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Protesters attend a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court held by the group Our Children’s Trust October 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a lawsuit brought by 21 young people intended to force the U.S. government to act more aggressively to confront climate change.

Why it matters: The case, first brought in 2015, has been among the higher-profile pieces of climate litigation and underscores the challenges of using the court system to tackle global warming.

What they're saying: The 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is highly sympathetic to the plaintiffs' concerns, but concludes the remedy doesn't lie in the courtroom.

  • Judge Andrew Hurwitz, writing for the majority, said a "substantial evidentiary record" shows the government "has long promoted fossil fuel use despite knowing that it can cause catastrophic climate change."
  • "We reluctantly conclude, however, that the plaintiffs’ case must be made to the political branches or to the electorate at large, the latter of which can change the composition of the political branches through the ballot box."

The state of play: The lawsuit included claims that the government was violating the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to a "climate system capable of sustaining human life."

  • The case was seeking a court order to force the government to "phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down excess" carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • It was brought by the group Our Children's Trust on behalf of plaintiffs who were 19 years or younger when it was filed in 2015.

The big picture: As Axios noted in 2018, the case of Juliana v. United States has galvanized the climate movement around the country, particularly given the underdog aspect of having young people take on the government.

  • Michael B. Gerrard, head of a Columbia University climate law project, tells The New York Times that the decision is not a surprise.
  • “Many U.S. judges have vigorously enforced the environmental laws written by Congress but won’t go beyond that," he told the paper.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. threatens to cut aid to Sudan after military takeover

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

The latest: The head of the military faction of the Sudanese government, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said in a statement that he is announcing a state of emergency, suspending several parts of the interim constitution and dissolving the civilian government and interim sovereignty council — the highest governing body in the country.

Facebook's pivotal week

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

They're battening down the hatches at Facebook headquarters this week as the company faces a trifecta of tumult: a continuing wave of negative press coverage fueled by document leaks, a critical earnings report Monday and a reported name change looming.

The big picture: All this is unfolding as Mark Zuckerberg tries to transform Facebook from a social network into the prime mover behind a new "metaverse" of VR- and AR-driven remote work and play.