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Hawaii settles lawsuit from youths over climate change. Here's what to know about the historic deal

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Hawaii settles lawsuit from youths over climate change. Here's what to know about the historic deal
News

News

Hawaii settles lawsuit from youths over climate change. Here's what to know about the historic deal

2024-06-22 10:11 Last Updated At:10:31

HONOLULU (AP) — About two years after 13 children and teens sued Hawaii over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize the state's transportation system over the next 21 years.

It's another example of a younger generation channeling their frustration with the government's response to the climate crisis into a legal battle.

Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation is the world’s first youth-led constitutional climate case addressing climate pollution from the transportation sector, according to statements from both sides.

The lawsuit said one plaintiff, a 14-year-old Native Hawaiian, was from a family that farmed taro for more than 10 generations. However, extreme droughts and heavy rains caused by climate change have reduced crop yields and threatened her ability to continue the cultural practice.

The complaint said rising sea levels also threaten to put their lands underwater.

Another plaintiff lost her home twice, due to climate change-induced events, according to Our Children's Trust, a public interest law firm that is representing the plaintiffs: flooding from a hurricane in 2018 and last year's deadly wildfire that ravaged Lahaina, on the island of Maui.

Here are some things to know about the historic settlement:

Circuit Court Judge of the First Circuit John M. Tonaki signed a settlement agreement Thursday between the plaintiffs, who are also represented by another law firm, Earthjustice, and the state of Hawaii and its Department of Transportation.

The lawsuit argued that Hawaii was violating the state constitution by operating a transportation system that harms the climate and infringes upon the right to a clean and healthy environment. It accused the Department of Transportation of consistently prioritizing building highways over other types of transportation.

The burning of fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal — is the main contributor to global warming caused by human activity. Hawaii is the state that most depends on petroleum, according to Our Children’s Trust.

A key term of the settlement requires Hawaii to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions across all transportation modes, including ground transportation and sea and air interisland transportation, “no later than 2045.”

The state must also come up with a greenhouse gas reduction plan within a year.

The transportation department must complete pedestrian, bicycle and transit networks in coordination with Hawaii counties within five years, while dedicating at least $40 million to expanding the public electric vehicle charging network by 2030.

The settlement terms may seem ambitious, but as an isolated island chain the middle of the Pacific, Hawaii is on the “front lines” of climate disasters, Our Children's Trust attorney Andrea Rodgers told the Associated Press on Friday.

“They really have no choice but to step up and address the climate crisis in order to protect their residents and young people who want to live here,” she said.

Also under the settlement, Hawaii will be accountable to a judge who will enforce the agreement if disputes arise.

The lawsuit, filed in June 2022, had been scheduled to go to trial next week. The state is not admitting any liability or wrongdoing by settling.

The parties said the settlement was also the first of its kind between a state government and youth plaintiffs to address constitutional issues arising from climate change.

Rodgers is also involved in similar legal battles in Montana and Oregon, however.

The Montana case prevailed at trial, when a judge ruled last year that state agencies were violating the constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment by allowing fossil fuel development.

Early this year, the state Supreme Court declined a government request to block the ruling pending appeal. Oral arguments before the high court are set for July 10.

In the Oregon case, a federal appeals court panel rejected a long-running lawsuit brought by young climate activists challenging the U.S. government’s role in climate change. The case is still at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Overseas, six young adults and children from Portugal are arguing before the European Court of Human Rights that governments across the continent are not doing enough to protect people from climate change.

While Gov. Josh Green, Director of Transportation Ed Sniffen and plaintiffs' attorneys all celebrated the settlement, it was a hard-fought battle.

“The defendants aggressively defended the case,” Rodgers said.

The state spent nearly $3 million on an out-of-state law firm and other costs, including expert witness fees. The attorney general's office said it remained the lead on the case despite help from the outside firm.

The state initially moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the court “cannot coopt legislative and executive power by issuing an injunction ordering HDOT to create new regulatory programs.”

The state also had to agree that depositions of plaintiffs would be conducted with the sensitivity appropriate for their ages, Rodgers said.

“There was resistance,” Rodgers said of reaching the settlement. “But at the end of the day, Gov. Green and ... Sniffen displayed incredible leadership and made the decision to work with the youth and not against them.”

Implementation over the next 21 years will require both commitment from Hawaii's leaders and involvement by young people, Rodgers said.

There will also have to be a cultural shift in Hawaii, which is car-dependent and has bad traffic.

