, that scientists are human. They get invested in their work. Far too many are willing to massage their data if it means preserving their results.

                    7. LadyTheo,

                      the systematic errors come with the nature of our tools. Well, at least one type of error does, that of our tools only being so accurate. A thermometer that measures to 0.05 degrees cannot give you two significant digits after the decimal point.

                      This is not a systematic error. There is no reason to think that the rounding involved biases the outcome high or low.

                    8. “While the manufacturer may give an accuracy guarantee of some type, the fact is that the tools are unique?and we cannot assume they measure exactly the same.”

                      If the temperature measurements on both increase, while the same measuring tool is being used, what does that tell you? Even if the tool is broken, we still can identify a trend.

                    9. bernard, you clearly don’t understand it because you’re still asking the wrong question. I am not assuming that the errors are systemic (and certainly not assuming that they are known to be systemic in one direction or another – if we knew that much, we could correct for it). We are saying that it is not possible based on the data available so far to say that the error is not systemic.

                      Or more precisely, we are saying that the statistical treatment of error by a large number of climate scientists fails to properly differentiate between systemic and stochastic errors. To be quite blunt, Michael Mann published and continues to try to defend a paper with statistical errors so obvious that I would have failed anyone making them in anything past a sophomore year statistics course.

                    10. No. I’m not asking the wrong question.

                      I started this kerfuffle by asking whether the claim was that the measurements were biased. Instead of a simple response, lime the one you just gave: we are saying that the statistical treatment of error by a large number of climate scientists fails to properly differentiate between systemic and stochastic errors – I got lectures about statistics.

                      When I further asked why one should suspect bias I got nothing except, “Gee, we think so.”

                      Finally, you are telling me that the statistical techniques used fail to make the distinction you mention. Fine.

                      Now is this due to incompetence, in your opinion, or dishonesty, or to the lack of good ways to accomplish what you want?

                      Further, assuming there is some systematic error, how can we determine the direction of the bias?

                    11. Further, assuming there is some systematic error, how can we determine the direction of the bias?

                      There’s at least one place where the bias is explicitly shown. All measurements of temperature cited by NOAA and NASA of surface air temperature based on thermometer readings from ships and buoys. Every single one of the studies shown explicitly biases the data in the positive direction. Every single one of them. Why? Because it’s the “right way”.

                      Speaking as a metrologist (no, not a meteorologist, think NIST/NPL measurement/calibration specialty)) I can tell you that everyone that tries to claim warming based on tree rings, and ice cores, and explicitly biased thermometer readings (even going so far as to ignore variables like the heat island effect of cities), is being dishonest, or incompetent. Either way, that doesn’t give me much confidence in their conclusions.

                      I mean, seriously, thermometer readings from the 1800s? Most thermometers now are not actually capable of +/- 0.1 C accuracy, but we think people could guesstimate to 2 decimal significant digits in the 1800/1900s? Take some time to read up on the accuracy and repeatability of thermometers, and you just might rethink your reliance on them.

                    12. “All measurements of temperature cited by NOAA and NASA of surface air temperature based on thermometer readings from ships and buoys. Every single one of the studies shown explicitly biases the data in the positive direction. Every single one of them. Why? Because it’s the “right way”.”

                      Couple things. First, I doubt ground surface air temperatures used by NOAA and NASA rely on ships and buoys. Second, you’d want to know that ship-collected (rather than bucket or buoy) are systematically warmer because over reliance on ship-collected data would show warmer temperatures than actual. We can explain the difference because the data is moved through a warm engine room; see here. Third, including the adjustments lowers temperature measurements because the bias for the data set (ships) is overly warm.

                    13. “(even going so far as to ignore variables like the heat island effect of cities)”

                      Who is ignoring the heat island effect? It’s well known and documented and for that reason incorporated into the data. Do you have a specific study in mind that ignores the effect?

                2. Now, sadly, the 880 is calling my name.

                  Off topic, but you must be a Southern Californian transplanted to the Bay Area 🙂 I believe it is against the Bay Area Constitution to prefix numbered freeways with the word “the”.

                  In the Bay Area you “take 101 to grandma’s house”. In Southern California you “take the 101 to grandma’s house”. Or so I’m told (regularly).

                  1. Actually, I am a Hoosier happily enjoying NoCal weather. Perhaps you haven’t been to the Bay in awhile, but EVERYONE attaches the article to the highways. Maybe there has been too much cross-pollination between north and south. I had lunch today with a doc who talked about the 85. Sheesh. Now, he is from NoCal, but studied in SoCal, and is back in NoCal.

