About those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns

Foreword: One of the craziest – and potentially far-reaching and harmful – lawsuits in recent memory is wending its way through our legal system. Filed by several California and New York cities and counties, the legal action asserts that major oil companies are causing rising seas, floods, repeated climate and weather disruptions, and an “existential threat” to humanity and our planet.

The oil companies have known about these risks for decades, the litigants continue, but failed to disclose the information in annual reports, stock offerings and other documents. The litigants seek compensatory damages, abatement of the alleged threats, attorneys’ fees, punitive damages and disgorgement of corporate profits. As my article explains, it is a classic shakedown … by cities and counties that have collective unfunded pension obligations in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns

Which aspects are most fraudulent? The cities’ lawsuits, junk science or bond offerings?

Guest opinion by Paul Driessen

The ultra liberal enclaves of New York City and San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Marin, and Imperial Beach, California all claim to be deeply worried about manmade climate cataclysms. They detest petroleum, oppose pipelines, fracking and onshore and offshore drilling, and strongly support renewable energy and expensive electricity: already 17-18¢ a kilowatt-hour for families, rich and poor.

They also have huge government pension fund shortfalls (NYC alone has a pension debt of some $65 billion), and are suing BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhilips and Royal Dutch Shell. They’re gunning for a collective litigation windfall of several hundred billion dollars, to help bail them out. (They’d probably sue coal companies, too, but the Obama era war on coal drove many into bankruptcy.)

Their fundamental cause of action claims greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide) from burning oil and natural gas are disrupting Earth’s climate and weather, causing heat waves and frigid winters, floods and droughts, more frequent and intense hurricanes, melting ice packs and rising seas – costing the cities billions of dollars for repairs and adaptation. The calamities pose an “existential threat” to the cities, humanity and our planet. If they’re not happening already, they will within decades, the litigants assert.

The oil companies have known about these risks for decades, the cities and counties continue, but hid the information from the public and failed to disclose it in annual reports, stock offerings and other documents. They are thus guilty of fraud, negligent and deliberate failure to warn, product design defects, trespass with dangerous pollutants, and being a public and private nuisance.

The litigants seek compensatory damages, abatement of the alleged nuisance, attorneys’ fees, punitive damages and disgorgement of corporate profits. NY Mayor Bill de Blasio also wants his city to divest from fossil fuels (which generate revenues for pension funds, and invest more in wind and solar, which require subsidies) and “bring the death knell” to the entire oil industry. It’s a classic shakedown.

Nice companies ya got there. Sure’d be a shame if something was to happen to ‘em.

The ironies are delicious – ripe for being exploited in courtrooms, Congress and courts of public opinion.

Start with the fraud allegations. Much to the chagrin of scientists who say humans are not causing climate cataclysms, these oil companies’ reports and press releases have frequently said fossil fuel emissions are a real concern, and the companies haven’t funded climate chaos skeptics for years. Where’s the fraud?

Compare that to Marin County, whose court pleadings assert a 99% risk of catastrophic storm surges and flooding, because of oil and gas combustion. San Mateo County cites a 93% likelihood of climate-related surges, floods and sewer overflows. San Francisco claims an “imminent risk of catastrophic storm surges.”

But SF’s 2017 municipal bond offering downplayed the risks, saying it is “unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding will occur.” Marin and San Mateo made similar statements to current and prospective bond investors. Ditto for other litigants and climate chaos claims. Their panicked concern about devastating climate impacts has suddenly vanished.

Courts don’t like forked tongues, prior inconsistent statements, duplicity or fraud. Neither do investors or SEC commissioners. Watching this lawsuit vs. bond offerings tar baby schizophrenia play out in court will be entertaining, and perhaps even one more reason to dismiss the frivolous lawsuit with prejudice.

It’s also ironic that the litigants claim the oil companies are causing local, state, national, international and planetary havoc – but wanted to sue in state courts, where they hoped to get friendlier judges and juries than they might in a federal venue. Boulder, Colorado’s city attorney also promoted that approach, in suggesting that this equally liberal town join the litigation, to “propel change” and “put a price on carbon.”

However, a Federal District judge has ruled that the case must be tried in federal courts, since the claims “depend on a global complex of geophysical cause and effect involving all nations of the planet.”