“I think once people start seeing the investments that are needed to be done into the bike, pedestrian and transit assets, people are really going to start seeing that this is a system that works better for Hawaii and for the community,” Rodgers said.

“Having youth voices a part of this process will be essential,” she added.

Read more of AP’s climate coverage at http://www.apnews.com/climate-and-environment

FILE - Heavy traffic is seen Monday, Dec. 28, 2009 in Kailua, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. About two years after 13 children and teens in Hawaii sued the state over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize Hawaii’s transportation system in the next 21 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

FILE - Heavy traffic is seen Monday, Dec. 28, 2009 in Kailua, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. About two years after 13 children and teens in Hawaii sued the state over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize Hawaii’s transportation system in the next 21 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

FILE - Hawaii Gov. Josh Green speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Hawaii's governor and lawyers for youth plaintiffs on Thursday, June 20, 2024, announced they settled a lawsuit alleging Hawaii violated the state constitution by operating a transportation system that harmed the climate and infringed upon the children's right to a clean and healthy environment..(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File)

FILE - Hawaii Gov. Josh Green speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Hawaii's governor and lawyers for youth plaintiffs on Thursday, June 20, 2024, announced they settled a lawsuit alleging Hawaii violated the state constitution by operating a transportation system that harmed the climate and infringed upon the children's right to a clean and healthy environment..(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File)

FILE - A beachgoer walks down Waikiki Beach, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Honolulu. About two years after 13 children and teens in Hawaii sued the state over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize Hawaii’s transportation system in the next 21 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

FILE - A beachgoer walks down Waikiki Beach, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Honolulu. About two years after 13 children and teens in Hawaii sued the state over the threat posed by climate change, both sides reached a settlement that includes an ambitious requirement to decarbonize Hawaii’s transportation system in the next 21 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

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Robert MacIntyre wins Scottish Open; Ayaka Furue takes Evian Championship

2024-07-15 09:48 Last Updated At:09:51

NORTH BERWICK, Scotland (AP) — Robert MacIntyre won an Open that felt like a major to him Sunday when he made a 22-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 3-under 67 to win the Scottish Open, becoming the first Scot in 25 years to win his national open.

MacIntyre seized on a huge break on the par-5 16th when he realized he was standing on a sprinkler head in rough so deep he could barely see his ball. He received a free drop in shorter grass and blasted his approach from 248 yards to 6 feet for eagle to tie Adam Scott for the lead.

His birdie putt took one last turn before falling, and MacIntyre dropped his putter and turned to a delirious Scottish gallery with a sweeping uppercut to celebrate.

The 27-year-old from the tiny coastal town of Oban won for the second time this year, also capturing the Canadian Open — the fourth-oldest championship in golf — last month. Colin Montgomerie in 1999 was the last Scot to win the Scottish Open.

And next week is the big one — the British Open, the final major of the year, across Scotland at Royal Troon. It has been just over a century since a British player won at Troon. But this felt just as big to the little lefty.

Scott closed with a 67.

Rory McIlroy closed with a 68 and tied for fourth, his first appearance since he lost a late lead in the U.S Open last month at Pinehurst No. 2.

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) — Ayaka Furue of Japan made a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole to win the Evian Championship for her first major title.

The 24-year-old Furue closed with a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke victory over Australian Stephanie Kyriacou (67). Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit was another stroke back after a 63.

Heading to the 18th hole, Furue and Kyriacou were tied at 17 under with Tavatanakit, who was already in the clubhouse.

Furue also won the 2022 Women’s Scottish Open.

Top-ranked American Nelly Korda tied for 26th at 5 under after a 68.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Ernie Els won the Kaulig Companies Championship for his first senior major title, closing with a 2-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Y.E. Yang at breezy Firestone.

A stroke behind defending champion Steve Stricker entering the round, Els rebounded to par the final two holes after hitting in the water and making a bogey on the par-5 16th. Yang bogeyed the par-4 18th in a 66.

Els became the PGA Tour Champions’ first three-time winner this season, winning for the sixth time on the 50-and-over tour. The 54-year-old South African has won four regular major championships — the U.S. Open in 1994 and ’97 and the British Open in 2002 and ’12.

Els finished at 10-under 270 after opening with rounds of 68 and 64. The Hall of Famer earned $525,000 and a spot in The Players Championship in March.

Jerry Kelly, the 2020 and 2022 champion, was third at 7 under after a 69. Stricker, also the 2021 winner at Firestone, shot 73 to tie for fourth at 6 under.

