Case against fossil fuel companies could stay in local courts
The federal Office of the Solicitor General recommends the Supreme Court allow the City of Boulder and Boulder County’s case against Exxon Mobil and Suncor to proceed in Colorado state court.
The recommendation came on March 16 after the two fossil fuel companies asked for a higher court to review the case in June 2022.
Boulder County Commissioner Ashley Stolzmann says the lawsuit focuses on “local injuries and violations of state law.”
“This case is about ensuring that the taxpayers of Boulder County, and similar communities, do not have to foot the entire bill for the costs of climate change harms,” she told Boulder Weekly via email. “Because of their deception, the fossil fuel companies continue to profit from the climate crisis and also bear responsibility.”
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2018 by Boulder County, San Miguel County and the City of Boulder against Exxon and Suncor for “their decades of misinformation and other contributions to the climate crisis.”
“Fires, floods, and extreme weather not only pose threats to our community, but they are also very costly to taxpayers,” Boulder Mayor Aaron Brocket said in a press release. “The companies responsible for these costs must pay.”
The Supreme Court will decide whether to follow the Solicitor General’s recommendation or hear the case.
U.N. releases new climate assessment
There’s some good news in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report.
The Sixth Assessment Report, released on March 20, compiles the latest findings from climate scientists to show impacts of climate change, risks in the near- and long-term, current adaptation status and more.
Scientists from around the world write in the report that progress across all sectors and regions have generated “multiple benefits,” with more countries making commitments to reduce emissions and helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
At the same time, the report says climate change has already “led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt.” The report also found there is more than a 50% chance global temperature will reach or surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040.
Despite some promising low-carbon tech developments and more funding toward climate adaptation and resilience, the report still calls for policymakers to make more ambitious greenhouse gas reductions.
Boulder County seeks applicants for Gross Reservoir working group
The Gross Reservoir Community Advisory Working Group is accepting applications to join the group and make recommendations to Boulder County on the best way to distribute the $5 million Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund.
The Fund was designed to provide direct payments to eligible property owners who might be impacted by the dam’s expansion project after Boulder County’s settlement with Denver Water.
The working group will meet three times between April and May to develop recommendations. The application deadline is Monday, March 27 at 1 p.m. Apply at bouldercounty.gov.
Natural Medicine Advisory Board confirmed
Colorado has drafted 15 members for the board that will advise on how to implement psychedelic therapy programs.
Voters passed Proposition 122 last November, decriminalizing certain hallucinogenic compounds, including psilocybin and mescaline, and authorizing state-licensed treatment centers to administer the drug under supervision.
The state confirmed the members, appointed by Gov. Jared Polis, on March 14 to serve on the Colorado Natural Medicine Advisory Board. The board, consisting of experts in health care, mycology, Indigenous traditions and more, will advise the Department on Regulatory Agencies on how to successfully implement the proposition.
“This is just one part of a careful and intentional process toward creating a state-regulated system to ensure safe, equitable access to these medicines for all Colorado adults who can safely benefit,” Tasia Poinsatte, executive director of Healing Advocacy Fund Colorado, said in a press release. “In order to effectively combat Colorado’s mental health crisis, we must ensure access to new and innovative pathways to healing, and today’s confirmation is an important step towards that goal.”
Prominent medical institutions like Johns Hopkins, UCLA and NYU have found some natural psychedelic medicines to be effective at treating anxiety and depression. The Food and Drug Administration recently designated psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” for treatment-resistant depression.