Add to that the unrelenting efforts by these cities, counties and states, climate activists and modelers, and various politicians to stifle debate, assert that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is manmade and dangerous, and even use racketeering laws and Spanish Inquisition tactics against climate chaos skeptics – while profiting handsomely from climate hysteria. But now they want to haul oil companies into court, where they must present real-world evidence, prove their case against fossil fuels, reply to weighty evidence that contradicts their assertions, and endure brutal cross-examination by defense attorneys.

It will be interesting to watch them try to silence defense witnesses and keep inconvenient evidence out.

Two new books, by Marc Morano and Gregory Wrightstone, offer superb laymen’s guides to the real science of climate change today and throughout Earth’s long history – and how difficult (nigh impossible) it will be for the litigants to prove their allegations: That today’s climate fluctuations are unprecedented. That they pose an imminent threat to people and planet. That humans and (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide now control climate and weather processes, replacing the sun and other powerful natural forces that did so previously. That they can somehow separate and quantify human versus natural influences and impacts.

The cities and counties also want the courts to focus only on the alleged social, environmental and economic costs of carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide emissions. They want no mention of the enormous benefits – to the cities, counties and their citizenry: lights, heat, clothing, transportation, communication, healthcare, employment, crops, parks, forests and much more. Indeed, a comprehensive, honest analysis shows the benefits of carbon exceed their costs by at least 50:1, to as much as 500:1.

The litigants demand that the targeted companies “disgorge” their profits. Perhaps the cities should first disgorge the trillions in benefits they received from using the companies’ products for the past century.

In the end, the case against the oil companies rests on bald assertions, selective evidence, revised and “homogenized” data, an assumption that industrialization caused modern global warming – and above all, computerized climate models that have been wrong about every temperature and other prediction. This may work in the “mainstream” media, universities and other liberal circles. It shouldn’t in a court of law.

As “logic of science” expert David Wojick observes, climate models are basically garbage in-garbage out, or GIGO: Input the assumption that rising CO2 levels cause climate change; output increasingly disastrous climate disruption scenarios. The process also involves constant circular reasoning: If all the drivers of climate change are assumed to be human-caused, all the observed changes must also be caused by humans.

That is how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change operates – and why we have so many disaster scenarios and demands for an immediate transition to renewable energy. It helps explain why these litigants oppose drilling, fracking and pipelines within their borders – but voice few concerns about the impacts of wind and solar installations on wildlife, habitats, and metals mining and processing in distant lands … or about the land, fertilizer and water demands, and CO2 emissions, associated with biofuels.

Two principles seem to guide the litigants: Whatever happens today or in the future – even if it happened many times in the past – is the oil companies’ fault, and it’s going to be catastrophic. Misrepresenting facts or failing to disclose relevant evidence violates anti-fraud laws – unless the cities and counties do it.

That is absurd. A lot is riding on these baseless climate lawsuits – and not just for the oil companies.

Every city, county, state, farm, manufacturer, hospital, business, worker and family whose operations, technologies, living standards, investments, pensions and hope for the future depend on the energy and petrochemicals that oil companies provide will be harmed by a court finding in favor of these litigants.

Every one of them should follow this case closely – and get involved deeply and personally in this crazy lawsuit, by intervening, providing evidence and expert witnesses, submitting amicus curiae briefs, and helping citizens, journalists and elected officials understand what is really at stake here. (Hint: It’s not Earth’s climate, which has changed often throughout history – beneficially, benignly or detrimentally.)

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of articles and books on natural resource issues. He has degrees in geology, ecology and environmental law.

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March 7, 2018 9:46 pm

This will be a well funded long term rebuttal by the oil companies. They need to win.
Perhaps the States involved are equally interested in really testing the facts.

Reply to  ozonebust
March 7, 2018 9:54 pm

Perhaps this is the Red team Blue team meeting point.

Hot under the collar
Reply to  ozonebust
March 8, 2018 5:09 pm

The only winners are going to be the suits, it’s going to cost the taxpayer and the energy corporations!

