Hansen’s “death train” argument denied as a “nuisance”

After all the caterwauling from Hansen about coal “death trains”, and his defense of criminal mischief at a power plant in the UK, this is a real “mud in your eye” moment and an affirmation that no one industry can be singled out as a scapegoat for global warming, climate change, climate disruption.

The supremes have spoken:

Supreme Court rejects climate nuisance suits

The Supreme Court today unanimously rejected the effort by some states to sue utilities for greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of the nuisance doctrine, holding that the Clean Air Act pre-empts federal common law.

In our favor, SCOTUS did say that the EPA could refuse to regulate GHGs as long as the refusal is not arbitrary and capricious. So skeptics will take today’s win and work toward the next (non-Obama) administration rolling back the endangerment finding.

Click here for the Court opinion in AEP v. Connecticut.

Full story at junkscience.com

This WUWT post by Indur Goklany is also worth reviewing:

U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories

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45 Responses to Hansen’s “death train” argument denied as a “nuisance”

  1. Mark Nutley says:

    Common sense prevails, how peculiar

  2. David Schnare says:

    Amongst us attorneys, this was a loser case from the getgo. The only interesting point is the degree to which the environmental activist law groups have abandoned the environment for political nonsense. There are plenty of federal tort actions they could take with regard to water quality and fisheries and actual harm to not merely ecosystems, but productive systems upon which mankind relies. Those cases, however, don’t result in central planning and control of our lives. Thus those of us who actually care about the environment will take them up while the wealthy birkenstock boys play political games.

  3. Brian Hall says:

    Since correlation is usually causation, we need a nice graph showing the growth in use of coal matched to increases in lifespan. So then we can rename them “Life Trains”. And sue Hansen into penury for interfering with them.

  4. Sean Peake says:

    The decision finally defines who the opponent is, the EPA, and makes it easier to corral the discussion.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Good. Another victory for commonsense in the courts.

  6. Henry chance says:

    Glad we have 3 branches of government. Now if we can hit the brakes on the EPA, things may improve.

  7. kwik says:

    David Schnare says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Good to hear this. Maybe, eventually, things can go slooowly back to normal. But there is a problem; All the children, being brainwashed at school, day in, day out. One day, some of them will be lawyers, politicians, teachers…. I guess it will die out exponentially, like everything else in nature does, when the forcing is gone…..

  8. JEM says:

    tallbloke – this is largely the same court that ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, so don’t assume common sense will prevail every time.

  9. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    Instead of worrying about Death Trains, Mr. Hansen should be worried about what he is personally doing about the Death of Integrity of Science and Scientists.

    Because his brand of climate scientology is devastating to real science and scientists everywhere.

    It is appalling he does all this on the taxpayer’s dime, representing a government entity.

  10. paul revere says:

    This is a double edge sword here. The court with this ruling gives the power to the fed to regulate CO2 and takes it away from the states. This in the long run is bad because it says that the feds have the power not the states. When the feds (EPA) rule that CO2 is bad and must be reduced, the states must comply because the feds have the power. Federal CO2 regulation is on the way and the EPA can do this without congressional approval.

  11. SSam says:

    Brian Hall says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

    “Since correlation is usually causation, we need a nice graph showing the growth in use of coal matched to increases in lifespan.”

    Snicker… okay.

    (Note, this is a very short period and not a sound correlation… the plot is mostly for amusement value, though it uses real data)

  12. tallbloke says:

    JEM says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:58 am
    tallbloke – this is largely the same court that ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, so don’t assume common sense will prevail every time.

    Fair point. Hopefully this is a sign of positive change in court attitudes, rather than a ploy to advance the cause as Paul Revere fears. I don’t know much about the US court system, so I’ll butt out and watch.

  13. AnonyMoose says:

    “EPA could refuse to regulate GHGs as long as the refusal is not arbitrary and capricious.”

    But the EPA can choose to regulate GHGs even if the choice is arbitrary and capricious?

  14. polistra says:

    “So skeptics will take today’s win and work toward the next (non-Obama) administration rolling back the endangerment finding.”

    Nope. The next administration will be Obama (80% odds) or Romney (20% odds.) Both are hard-line Wall Streeters and hard-line Gaians. The chance of a non-Gaian reaching the presidency is exactly zero.

  15. David A. Evans. says:

    SSam says:

    Perhaps a graph plotting power generation against life expectancy would yield a better correlation.

    DaveE.

  16. Nic says:

    The EPA is a great thing when the regulate actual pollutants, but C02 in the atmosphere will not kill anyone directly. I am for clean drinking water, and safe products.

  17. agimarc says:

    The problem is that when you hire people to write regulations, that is just what they will do regardless whether the new regulations are connected to either reality or the world as we know it. We are long past the point of diminishing returns with new environmental regulations; maybe 20 years past. Cheers -

  18. Sean Peake says: June 20, 2011 at 10:28 am
    The decision finally defines who the opponent is, the EPA, and makes it easier to corral the discussion.
    *********************************************************
    I would beg to differ. The EPA is only the tool presently being used to subjugate this country. Much like the KGB and the GRU were only the tools used by a much deeper evil.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  19. FerdinandAkin says:

    It appears the Supreme Court has chosen to extricate itself from this matter by claiming it is a legislative issue and is to be handled by the Environmental Protection Agency. With this ruling they have tossed the hot potato of green house gas emissions out of the judicial branch and over to the auspices of the EPA. Since it was a unanimous decision, it shows the handwriting is on the wall for the demise of CAGW.