                    We need federal funding to study this.

                3. “That is just one question the models ignore.”

                  Which specific model do you contend is ignoring those things? The IPCC’s models incorporate the effects of the sun’s variable degree of brightness into their calculations.

              4. Could you provide some examples of climate studies ignoring the margin of error? It’s hard to evaluate your claims without specifics.

                The basic problem is that climate is more complex than we can handle and so for people who can’t predict the weather next week to say that they can predict the weather next century, almost by necessity must be ignoring the margin of error. Has there been an alarmist climate model yet that has been able to accurately predict anything?

                1. “The basic problem is that climate is more complex than we can handle and so for people who can’t predict the weather next week to say that they can predict the weather next century, almost by necessity must be ignoring the margin of error.”

                  Predicting the weather is a different challenge than predicting the climate.

                  Allow me to demonstrate. The climate in Southern California, in July of 2118, will be dry, sunny, and hot, with significant risk of wildfire. However, the climate in McMurdo Sound, in July of 2118, will be extremely cold, with high winds. Care to wager on whether these predictions are accurate?

                  Now, predicting the weather? Totally different story. Which days will it rain, and how much, and what are the high and low temperatures of each 24-hour period? Couldn’t hazard a guess.

                  1. Predicting the weather is a different challenge than predicting the climate.

                    Yes, you’re right. Weather is more variable in a particular place and time than climate, and so is harder to predict. (Mark Twain once said that climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.) The point I was trying to make, however inartfully, is that incomprehensible unknowns govern both processes and that a person claiming to have a handle on how these forces work at the macro level of 100 years should be showing a greater understanding of how they work at the micro level of seven days.

                    1. What the computer simulations are trying to predict is much more akin to the weather than the climate. They are predicting a particular average global temperature, not just a generalization, and the track record for their predictions thus far has not been very good.

                    2. “…the track record for their predictions thus far has not been very good.”

                      Which ones? This one from 1995 has been pretty good based on observations since. A little too conservative, but not bad. The IPCC models have been getting worse, but that’s what you’d expect since their earlier forecasts were wrong in the opposite direction.

                2. “Has there been an alarmist climate model yet that has been able to accurately predict anything?”

                  I don’t know what you mean by alarmist here, but many climate models have accurately predicted things.

                  1. I don’t know what you mean by alarmist here, but many climate models have accurately predicted things.

                    What is your response to the graph here comparing the models with observations?

  7. “However serious the threat posed by climate change — and it is quite serious . . .”

    OBJECTION, assumes facts not REMOTELY in evidence. Not a single bit of the so-called “evidence” in support of anthropogenic caused climate change would survive a well-presented Daubert challenge.

    1. I agree with this comment, and was, in fact, going to comment on just that quote.

      My objection is that the quote is vague, intentionally vague, as in the vernacular of the AGW movement. There may be a threat posed by climate change due to no human-caused forces; there may be benefits to this climate change, depending on one’s perspective. Higher temperatures and more CO2 should improve agricultural production. The threat to which Mr Adler refers is no doubt the hysterical fantasy that the trace amounts of CO2 contributed to the atmosphere by man cause some unprecedented departure from the remarkable stability the atmosphere has demonstrated for millennia, through excursions of CO2 concentration and temperature far greater than we’re experiencing now. Storms are not, in fact, occurring more frequently, nor are they stronger or otherwise more violent. Seas are not rising because of man. Seas are not acidifying. And the climate is in no way becoming unstable. All of that said, there is nothing man can do to cause or stop the change of climate related to CO2. So there is no cause here, no harm, and no possible relief.

    2. Don’t worry, DJD.

      When it comes to environmental matters Adler is a master of the Collins technique.

      Look serious, express concern, call for thought, etc., and then when it comes time, stick with your tribe. It gets you credit for being “serious, thoughtful,” etc., without having to actually piss anybody off.

      1. Well, when “his tribe” is proposing carbon taxes, yes, like yesterday

        1. Please cite to where Republicans – not individual legislators but the party, supported by Congressional leadership – is pushing legislation to enact carbon taxes.

      2. Ah yes, the classic, if a Republican doesn’t vote exactly how the Democrats want them to vote on all of the issues all of the time they’re just a partisan tool.

        You are approaching the Sarcastr0 level of partisan douchbaggery.