Ben of Houston
Reply to  ozonebust
March 7, 2018 10:12 pm

The thing is. We have no interest in fighting. Our lawyers are willing to roll over for anything. Our PR staff even more so. Just look at the sheer mass of cash we’ve forced into solar power and given to green groups.
However, the more these groups push, the more they press their luck. When you talk criminal charges or multi-billion dollar lawsuits, you end up turning these people who are willing to pay you to go away into dire enemies backed into a corner fighting for their lives.

Nigel S
Reply to  Ben of Houston
March 8, 2018 5:25 am

It’s the Danegeld problem, eventually fighting back becomes the best option.
‘To the shores of Tripoli;’
A local man, Michael Greenwood, was serving in HMS Lichfield when she was wrecked off Morocco in 1758. He and other survivors were enslaved by the Moors for 17 months until ransomed by Britain. Greenwood kept a captivity diary, now in the possession of descendants in Queensland, Australia.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  ozonebust
March 7, 2018 11:04 pm

This is the greenies biggest mistake. The oil companies will get to prove that there is no science behind the global warming hoax. Unfortunately when the cities lose the lawsuit the politicians will just ignore it and keep on implementing the carbon taxes. I really have lost faith in humanity. This whole madness wont end until we go back into a mini ice age. How many trillions of dollars will have been wasted before that happens?.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 7, 2018 11:14 pm

In anything like an honest court of law, with defendants who actually need to defend themselves, discovery and cross examination should prove brutal for the climate alarmist crowd. And lying under oath is a crime. A very severe strategic error.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 7, 2018 11:24 pm

Too bad it isn’t in Canada Doesn’t the loser in Canada have to pay the court costs and some of the other side legal fees?

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 7, 2018 11:44 pm

The laughter will start in the opening remarks…..We have these models……

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 8, 2018 12:24 am

Larry D says…
“And lying under oath is a crime.”
Let me fix it for you (and herein lies the problem), “And lying under oath is a crime if you are a conservative</b.."

Stephen Singer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 8, 2018 10:04 am

If the forecasts for what the Sun is going to do over the next few decades comes true it could be a bit sooner than your expecting.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 8, 2018 12:03 pm

“I really have lost faith in humanity.”
I’ve lost faith in half of humanity. The other half voted for Trump and may have saved us from a fate worse than death (a President Hillary Clinton+Swamp) at the last minute.

Reply to  ozonebust
March 8, 2018 4:17 am

Couple of points, the Federal Judge is a Clinton appointee and the case is in the 9th Federal Circuit. The judge is typical of 9th Circuit Judges that are activists. For example, he’s one of the judges that stated, in lay terms, that a Presidential EO of DACA cannot be reversed by another EO. Also, he’s the judge in the Oracle v Google copyright case that learned JAVA programming on his own — i.e, he turned himself into an “expert witness” under the guise of his judgeship. Don’t expect much in the way of fair treatment from this judge.
How activist? Consider this: “… the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark American Electric Power v. Connecticut decision rejected similar nuisance claims brought against companies for burning fossil fuels. The high court found that these lawsuits based on federal common law were improperly in federal court because greenhouse gas emissions were already regulated by an existing federal law: the Clean Air Act… In other words, although this was a procedural decision as to where the claims should be brought, the court has tipped its hand and indicated that it believes these types of nuisance claims are not preempted by the Clean Air Act.”, From https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianpotts/2018/03/01/a-california-court-might-have-just-opened-the-floodgates-for-climate-litigation/#4ed508e71851
The defendants will, of course, vigorously defend this case but two can play the forum shopping game. It seems Exxon has filed an action in Texas which raised the bond issues. See this for a summary of that action: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/09012018/exxon-california-coastal-cities-climate-change-damages-lawsuit-texas-court

Reply to  cedarhill
March 8, 2018 4:42 am

There are federal agencies that are very leery of trying or appealing cases in the 9th Circuit for those reasons. So many of the judges are known to be biased towards certain groups or ideas, that even if the law and science are on the side of the agency, the agencies know that the likelihood of an adverse ruling is high. A bad ruling there could end up with bad national regulations, so it may be better in some cases to settle (or forego an appeal) and only have the idiocy affect one area.
It is sad when you cannot count on judges to interpret law correctly and fairly. What kind of recourse do you have?

Reply to  cedarhill
March 8, 2018 9:26 am

Ally Kat, You impeach the ones that do not follow the Constitution or the Law. Constitution being prime.

