Observations on the “Climate Kids versus Montana” Verdict.  The ruling was a three-way agreement between elites, and true science never put on any defense.

By Roger Roots, J.D., Ph.D., founder of Lysander Spooner University

            Recently, Montana State district Judge Kathy Seeley’s verdict in Held v. Montana made national headlines. Most of the news reporting echoed the Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s assessment that “‘This changes everything’: Experts respond to Held v. Montana climate ruling” (Aug. 18, 2023) (echoing the title of a famed climate doomsday book by avowed marxist Naomi Klein). The decision struck down a State law requiring that the climate change religion should not be considered when State officials make energy decisions.

            The Chronicle’s Micah Drew wrote that the Held verdict is “the first legal opinion of its kind, spelling out the environmental harms caused by greenhouse gas emissions as well as the effects of climate change on the physical and mental well-being of young people.”  The Chronicle interviewed Michael Gerrard, the founder of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, who said the ruling was the “strongest decision on climate change ever issued by any court.” “The court resoundingly affirmed what the climate scientists are saying,” said Gerrard, “and it will become ever harder to attack basic climate science in the court, where facts matter.”

            But I myself attended much of the trial proceedings in the case, and even wrote my synopsis in a Gateway Pundit article on July 3, 2023.  I wrote that “the States’ defense lawyers failed to vigorously cross-examine any of the plaintiffs’ “science” experts, and did not even present any countervailing science information.”  I concluded that “Trial in Held v. Montana might be compared to the Salem Witch Trials, in which “spectral evidence” was presented without challenge.” There was absolutely no scientific debate in the trial. None.

            Montana’s great physicist, Dr. Ed Berry, offered the same insights:

“Montana lost because [Montana Republican Attorney General Austin] Knudsen did not defend against the plaintiffs’ climate claims. Worse, before the trial began on June 12, 2023, Assistant AG Michael Russell stipulated,

“for the purposes of trial, there is a scientific consensus that earth is warming as a direct result of human GHG emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.”

“Knudsen gave away the farm. He caved on climate and gave the Democrats control of Montana’s mining, energy, economy, and education.”

            Usually lawyers stipulate to a factual proposition in order to clear the trial of discussion of that issue.  But despite Attorney General Knudsen’s stipulation, the plaintiffs filled the record to overflowing with doomsday pseudoscientific claims about the effects of human-produced CO2.  And Knudsen’s legal team offered no pushback.  The judge, according to Berry, “properly used the evidence presented in the trial. The Supreme Court will agree with the judge.”

The judge’s 103-page Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order presents an outlandish description of government doomsday climate pseudoscience, which bears no countervailing true science whatsoever.