        1. Adler isn’t a member of Congress. He doesn’t get to vote on legislation

          He has repeatedly expressed ‘deep concern,” or whatever, over climate change. Yet, to my recall, he has generally objected to any policies aimed at addressing the problem.

    3. Hey, now. The Rev. Arthur will be calling you an uneducated birther denialist if you’re not careful.

  8. It had the same prospects of success as the original children’s crusade of 1212, and the adult organizers were just as cynically using the children for their own ends. Although admiditly those ends didn’t go as far as delivering up the children to mideast slave markets as did the 1212 crusade.

    1. You can’t really be sure of that, they’re not finished yet.

  9. “However serious the threat posed by climate change — and it is quite serious”

    I couldn’t agree with you more, since we are currently in an ice age and have been for the last 2.6m – 3m years, albeit currently a brief interglacial period. I certainly will agree that climate change poses a huge risk to our survival, especially since we are right in the early stages of a solar minimum that could possibly tip us in to the next glacial advance.c

    Everyone like to talk about the 97% consensus the human caused carbon has caused modest warming the past century, and I’m part of the 90%, but no one likes to talk about the 100% consensus that we are still in an ice age and we certainly have more glacial cycles coming.

  10. Just finished reading “A Cold Welcome” by Sam White. It’s about the attempts to colonize North America at the height of the Little Ice Age in the 16th and early 17th centuries. One description of the settlement at St. Augustine, Fl. notes Franciscan friars walking barefoot through a foot of snow. Might be exaggeration, like much of the writing about colonies was then, but probably has some basis in fact.

    Other reports describe snow-covered mountains and buckets of water freezing solid – at Monterey Bay.

  11. “This action came in response to a none-too-subtle rebuke from the Supreme Court suggesting the trial court was a bit out of line — a message that does not bode well for the plaintiffs’ claims.”
    For some reason, the “a bit out of line” part reminded me of De Niro’s character in Goodfellas, Jimmy, telling Billy Batts that he had been a little out of line himself (telling Tommy to go get his #%*^ shine box), and then buying him a drink. We know how well that ended up for Batts.

    1. One of my favorite scenes in any movie, but from what I’ve read, Batts wasn’t killed for that, but because he was competition for Jimmy and Tommy.

      1. What I’ve read, who knows if its true, is that Jimmy took over Batts’ bookmaking business (or was it loansharking?) while Batts was in prison, and the fight at the bar was over Batts wanting it back.

  12. Can I make the same inter-generational justice case about our national debt, and sue both political parties?

    1. Here, here.

      Honestly, as soon as saw this suit come out, I immediately began thinking of various political issues that I would like to litigate under a “but think of the children” theory. National debt topped the list.

    2. Here’s your winner for comment of the day…?.

      1. Thanks! Here is an apropos quote:

        Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.
        – Herbert Hoover

    3. “Except for about a year during 1835?1836, the United States has continuously had a fluctuating public debt since [our] Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789.”

      So I don’t think this generation could make a unique case concerning the debt–as opposed to this climate case.

      1. Well, yeah, except that the magnitude of the debt relative to GDP is higher than it’s ever been.

        And you can make a helluva lot more concise case as to blame for the national debt relative to the clarity of the case you can make as to blame for global warming.

        1. Oops, I’m sorry. Climate Change. Need to keep my labels current.

          1. Now they are moving onto “climate disruption,” as it makes for a correlation in the minds of people that any weather event that seems out of the ordinary is caused by man.

        2. “Well, yeah, except that the magnitude of the debt relative to GDP is higher than it’s ever been.”

          Not true.

          1. The only time GDP to debt was higher than now was in 1946, for obvious reasons, and we are approaching those levels again, without a World War to blame. Unless you count the War on Terror I guess. So substantively, bevis is “mostly true” if you want to put in into fact checker terms.

            1. War on Poverty, War on Drugs, …

              1. … war on Christmas…

          2. Yeah, I thought about adding a “besides the period of WWII” condition but I was too lazy to look it up and assumed that everybody would get it. Whatever. Fact is now we’re piling up debt at a rate equal to or greater than we did during the most expensive war in our history (inflation-adjusted of course since we must be precise), not to mention that the war in question immediately followed a decade of the most severe economic crisis in our history. Back then the level of debt could be justified. Now? Not so much.

            1. “Now? Not so much.”

              We were involved in two wars, both of which lasted longer than American involvement in WWII, and we had the SECOND-MOST severe economic crisis in our history in the middle of the wars.