Reply to  cedarhill
March 8, 2018 10:32 am

The ones who are in a position to impeach them, are the same ones who put them on the bench to begin with.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  ozonebust
March 8, 2018 11:29 am

This will be diverted funds from the oil companies that could have been tax revenues for the states. Such a pointless – yet political – waste.

Reply to  ozonebust
March 8, 2018 9:08 pm

Here you go:
“The litigants seek ……… attorneys’ fees …..”

March 7, 2018 9:52 pm

Refuse to supply for a week and see what happens. Bet they will come to their senses in no time.The snarlups will be horrendous.

Reply to  birdynumnum
March 7, 2018 10:10 pm

You dont need red team /blue team or well funded long term rebuttals
Turn the flipping tap off and it will be all over in no time.

Reply to  birdynumnum
March 7, 2018 10:12 pm

Yeah and charge twice as much for a week afterwards so you dont lose anything.

Phil Rae
Reply to  birdynumnum
March 7, 2018 10:20 pm

A great idea……if only it were so simple! But, I wish something of that nature would happen to bring all these anti-fossil fuel fruitcakes to their senses. Despite all the evidence and information available, they seem unwilling, or perhaps incapable, of understanding the debt we owe to hydrocarbons and our ongoing reliance on them for the rest of this century, at the very least. Affordable, widely-available energy whether from a thermal coal power plant, a highly efficient combined-cycle gas turbine or an internal combustion engine (and all the subsidiary developments arising from deployment of these technologies) has been responsible for the greatest improvements in lifestyle, human health and longevity in our entire history.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  birdynumnum
March 8, 2018 9:22 am

Shut the pipelines for a while for maintenance.

March 7, 2018 10:08 pm

Wouldn’t you expect the litigant to stop using fuels immediately? Seems like a smoker who learned of the harmful effects of smoking, but keeps smoking anyway… for them to believe their own BS, surely they would have to stop using oil, now where they found it to be harmful.

Reply to  Matt
March 8, 2018 11:33 am

Per the tobacco company lawsuits, they’ll just blame the petrol industry for not labeling their product as “addictive”. We can’t stop using fossil fuels because we’re hooked now and it’s all their fault. Now give me money!

March 7, 2018 10:31 pm

It has just been announced that a judge in San Francisco will hear scientific arguments for and against the CAGW hypothesis on March 21st regarding this oil company shakedown orchestrated by the Left.
I hope the oil companies put together The Dream Team of expert witnesses (Dr. Curry, Dr. Soon, Dr. Spencer and Dr. Lindzen would be nice) and that the overwhelming empirical evidence against CAGW will lead to a favorable ruling for the oil companies….
Since this is a Leftist San Francisco judge, I doubt the oil companies will get a fair ruling, but ya neva know… Regardless, at least the oil companies can try to win on appeal; hopefully all the way to SCOTUS.
Obviously hypotheses can’t be confirmed or disconfirmed by judges, but this trial will provide some excellent PR for CAGW skeptics.

Reply to  SAMURAI
March 7, 2018 11:41 pm

I doubt that the court case will turn out well for the oil companies. When it comes to scientific evidence, I think you will find that the court will be unable to understand any of the science, and will make their decision based on the number of capital letters after each expert witness’s name. I doubt that the climate science “dream team” will have enough letters to make the court even listen. Forget about charts and climate history and all that logical stuff. Pour money into people with lots of impressive qualifications and lots of those super-persuasive capital letters.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 8, 2018 7:04 am

The lawyer will declare that all of the professional organizations endorse the “we’re gonna die” position, and the judge will then declare, “That’s good enough for me.”

Reply to  SAMURAI
March 8, 2018 5:14 am

I would also add Dr Ned Nikolov to the list of expert witnesses.

Reply to  SAMURAI
March 8, 2018 11:39 am

All this would accomplish is finally proving once and for all that these scientists are “shills for the oil companies”. In fact anyone who appears as a witness on behalf of the defense must be a “shill” and therefore their testimony can safely be ignored. It’s not just circular reasoning, it’s triangular reasoning, the strongest of all closed-loop reasoning, unassailable from any side. The act of disagreeing proves that you are wrong.

Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW)
March 7, 2018 10:33 pm

Nice report, but one other angle that isn’t mentioned in Paul’s piece is the fatal evidence fault within ALL these lawsuits, about the basic accusation that ‘skeptic climate scientists are in a pay-for-performance arrangement with energy companies to lie to the public.’ In boilerplate style, these CA lawsuits offer a particular set of “leaked industry memos” as evidence of that “conspiracy” — my screencapture of the transcript passage from the San Mateo County version is here: http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/3-complaints-Reposit.jpg
What’s seen there are the old “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” strategy memo phrase and the targeting audience phrases “older, less-educated males” / “younger, lower-income women,” which Al Gore, Naomi Oreskes and AGW alarmist book author Ross Gelbspan said are from the old Western Fuels Association’s “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) public relations campaign, which they claim is evidence of the sinister intent of fossil fuel companies. But as Ron Arnold proved in his piece about Oreskes (“Naomi Oreskes Warps History” http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/3-complaints-Reposit.jpg), that specific memo set was NEVER part of the ICE campaign at all. The scientists associated with that campaign never saw that memo set, and neither did the CEO of Western Fuels at that time.
The question should not be whether the fossil fuel industry ran a giant misinformation campaign about global warming, it should be asked if certain enviro-activist leaders are doing this. If Gore knew his “evidence” was worthless from the time he first quoted it in his “Earth in the Balance book ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ErintheB-360.jpg ) but maliciously pushed it anyway, we need to ask whether Gore has committed one of the biggest acts of libel/slander in history.
I’ve detailed this fatal fault and related major personnel problems seen in the CA lawsuits here: “County of Santa Cruz v. Chevron Corp. et al.” http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=627

Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW)
Reply to  Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW)
March 7, 2018 10:35 pm

Oops, fixed the link in that last one: http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=6271

Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW)
Reply to  Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW)
March 7, 2018 10:39 pm

Oops #2, copy ‘n paste link error: “Naomi Oreskes Warps History” http://leftexposed.org/2016/06/naomi-oreskes-warps-history/

March 7, 2018 10:55 pm

Oil companies should shut down all gas stations on Earth Day. For entities that are suing them, observe Earth Week.

March 7, 2018 10:59 pm

I know who is ‘guilty of fraud’ an it’s not the oil companies.

Joel O’Bryan
March 7, 2018 11:01 pm

The plaintiffs are clearly hoping for a settlement fund from which to pilfer and to pay their private attorneys (aka ambulance chasers) their King’s ransom.

Warren Blair
March 7, 2018 11:19 pm

Yes oil companies will settle early and pay the plaintiff’s extortion under a confidential settlement.
Remember US oil have no interest in sceptics or sceptical scientists (even if they retain a few to present early evidence).
US oil is run by socialist-alarmists who are ‘friends’ of Liberals and move in the same circles as the plaintiff.
By the way, what good is a pre-trial ‘tutorial’ for the judge if he doesn’t allow cross-examination of the data?
The plaintiff will present a suite of fraudulent data.

March 7, 2018 11:51 pm

What a great idea, make the oil companies go bust, Where’s your electricity, heating, transport etc coming from? Those cities are digging a huge hole for themselves, back to the stone age. Time to invest in horses, candles and firewood. Idiots.

Reply to  Michael
March 8, 2018 12:38 am

It’s only a problem for countries that allow this sort of thing under the law like USA. You could argue it is one of the disadvantages of the bill of rights for individuals. Australian law for example works in reverse we have no bill of rights our law says what you can not do, not what you have the right to do. It’s usually funny asking an average Australian if they are guaranteed free speech, well over 50% get it wrong. The answer is no we aren’t you can say anything that isn’t forbidden under a number of hate speech and censorship laws.
So this is one of those situation USA will have to work out how far you allow it to go. However I do agree the oil companies could fire a shot across the bow by simply turning off the tap for a week.

Reply to  Michael
March 8, 2018 1:17 pm

Invest in land — If you plan on depending on horses, the horses must have land that they can depend on.

Ivor Ward
March 8, 2018 12:54 am

It is quite possibly a sue and settle case. The oil companies liberal bigwigs may already have come to an “arrangement” with the various city governments to bail them out using shareholders money. Obviously they could not just hand over profits to their liberal chums without a vicious backlash from the shareholders but, if they settle this for billions into the city pension funds they can pretend to have been “forced” to save their Companies by settling.
Do not ever underestimate the reach of the Liberal/Democrat/Green mindset.

