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The Beacon
It’s Friday, September 4, and Portuguese youth activists are suing Europe for its role in climate change.Youth activists from Portugal filed the first-ever climate change lawsuit in the European court of human rights this week, demanding that 33 European countries take bigger steps to curb climate change. The plaintiffs allege that by failing to drastically cut emissions, governments are discriminating against young people and violating their physical and psychological well-being. The crowdfunded lawsuit, filed by four children and two young adults, is the latest of more than 1,300 climate-related lawsuits filed worldwide since 1990.This case is distinct from previous climate lawsuits due to the scale of the potential ruling. Gerry Liston, a legal officer from Global Legal Action Network, a nonprofit supporting the case, told the Guardian, “This is the most countries ever taken to a regional court in a climate change case. If we win, it will have a very significant effect throughout Europe.”Sofia Oliveira, a 15-year-old plaintiff in the case, said that climate change gives her anxiety about the future. “We have seen unbearable heat waves that cause water shortages and damage food production, and violent wildfires that give us anxiety and make us afraid to travel through our country’s forests,” Oliveira told the Guardian. “If we already see these extremes in 2020 what will the future be like?”—Alexandria HerrSmog cloudsTHE SMOGNeed-to-know basisCalifornians may need to spend Labor Day weekend indoors. dangerous heat wave is expected all weekend with forecasted high temperatures well above 100 degrees F in many areas. The heat wave will increase the risk for heat illness, as well as more fires and power outages, according to the National Weather Service.President Trump signed a legally questionable memo on Thursday that threatens to withhold federal funding from “anarchist jurisdictions” — cities that have disempowered or defunded their police departments. One potential consequence is a restriction on federal dollars for cleaning up toxic Superfund sites. The backlog of Superfund cleanup projects that have gone unfunded has already tripled under Trump.The official death toll from Hurricane Laura in Louisiana has risen by two to a total of 19 deaths. The two latest victims, who both lived in Rapides Paris, about two hours north of Lake Charles, were killed not by the storm itself but by being stranded without electricity during the severe heat wave that followed. At least four other people died from the same causes.— Emily PontecorvoMORE GRIST FOR YOUR MILL Emissions from airplanes nearly doubled in two decadesThe coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a hiccup in the aviation industry’s upward trajectory. New York’s plastic bag ban has survived the pandemic“This is one of those laws that New Yorkers will see the benefits of almost immediately.” The Boy Scouts can do better than teaming up with Trump’s EPAOnce kindred spirits, the scouting organization partnering with Trump’s EPA now makes little sense Who’s advising Joe Biden on climate? His former rivals.For the Democratic nominee, the optics of how he approaches climate action are almost as important as the climate policy his team puts forward. Wildfires are getting worse. Will forests start to burn themselves out?Scientists are racing to understand how the relationship between forests and fire is changing on a warming planet.Support Grist’s work Donate to Grist