              The D’s are going to ask to be dismissed out of your lawsuit, on the grounds that all of the above started on the other guy’s watch.

      2. So, you’re saying we’ve been screwing our kids over except for the Jackson Administration?

        1. The last president to balance the budget was Jackson.
          The last president to cut spending was Jefferson.
          The Democrats used to celebrate Jefferson-Jackson dinner day, Now they’re appalled by them, a slave owner and an uncouth proto-Trump.

      3. By precisely what legal logic does “this generation” have a unique case concerning climate change that is not identically applicable to the national debt?

        – We’ve been in debt since 1789. We’ve been producing CO2 and changing the climate (see the temperature affects of land-use changes) for that entire time, too.
        – We are producing more CO2 than in the past. We are producing more debt than in the past, too.
        – We have a bunch of people with impressive credentials saying that CO2 is bad (and a few with similar credentials saying not so much). We have a bunch of people with impressive credentials saying debt is bad (and a few with similar credentials saying not so much).
        – We have a bunch of demagogues (including a few with the credentials) saying that this is our LAST CHANCE to change before CO2 does irreparable harm to the climate. We have had an equivalent bunch of demagogues (including a few with the credentials) who regularly said that this was our LAST CHANCE to change before debt did irreparable harm to the economy.

        What precise legal principle gives these kids standing that would prevent a different group of kids from suing over the debt?

        1. I don’t see the debt as being a big problem and expect the “market” to make whatever corrections are needed, harsh and disproportionate those corrections may be (I’m in the capitalists camp despite my leftist social views).

          I just don’t see the debt situation as a good analogy for this climate case–which was my main point.

          As far as the legal principle…nothing’s stopping them from trying so, go for it.

          1. It is an honest position to take that climate change > national debt, though one must suppose that it is a matter of subjective opinion which is most important.

          2. I don’t see the debt as being a big problem

            Ok. And if the judge doesn’t see CO2 emissions as a big problem, this is also a nothingburger, right?

        2. “What precise legal principle gives these kids standing that would prevent a different group of kids from suing over the debt?”

          Laches. We’ve been aware of the ramifications of being in debt all along, but only recently became aware of the degree of danger caused by climate change.

          Legally speaking.

          1. An informed 15 year old child has been aware of both the large national debt and man-made climate change for the same amount of time – their entire “aware” life (perhaps seven years for a bright child).

            To the extent these plaintiffs are asking for a remedy to their plight, both cases seem identical with respect to laches. It is not an “unreasonable delay” to fail to assert your claims decades before you were born.

      4. And as everyone knows, the climate only began fluctuating with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, which obviously implicates the United States of America, its government, and its citizens individually (excepting, of course, those affected groups who social scientists have determined to be victims of the white patriarchy and who are now, therefore, doubly victimized).

        It’s settled science all the way down.

      5. Why is climate change is different than other perceived future crisis that have come up from time to time.

        The Horse Manure Crisis of 1894 said we’d be buried in several feet of manure by the 1950s. Throughout the 1900s, people warned that population growth would lead to mass starvation (we’ve long since passed the perceived maximums). In the second half of the 1900s, nuclear war would end us all. As a kid, I was shown films warning that we’d soon run out of coal (even though, as demand falls, I wonder if we’ll ever bother digging the rest of it out). Twenty years ago, it was the ozone layer. Today, beyond climate change, we hear warnings about artificial intelligence.

        Humans always fear that some outside force will be the end of us all. At some point, I suppose one of those predictions might be right. But there’s no reason to think that climate change is any different than the rest. History tells us we’ll figure a way out of this one the moment it’s serious enough to compel people to change.

        If you allow kids to begin suing and forcing changes based on this perceived threat, you’re opening the door for them to sue over ANY perceived threat. Why not allow kids to sue to end/curb/restrict artificial intelligence? Or to force the United States to work to end nuclear weapons?

  13. How does a “living constitutionalist” reject the plaintiffs’ claims?; how does your “theory” show that Judge Aiken is wrong in granting standing to these plaintiffs, and ruling that their claim is justiciable?

    1. “How does a ‘living constitutionalist’ reject the plaintiffs’ claims?”

      By noting that, despite the lofty language regarding “our posterity” in the Preamble, nothing in the body of the document actually requires that anything be saved for them.

      1. But the definition of the terms “equal protection “, and “due procees”, evolve over time. Just because some rich white guys 225 years ago thought the those clauses didn’t protect the environment in which our children are forced to spend their lives, why should that matter?