Reply to  Ivor Ward
March 8, 2018 4:48 am

Said pension funds will probably be raided. There is probably some loophole that will allow it. How much of the tobacco settlement funds went towards anti-smoking related programs? Heck, how much went towards anything related to smoking?

Reply to  AllyKat
March 8, 2018 1:19 pm

Most of the subject pension funds contain little other than IOUs — They are much like the Medicare and Social Security so-called “trust funds” which can be trusted for nothing.

Stewart Herring
March 8, 2018 12:58 am

Does Al Gore still have beachfront properties in the SF area?
How many of these pension funds are invested in fossil fuels?

Warren Blair
March 8, 2018 1:03 am

Nah its more like a deal between oil execs and the plaintiff’s’ Liberal lawyers.
“Y’all roll over and cough up late in the piece and we’ll give y’all CEOs a cool 10 mill each in a Swiss accounts”.
“We all get rich, what’s not to like?”
“You understands we’ll need quite a pantomime for the peasants who’ll pay for all this . . .”

Nigel S
Reply to  Warren Blair
March 8, 2018 5:29 am

They would laugh at 10 mill! Have you looked at CEO’s salaries and stock options recently?

March 8, 2018 1:25 am

In the early 20th century my grandfather drove a horse-drawn streetcar (tram) in Toronto way back before the internal combustion engine was developed and before big oil was big.
In the summer of 1937 I could look out my bedroom window above his shop and see in the street below our street’s garbage wagon drawn by Percherons. City boys in those days. even pre-schoolers, could recognize some breeds of draft horses.
My grandfather knew what many have forgotten: that without the auto industry and big oil our cities would now be drowning in horse manure. We would be batting flies all day long. We would be at risk from the diseases carried by horses and by flies. And we would need half of our farmland to feed the horses.
Big auto and big oil saved us from all of that. Climate alarmism tries to exploit the ignorance of the public. But if Abraham Lincoln was correct, there comes a point when the public wakes up because some of the public were never fooled at all.

joe - the non climate scientist
Reply to  Frederick Colbourne
March 8, 2018 7:24 am

Similar agrument with the “subsidies ” the fossil fuel companies enjoy (phantom subsidies in reality).
The activists argue that the fossil fuel companies receive massive subsidies, yet ignore the benefits of fossil fuels, specifically the lower costs of almost all goods and services, higher standard of living, etc

Jan Christoffersen
Reply to  joe - the non climate scientist
March 8, 2018 9:07 am

Fossil fuel subsidies apply in countries with state-controlled oil companies – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, etc, etc. In the West, oil companies pay taxes to all levels of government, providing them with the largest share of benefits (profits) than the producers themselves, certainly here in Canada.
So, you are right, the subsidies here are “phantom”, basically long-accepted tax credits related to the cost of doing business,

March 8, 2018 3:55 am

If adding CO2 to the atmosphere is the cause of damaging climate change, then the real fault lies with those who actually burn fossil fuels and that is not the fossil fuel companies. Supplying fossil fuels is legal and it is not until the fossil fuels are burned that they can possible have any effect on climate. It is money from those who use fossil fuels that keeps the fossil fuel companies. If you believe that the burning of fossil fuels is bad then your should immediately stop making use of all goods and services tthat involve the use of fossil fuels and in our current society it is almost impossible to do that.
The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing today is cauaed by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. Even if we could hault climate change in its tracks, extreme weather events and sea level rise are part of the current climate and would continue unabated. The AGW conjecture is based on a radient grenhouse effect provided for by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed anywhere in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction,. Hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well. Sciience fiction is not a good basis for a law suite.
If there is a responsible party here it would be Mother Nature, Lots of luck on collecting on a judgement against Mother Nature.

Reply to  willhaas
March 8, 2018 5:32 am

The legal system obviously provide means to sue and find guilty a provider, instead of the customer who actually used the product.
Countless examples. My favorite is the famous Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants
These prosecutors are not dumb. They know enough law to know how to do that. Hence the “Exxon knew” campaign: if you sell a product without a warning about inconvenient side-effect, someone suffering from the side-effect can sue you.