  20. Alex the skeptic says:

    From: Whistleblower Outs NASA for Hiding Data of Global Cooling found here:

    http://co2insanity.com/2011/06/20/whistleblower-outs-nasa-for-hiding-data-of-global-cooling/

    >”A solar scientist insider who wishes to remain anonymous gives us the scoop that government officials are falsifying solar data to suit a political agenda. Below is his damning indictment of how deeply entrenched and desperate is the climate fraud. We see how observational data is being deliberately faked to hide the decline in sunspot activity; an event which independent scientists say could trigger a new ice age if it is prolonged.”<

  21. Dave says:

    Death trains. Deniers. It’s obvious that there are powerful malign forces attempting to use the genuine debate over climate science to legitimise Holocaust denial by association. If one uses a term previously reserved for Hitler’s genocide-enabling cattle-trucks to label something that plainly isn’t a deliberate attempt to kill people, it is implied that Hitler never intended the Final Solution; that the Holocaust is a lie.

    I am completely [exdel] fed-up with the lefty-liberals who are so easily duped by the neo-Nazis. They have a duty to be less credulous.

  22. P Wilson says:

    At Nottingham Crown Court, where Hansen gave *evidence*: “The defence case also involved climate scientist James Hansen, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute, who told the court the only way to stabilise the climate was to phase out carbon emissions.”

    The 20 protestors were found guilty by unanimous verdict

  23. tesla_x says:

    paul revere says:
    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

    “This is a double edge sword here. The court with this ruling gives the power to the fed to regulate CO2 and takes it away from the states.”

    Did you read this? It seems we can now do something about it.

    http://jurist.org/paperchase/2011/06/supreme-court-individual-may-challenge-federal-law-for-violating-states-rights.php

    Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, my side….and the truth.

  24. SSam says:

    David A. Evans. says:

    “…Perhaps a graph plotting power generation against life expectancy would yield a better correlation.”

    How about life expectancy vs retail residential electricity sales?

  25. Hoser says:

    Why wait? The current House should roll back funding for GHG regulation by EPA.

  26. wws says:

    the decision agreeing that the EPA can regulate CO2 was Massachusetts vs EPA, decided in 2007. Although I think that was a poor decision, that outcome has been water under the bridge for 4 years now.

  27. john says:

    @ Paul Revere….

    In another Supreme court ruling…

    Supreme Court: individuals may challenge federal law for violating states’ rights

    http://jurist.org/paperchase/2011/06/supreme-court-individual-may-challenge-federal-law-for-violating-states-rights.php

    [snip]

    The court said:

    to argue that the National Government has interfered with state sovereignty in violation of the Tenth Amendment is to assert the legal rights and interests of States and States alone. That, however, is not so. … Bond seeks to vindicate her own constitutional interests. The individual, in a proper case, can assert injury from governmental action taken in excess of the authority that federalism defines. Her rights in this regard do not belong to a State.

  28. Jimmy Doolittle says:

    How bout this:
    Whereas, CO2 is a naturally occurring substance, and
    is a necessary component of “Clean Air”, as defined in the Clean Air Act,
    it is not, a pollutant of that Clean Air, by definition.

  29. Harry the Hacker says:

    Personally, I’d like to see the power companies turn off their generators for a week.

    Then see how much screaming there is about the blackouts.

    Perhaps they can start in the region where Hanson has his office.

  30. Dave said:
    June 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm
    > …I am completely [exdel] fed-up with the lefty-liberals who are so easily
    > duped by the neo-Nazis…

    geo-Nazis

    [exdel] for me too!

  31. Doug says:

    Why would states even want to sue the very people (the producers of cheap energy) that enable their citizens to enjoy a modern lifestyle?

  32. RoHa says:

    “The supremes have spoken.’

    I’ve never heard them speak, but some of their songs might fit.

    Perhaps “There’s no stopping us now”?

  33. nevket240 says:

    Henry chance says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:35 am
    Glad we have 3 branches of government. Now if we can hit the brakes on the EPA, things may improve. )))

    Henry. Fat chance of that happening.( :-)) Look up the political affiliation of the EPA head-moron and you will understand more about the “Global Marshall Plan”.
    regards

  34. John Q. Galt says:

    59°F (15°C) air temperature and a mere 12 hours from the summer solstice. This is upstate New York, not Montana.

  35. kim says:

    Polistra, the sun casts its Cheshire Cat grin at all 57 states, including that distant province from which you used to be able to be in Russia on your back porch.
    ========

  36. Graeme says:

    Mark Nutley says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:26 am
    Common sense prevails, how peculiar

    Perhaps the economic stresses of the US are beginning to focus some minds.

    Nah that couldn’t be it – but I am hopeful (about the focussing part – at least that would be a silver lining).