  14. Well, Aiken does have extraordinary arrogance, even by federal judge standards.

    Assuming the plaintiffs prevailed at trial, exactly what would the remedies be?

    Imposition of taxes? Required spending? Banning of cars? Required purchase of solar panels?

    It would be nothing less than complete control of US economic policy, not by Congress or the President, but by a single judge.

    Of course India and China should be the defendants since they are the leading alleged culprits, not the US which has steadily reduced its carbon output.

    1. Yes to all of that. New York and New Jersey’s highest courts have held that the states are mandated to spend money to provide a “sound education” or some BS.

      1. Texas’s high court, too. It’s based on the Texas Constitution. Presumably NY and NJ also based their decisions on their respective constitutions.

        1. Yes, they did. But I don’t think the drafters had in mind that the courts would unilaterally decide what states had to spend to provide this.

          1. The courts didn’t unilaterally do squat.

            The state legislatures were up to bat first, and whiffed.

            1. The Constitution was intended to guide the legislatures as to what they were supposed to do. It’s a political question. It was not intended for judges to second guess their decisions.

          2. I haven’t studied the education provisions in the Texas Constitution, but your “unilaterally” concern is less worrisome in Texas, because our judges are elected. The Supreme Court of Texas is entirely Republican. The state turned out the last democratic supreme court justice in 1998.

    2. “Assuming the plaintiffs prevailed at trial, exactly what would the remedies be?”

      Depends in large part on what turns up in discovery.

      1. No, James. They will not try to force the president to nuke India and China

  15. AGW is solely about transferring wealth from the West to the third world. Period.

    1. I hate to play Sarcastro, but you assume a conspiracy where there isn’t one. The wealth transfer is what the U.N. and the international agreements are for, but your average person who pays more attention to sports than science and is concerned about the planet isn’t in on plan to give $ to the sun peoples.

      1. Of course not. The “average person” liberal is a useful idiot for the leaders, who know exactly what they’re doing.

        “Liberalism is a movement of the well-intentioned, but ill-informed, led by the well-informed and ill-intentioned.”

  16. What is the remedy supposed to be?

    Grab the asteroid Cetes and crash it into the Earth?

  17. I assume this is about the executive branch creating regulations and not an attempt to force Congress to pass laws.

    In other words, it is about the ability of the judicial branch to force the executive branch to create not-laws.

  18. Considering that more people die of excess cold than excess heat, how do you even establish that “climate change” is a negative, rather than a positive?

    1. Considering that more people die of excess cold than excess heat, how do you even establish that “climate change” is a negative, rather than a positive?

      It is axiomatic to everyone not lost in moral darkness.

    2. Given the impressive gains in crop yields we are seeing from yields from CO2 fertilization, the reduction in large hurricanes due to a smaller difference in temperatures between the arctic and tropics, and the unprecedentedly low number of tornadoes we’ve seen the last couple of years I’m having trouble seeing any possible ACTUAL negative effects we are seeing from the modest amount of warming we’ve experienced.

    3. Well excess cold is now part of climate change (nee AGW). There was a reason for the semantic shift. Anything that doesn’t conform to a very narrow range is “evidence” of the coming catastrophe!

  19. “The question now will be what issues the Ninth Circuit wants to hear on appeal.”

    As a practical matter, that’s probably true. As a technical matter, though, the Ninth Circuit should only decide whether to hear an appeal from the order. “The Court of Appeals . . . may . . . permit an appeal to be taken from such order.” 28 USC 1292(b). Once it decides to hear an appeal from the order, the appellant should be able to raise any issues it wants. Pinal Creek Group v. Newmont Mining Corp., 118 F.3d 1298, 1300 (9th Cir. 1997).

  20. In fairness to the trial judge, I am not sure this issue was proper for appeal under ? 1292(b), which requires an order that “involves a controlling question of law.” The court’s decision did not involve a disputed question about the meaning of controlling law. The law of standing is known and obvious–the problem was the way the court applied that law. ? 1292(b) is not supposed to for that. So really the onus was on the 9th Circuit or SCOTUS to grant mandamus, which they declined to do.

    1. “In fairness to the trial judge, ”

      Why? She should have dismissed on one of several possible grounds. Then the plaintiffs could have appealed in the regular course and lost there as well.

      She wanted to grandstand and got embarrassed a little. She still has lifetime tenure since we don’t impeach for incompetence.