Reply to  paqyfelyc
March 8, 2018 3:58 pm

The primary side effect of CO2 is life as we know it. But there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific reasoning to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. All life that brethes should also be named in the lawsuits because they act to add CO2 to the atmosphere. Warming oceans are another source of CO2 and hence the Sun is to blame. If the so called grenhouse gases are at fault here then those who allow H2O to evaporate into the atmosphere are the biggest offenders and should also be named in the law suits.

Reply to  willhaas
March 8, 2018 11:18 am
Reply to  Chris
March 8, 2018 12:31 pm

Most skeptics believe the greenhouse effect is real. What has not been established is whether CO2 has enough of an effect to modify the Earth’s weather to the point where it could be measured.
CO2 concentrations have been much higher in Earth atmospheric history than today yet no runaway greenhouse has ever been detected because of it. There is no reason to believe a few hundred ppm of CO2, like we have today, will have any net effect on Earth’s atmosphere.

Reply to  Chris
March 8, 2018 4:01 pm

The convective greenhouse effect accounts for all the warming that has been observed that can be attributed to the atmosphere. An additional radiant greenhouse effect caused by gases with LWIR absorption bands has not been observed anywhere in the solar system including the Earth.

March 8, 2018 4:09 am

Yet another reason I think Jeff Sessions (US Attorney general) is terminally slow, or a captive of the career staff. Either a RICO or a civil rights prosecution against the cities and their lawyers would be appropriate, for abuse of process for the purposes of extortion. Either the cities were lying in their bond offerings, or in these lawsuits.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 8, 2018 5:00 am

I’ll bet on a “AND”, not a “or”

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 8, 2018 8:21 pm

Sessions is “deliberate”. 🙂 Sessions said he has appointed an investigator to look into the Clinton “Russia One” scandal. And Sessions will more than likely appoint another Special Counsel to investigate the FISA abuses of the Obama administration and possibly the Clinton email scandal.
Jeff came out of the gate slow, but he’s starting to crank it up now. Before long they will be marching members of the Obama administration and the Clinton mafia up before a federal grand jury.

March 8, 2018 4:58 am

Last time I checked, you couldn’t sue about the future. Not even if it was certain, and of course not if it was just a “may”.
Did they changed that?

Phil R
Reply to  paqyfelyc
March 8, 2018 4:30 pm

Good point. I’m not a lawyer, and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but my understanding is that you have to have standing to sue, and standing generally involves some sort of injury (monetary or otherwise) to the plaintiff. You can’t (or shouldn’t) be able to sue because of some perceived claim of injury sometime in the future.
Would appreciate any additional comments/ clarification form any lawyers (ristvan?).

Russell Johnson
March 8, 2018 4:59 am

If the energy companies finally lose this case there’s not enough blood money to feed every city, county and state. This judge will rule against Exxon et al, set up a trillion dollar fund, make some lawyers filthy rich and consumers will pay for it all. Electric rates will skyrocket, gasoline and diesel fuel will break $10/gal and we will experience a severe recession if not a depression. All caused by lying fools and their phoney climate change religion.

March 8, 2018 7:01 am

After a tough football game while taking off my equipment I once saw our star running back, known for his agility, get his feet tangled in his own jock strap, fall, hit his head on one of the hooks we hung our equipment on, and require stitches to close the wound.
Both sides in this squabble are in danger of the same thing. The Russians who are employed by their “government”, such as it is, to cause trouble for the US, their main competitor in the energy market, must be laughing all the way to their social media fake accounts. The increasing polarization of our culture is a great gambit for their play. Disingenuous players on both sides and disingenuous judges in the middle.

March 8, 2018 7:44 am

Speaking as a licensed lawyer, this won’t end well for the cities. Two lines of reasoning. One, their bond offerings detail no climate risks. Two, they cannot show any actual CAGW damages. Looks like Exxon is going to really go after these cities.

Curious George
Reply to  ristvan
March 8, 2018 8:01 am

Don’t rely on judges following the law. Senator Kamala Harris is not a judge, but her judicial philosophy is “do the right thing today, the law justifying your action will be passed soon”.

