CIEL Statement on Clean Air Council Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

November 6, 2017

On Monday afternoon, the Clean Air Council and two Philadelphia-area children filed suit against the Trump Administration in the US Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that Trump’s campaign of climate rollbacks and reliance on junk science pose a direct danger to US citizens. The plaintiffs assert that Trump’s reversals of existing climate protections exacerbate the threat of climate change, creating an imminent risk of harm for themselves and other citizens.

Today’s filing follows Friday’s release of the National Climate Assessment that recognizes the imminent dangers of climate change and the clear role of human activity in the climate crisis. It also coincides with the beginning of global climate talks in Bonn, where the Trump Administration is expected to advocate greater reliance on coal and fossil fuels, in conflict with the United States’ commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), offered the following statement:

While the US government’s actions on climate change prior to this Administration fall far short of what is needed, they provide a baseline level of protection that cannot and must not be reversed. In Juliana v. US, the federal district court found that plaintiffs have a protected constitutional interest in a livable climate and that the government has a duty to protect that interest.

Despite admitting the urgent realities of the climate crisis, the Trump Administration continues its campaign to eviscerate vital climate protections and destroy the scientific tools needed to assess, reduce, and respond to climate risks. From undermining the Paris Agreement to dismantling vital climate satellites to jettisoning guidance on climate and infrastructure, the defendants have demonstrated a reckless disregard for the lives, livelihoods, and rights of US residents and people around the world. In so doing, they have created a clear violation of fundamental rights that can and should be urgently addressed by the courts.