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Montana teens sue state in precedent-setting climate change case

A high school athlete who took Montana to court in a precedent-setting case over climate change says increased wildfire smoke has made it difficult to run races.

Mica Kantor, now 15, is one of 16 young plaintiffs to sue the state. He says a doctor prescribed an inhaler to help with his breathing problems.

Kantor testified on the second day of a trial in which the plaintiffs are arguing the state is violating their constitutional rights by failing to keep the environment clean.

An expert witness testified Tuesday that if the burning of fossil fuels continues at its current pace, days will get hotter, snowpack will be reduced, droughts will be more severe and fire seasons will last longer.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Carbon dioxide, which is released when fossil fuels are burned, traps heat in the atmosphere and is largely responsible for the warming of the the climate. Carbon dioxide levels in the air this spring reached the highest levels they’ve been in over 4 million years, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said earlier this month. Greenhouse gas emissions also reached a record last year, according to the International Energy Agency.