Reply to  ristvan
March 8, 2018 12:50 pm

March 8, 2018 at 7:44 am
Speaking as a licensed lawyer, this won’t end well for the cities. Two lines of reasoning. One, their bond offerings detail no climate risks.
ristvan, just for the sake of an argument.
I am not a layer, but as you being one, I am trying my luck here for some kind of understanding.
As far as my legal understanding permits, the basics are simple, technicality plus fairness of the case.
In the grounds of technicality the case in question here does not meet even the most very least expected requirement for it to be allowed through, but still it may be allowed on some premise of extra push and streatch as per merit of a possible fairness.
Meaning the case does not offer any evidence for damages what so ever, so no much merit for such a case to be allowed to persist any further, technically.
It does not matter what Exxon or other companies knew or not, if technically the evidence for damages not there anyhow, no case for compensation…And that is what the main backbone of the case, compensation for damages….
Opinion does not count as evidence, regardless of how many standing up to forward such opinions, especially when no where in a trillion AGW literature science there is any support any where to be found there for any present or past CO2 damages.
And a case for further damages and some kind of compensation case based on the clause of possible future damages, that,will simply be no less or no more than devious circular reasoning, as per the clause of a “MINORITY Report”, a clear attempt for a “witch hunt”, when involving the courts too, an attempt to ingage the courts and the law of the land in a “witch hunt”, in clear disrespect and contempt of the law and society at large and also in a clear attempt against the constitution of USA.
All scientific literature out there, as per IPCC and the whole rest, all the USA agency reports in these matters, all the testimony before Congress, and also the position of the USA Federal government, and the POTUS also, do not support such as opinions and assumptions……further more not even the Paris Accord does support such opinions that this case is based on…….simple as that….not even the science of Mann or Hansen, as far as their literature on this case consist about……,no any bases in fact or evidence, that these opinions this case happens to be standing upon…..
But hey still for some case of the fairness clause consideration, still a Court may allow such a case to go through for a judicial, passing the hearing…….and that will be really really funny…:)
ristvan, hope you get the means of my point made here..

Reply to  whiten
March 8, 2018 12:57 pm

please Mods if you could find some kindness in your hearts, can you correct the above from “layer” to “lawyer”, please!
Looks really bad….:)

March 8, 2018 7:49 am

There are specific legal requirements for bond offerings, corp annual reports, etc. Only in the past few years has the SEC required companies to report risks to their company from regulations (like clean power plan). There is no requirement for companies to speculate about climate change 100 years in the future, and if they did the SEC would probably punish them for it. They are not research institutes and unlike tobacco, they are not the repositories of special information on climate change. If companies do make political policy preferences, then the same Left yells about corporate interference, and yells about the Citizens United decision. Oil is a legal product and it is the consumption of it that is raising CO2 levels. There is no action oil companies could have taken that would satisfy the litigants. If the lawsuits succeed it will raise the price of almost everything and hurt the poor most.

T port
March 8, 2018 8:09 am

These suits are one of the best arguments for Trumps withdrawal from the Paris agreement. If we enter into an actual treaty it’s only a matter of time until the entire world finds a way to sue the U.S energy industry into bankruptcy – and maybe the U.S. government as well. The trend is clear.

March 8, 2018 8:22 am

This is not just about climate. Not without exception, the Gulf of Mexico oil industry has been more than generous, even long before the spill. Last report I saw had the Louisiana oyster fishery making as much money from them as from oysters. There have been too many questionable cases, aided to some extent by consultants, some poorly trained and experienced. The water is muddy as are lots of settlements. Unfortunately, this has obscured the understanding of actual effects.
The press seems quiet about recent spill studies. It could have something to do with oil being biodegradable, sometimes a fertilizer. Also, the clean-up may have been worse than the spill and separating ‘natural’ causes difficult.

March 8, 2018 11:05 am

Suing a company for being responsible for weather events that have yet to occur and cannot be foretold and for withholding the truth about climate change when the truth is unknown is beyond absurd.
A growing body of scientists worldwide now predicts that the global temperature over the next several decades will likely decline, in which case, current environmental policies would be diametrically opposite from the right policies and result in the waste trillions of misspent dollars.
The mass media, which is scientifically illiterate or outright lying, is driving the scientific narrative on climate change. How messed up can a country get? Intellectual discussion as a means of solving problems has been replaced with extortion by litigation for the New Left, right out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

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