  21. It just hit me. You guys know climate change is real. When you say “No it’s not! Fake News!” you’re only trying to run out the clock while you wait for sea levels to rise 20 feet and wipe out the blue states.

    That’s it, right? You can admit it. I won’t tell anyone.

    1. Personally, since people who chose to live in coastal areas are bearing the brunt of the problem that is climate change should the sea levels rise, a special tax should only be applied to them to help pay for mitigation. It’s only fair, right?

    2. Silly goose, the climate always changes.

      C’mon, admit it, its just a lefty power grab, I won’t tell anyone.

    3. At the current rate of sea level rise, about 2.5-3.3 mm per year, which hasn’t materially varied from that range in the last century, it would take at least 1850 years to reach 20 feet of rise in the sea level. That is a LOT of clock to run out. And it wouldn’t even affect blue states like Illinois, which isn’t on an ocean coast. If the blue states like New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, et al. keep electing idiot Democrats to govern, they’ll do a fiscal self-immolation far faster than that.

      1. At the current rate of sea level rise, about 2.5-3.3 mm per year, which hasn’t materially varied from that range in the last century, it would take at least 1850 years to reach 20 feet of rise in the sea level.

        Right, but the claim they make is that the rise will not remain constant, but will become exponential as soon as the warming starts to release methane that has been stored for hundreds of thousands of years in permafrost and polar ice sheets, methane being a more potent greenhouse gas than CO?. However, according to the IPCC itself, this is very unlikely.

    4. Yes, I know climate change is real. Everyone does. I deny that humans have any appreciable effect on it.

    5. “while you wait for sea levels to rise 20 feet and wipe out the blue states.”

      I for one am looking forward to seeing all those science-deniers proven wrong. Especially since the road in front of my house sits 30′ above sea level…

  22. “…the suit’s claim is that by failing to control the emission of greenhouse gases, the federal government has violated the plaintiffs’s substantive due process rights to life, liberty, and property…”

    By which they mean their rights to the lives, liberty, and property of other people. Or the shorter version:

    “Fuck you. Pay me.”

    1. No, no!
      In the spirit of cooperation with the demands of these children, there should be universal agreement to help them conform with their belief:
      1) Refuse to sell them any oil, gasoline, natural gas, or other product that produces CO2.
      2) Refuse to sell them any products produced or transported by such CO2 producing tool.
      3) Refuse to sell them access to electricity generated by processes that release CO2.

      Once these children, their families, their lawyers, all the organizations supporting them, and all the localities involved, have proven that they actually believe in their own claims… then, we might proceed with their lawsuit.

      1. But… but… that would deprive them of their iPhones!

        Not even the evil Trump would suggest anything so fiendish.

  23. The sun is causing our current climate changes, in conjunction with the El Nino cycle. How long will it take the current heavily politicized science establishment to admit that? Maybe a century.

  24. I wonder what this judge thinks about me filing a suit on behalf of my unborn children because the federal deficit is robbing them of future taxes!

    1. Just what I was thinking. If speculative damages to future generations create a cause for legal action, wouldn’t the utterly predictable consequences of passing a huge and growing deficit to future generations be actionable?

  25. Global warming….I mean the coming Ice Age…I mean “climate change” is just as fake as fake gets.

    AK (professional bottom with a major in mouth ball gags) will probably disagree though.

  26. Don’t the kids have a better case against their future impoverishment and economic collapse based on the unsustainable government debt and entitlement promises?

  27. However serious the threat posed by climate change — and it is quite serious…

    It* is serious in the same sense as the threat of alien invasion. If an alien invasion were to happen, it would probably be pretty serious. But whether it is wise to spend a lot of resources protecting against alien invasion depends on (a) how likely such an invasion is and (b) whether there is in fact anything practical that could be done about it.

    * “It” being climate change more rapid and more deliterious to human flourishing than is usual.

    1. Climate change. Alien invasion. Who can imagine anyone better at solving such issues as lawyers and judges?

  28. “We find for the kids unborn in the amount if $30 trillion, government pay up!”

    “Ok, where will we get that kind of mon…oh! Just borrow it. These kids have to pay for so much borrowing already!”

    1. Essentially, the morons claiming to advocate for “the children” are trying to sue their own “clients.” Priceless.

  29. I’m suing on behalf of the unborn to stop socialism in all forms.

  30. The obligatory “climate change is real” interjection has officially become annoying and meaningless in the face of what people actually do and believe.

    The inept virtue signalling needs to stop.

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