VANCOUVER -- A lawyer representing 15 youths who accuse the federal government for breaching their constitutional rights by failing to properly address climate change says the courts have a definite role to play in determining the lawsuit's outcome.

Joseph Arvay disagreed Wednesday with a federal government lawyer who argued the case should be dismissed because a court should not step into the political arena.

Arvay told a Federal Court hearing he wants the case to go to trial, where he will ask a judge to determine how Canada's emissions contribute to the global carbon budget - the maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be put into the atmosphere before temperatures rise worldwide.

The lawsuit claims youth are disproportionately affected by air pollution and other consequences of climate change because their vital organs are not fully developed.

Joseph Cheng, representing the attorney general of Canada, says the court should not wade into policy decisions.

He says the claims about harms are too broad.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.