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Harry Hall chipped in for birdie from 45 feet on the third hole of a playoff to win the ISCO Championship for his first PGA Tour title.

The 26-year-old Englishman closed with a 3-under 69 to get into the playoff with Matt NeSmith, Pierceson Coody, Zac Blair and Rico Hoey. They finished at 22-under 266 on Keene Trace’s Champions Course in the event co-sanctioned by the European tour.

Hall scrambled for par on the par-4 18th on the first extra hole, driving well left into long grass, hitting into the front greenside bunker and blasting out to a foot. He stayed alive when NeSmith’s 8-foot birdie try slid by to the right, while Blair and Hoey dropped out. On the next trip down 18 in the playoff, Hall, NeSmith and Coody all missed birdie putts, with NeSmith the closest at 12 feet.

Hall ended it on the 209-yard, par-3 ninth, getting his chip from the right side to fall before NeSmith and Coody missed their attempts.

NeSmith and Blair each shot 64, playing in back-to-back groups about two hours in front of the final pairing.

Hoey (69) took a one-stroke into the final hole of regulation, but made a bogey after his wedge approach bounced over the green and into rocks along the bank of a pond.

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) — Sergio Garcia won LIV Golf Andalucia for his first victory on the Saudi-funded tour, overcoming a seven-stroke deficit and beating Anirban Lahiri on the second hole of a playoff.

The 44-year-old Garcia thrilled the home fans with a 5-under 66 to match Lahiri (73) at 5 under at Valderrama, then won with a par on the second extra hole. Garcia ended a four-year winless with his 37th professional title.

García’s Fireballs team also won the team title, winning a playoff over the Crushers — the first time in LIV Golf that both individual and team titles had been decided in playoffs.

BERTHOUD, Colo. (AP) — Cristobal Del Solar of Chile won The Ascendant for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, making two eagles in a 6-under 66 and a four-stroke victory.

Del Solar wrapped up PGA Tour membership for next season, moving to No. 5 in the season standings. He holed a 33-foot eagle putt on No. 5 and a 40-footer on No. 15, then chipped in for birdies on 16 and 18 to finish at 22 under at TPC Colorado.

In February in Colombia, Del Solar became the first player to shoot 57 in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event with a 13-under 57 in the Astara Golf Championship.

Matthew Riedel (66) and Brian Campbell (67) tied for second.

Former tennis player Mardy Fish won the American Century Championship celebrity tournament for the second time, holding off NHL player Joe Pavelski by four points at Edgewood Tahoe in Nevasa. The 42-year-old Fish, also the 2020 winner, had a 26-point round at Edgewood Tahoe under the modified Stableford scoring system to finish at 83, one short of the record set by Billy Joe Tolliver in 2010. ... Kensei Hirata won the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup for his third Japan Golf Tour victory. He closed with a 3-under 68 to finish at 19-under 267, two strokes ahead of Taiga Semikawa and Taiki Yoshida. ... Daniela Iacobelli won the Hartford HealthCare Women’s Championship in Milford, Connecticut for her fifth career Epson Tour title. She shot 66-67-67 for a one-stroke victory over Amelia Lewis. ... Jiu Ko closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory in the Korea LPGA’s High1 Resort Ladies Open. ... Ian Holt won the PGA Tour Americas' rain-shortened Explore NB Open, shooting a 9-under 62 in the third round for a four-stroke victory. He finished at 26-under 187 after opening with rounds of 63 and 62 at Mactaquac in New Brunswick.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

Ayaka Furue, of Japan, celebrates with her trophy after winning the Evian Championship women's golf tournament, in Evian, eastern France, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Ayaka Furue, of Japan, celebrates with her trophy after winning the Evian Championship women's golf tournament, in Evian, eastern France, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Robert MacIntyre poses with the Genesis Scottish Open trophy after he wins the Genesis Scottish Open 2024 golf tournament in North Berwick, Scotland, Sunday July 14, 2024. (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA via AP)

Robert MacIntyre poses with the Genesis Scottish Open trophy after he wins the Genesis Scottish Open 2024 golf tournament in North Berwick, Scotland, Sunday July 14, 2024. (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA via AP)

Robert MacIntyre celebrates after he wins the Genesis Scottish Open 2024 golf tournament in North Berwick, Scotland, Sunday July 14, 2024. (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA via AP)

Robert MacIntyre celebrates after he wins the Genesis Scottish Open 2024 golf tournament in North Berwick, Scotland, Sunday July 14, 2024. (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA via AP)

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