Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Judge Rules for Youths in Climate-Change Trial

Judge Rules for Youths in Climate-Change Trial


In a landmark climate case in Montana, a group of young people has emerged victorious. The judge ruled in Held v. Montana that the state's failure to consider climate change when approving fossil fuel projects was unconstitutional, thereby placing the burden on state agencies to take action to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.

This decision marks a significant win in the fight against government support for oil, gas and coal, which have contributed to global warming. The ruling means that Montana must now take climate change into account when deciding whether to approve or renew fossil fuel projects. The state attorney general’s office intends to appeal the decision.

This case is part of a larger wave of climate-change litigation that targets companies and governments around the world. Other states and cities have sued major companies seeking damages from climate disasters, while individuals have sued governments for enabling the fossil fuel industry and failing to protect citizens. The case was the first of its kind to go to trial in the U.S., sets an important precedent for similar cases in other states and may have reverberations around the world.