  37. old construction worker says:

    paul revere says:
    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am
    ‘This is a double edge sword here……………….. When the feds (EPA) rule that CO2 is bad and must be reduced, the states must comply because the feds have the power. Federal CO2 regulation is on the way and the EPA can do this without congressional approval.’

    The EPA is still subject to the Data Quality Act. Congress could declare CO2 a non polluntant.

  38. SSam says:

    old construction worker says:

    “The EPA is still subject to the Data Quality Act. Congress could declare CO2 a non pollutant.”

    You mean the very same Congress that has yet to be consulted on ongoing military action but seems to be inept enough to not do anything about it?

    Don’t hold your breath.

  39. Richard S Courtney says:

    P Wilson:

    Your post at June 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm is plain wrong. It says;

    “At Nottingham Crown Court, where Hansen gave *evidence*: “The defence case also involved climate scientist James Hansen, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute, who told the court the only way to stabilise the climate was to phase out carbon emissions.”

    The 20 protestors were found guilty by unanimous verdict”

    NO!!!
    That was another case entirely. The 6 (n.b. not 20) in the trial were acquited and they were acquited solely on the basis of the ‘expert opiniion’ that Hansen presented to the trial as evidence.

    In the UK it is legal to damage the property of others as a method to prevent greater damage. For example, anybody can smash the door of a house as part of an attempt to rescue a child from a burning building, property can be demolished to form a firebreak in attempt to halt the spread of a conflagration, etc..

    Hansen said the CO2 emissions from the power station were doing more damage than the harm the eco-terrorisrs caused by stopping the power styation and painting graffiti on its chimney. The US government has appointed him as Head of NASA GISS and, therefore, the Court had to accept that the UK government has appointed him as the supreme authority in the US on AGW. Hence, the Court could only agree that his ‘expert opinion’ is fact. So, the Court acquited the eco-terrorists.

    You would have known the truth of this matter if you had bothered to click the link in the above article on which you are commenting.

    I add that Hansen’s behaviour in this matter is depicable and no amount of ‘warmist’ propoganda can excuse it. Indeed, Hansen is an employee of US government and his actions in this matter could be considered to be an attack on the UK: i.e. an employee of the US government travelled to the UK in order to mislead a UK Court concerning the subject of his employment when that Court was deciding on a matter of UK Security.

    The above article says the US Courts are starting to decide what is legal behaviour concerning AGW in the US. The next step is for them to decide what is – and is not – legal behaviour concerning AGW when it is conducted by employees of the US government.

    Richard

  40. Richard S Courtney says:

    Ooops!
    Of course, I intended to write
    “the US government has appointed him as the supreme authority in the US on AGW”
    not
    “the UK government …”

    Sorry.

    Richard

  41. John T says:

    Brian Hall says:
    June 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

    “Since correlation is usually causation, we need a nice graph showing the growth in use of coal matched to increases in lifespan. So then we can rename them “Life Trains”. ”

    I know you say that in jest, but there could be some truth to it. Modern life and modern medicine developed only because of access to cheap, reliable energy. It keeps us from freezing in the winter and keeps food in the pantry/refrigerator.

  42. John Marshall says:

    Hansen will take no notice and still claim scare scenarios. He needs his publicity like an addict needs heroin. Thank goodness the US Supreme Court uses common sense.

  43. DD More says:

    From the Court
    Indeed, this prescribed order of decision making the first decider under the Act is the expert administrative agency, the second, federal judges is yet another reason to resist setting emissions standards by judicial decree under federal tort law. The appropriate amount of regulation in any particular greenhouse gas-producing sector cannot be prescribed in a vacuum: as with other questions of national or international policy, informed assessment if competing interests is required. Along with the environmental benefit potentially achievable, our Nation’s energy needs and the possibility of economic disruption must weigh in the balance.
    The Clean Air Act entrusts such complex balancing to EPA in the first instance, in combination with state regulators. Each “standard of performance” EPA sets must “take into account the cost of achieving [emissions] reduction and any non air quality health and environmental impact and energy requirements.”

    See this weeks Climate and Energy post & Assessment of the Obama Administration’s Cost-Benefit Analysis of Clean Air Act Regulations By David Montgomery and Anne Smith, NERA Economic Consulting, Jun 14, 2011

    http://www.ntu.org/news-and-issues/energy-env…

  44. Grumpy Old Man says:

    I cannot understand this. What court or judge decided that CO2 was a pollutant? Can a person educared in law make a judgement on science? Sure if they listen to expert opinion but just how much expert opinion was there?

  45. NikFromNYC says:

    From: http://www.globalwarming.org/2011/06/21/that-footnote-in-yesterday%E2%80%99s-global-warming-ruling/

    “For views opposing EPA’s, see, e.g., Dawidoff, The Civil Heretic, N. Y. Times Magazine 32 (March 29, 2009). The Court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”

    The second line of that footnote would have sufficed all by itself to make clear that this ruling was not about global warming science. But the Court went beyond that to cite a 2009 N.Y. Times Magazine cover story about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Freeman Dyson and his skepticism about anthropogenic warming. Alarmists had been up in arms when that story was published, arguing that it would give the skeptics unwarranted respectability.

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