A postmortem on the rejected #ExxonKnew case in San Francisco Federal Court

Recently, sanity prevailed in California as the judge rebuked the idea that there was a conspiracy to defraud the public by oil companies. Here’s a look at the argument presented.


Guest opinion by Joseph Bast

We are still waiting for the transcript of the “climate tutorial” requested by the judge, but here are my preliminary reactions to what happened on Wednesday:

The Powerpoint used by the lawyers for Chevron (the other oil companies didn’t send someone to speak, but all of the defendants submitted the Powerpoint into testimony) is now posted here:

http://blogs2.law.columbia.edu/climate-change-litigation/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/case-documents/2018/20180321_docket-317-cv-06011_na.pdf

The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch observes the irony of an oil company citing the IPCC reports while environmentalists say those reports are inaccurate:

TABLES TURNED: Alarmists Now ‘Deny’ Climate Science While Big Oil Defends It

Here is my take on what is good about Chevron’s presentation:

  • We have long argued that the full reports of the IPCC reports contain many admissions of uncertainty and doubt (see, e.g., page 39 of Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming) while the “summaries for policymakers” are political documents that exclude all language implying doubt and are edited by environmental activists and politicians to serve political ends. Chevron quite rightly looked to the actual studies and documented the admissions of uncertainty during the period of time when they are accused of hiding a scientific consensus. That’s a good and safe argument. If you believe the IPCC is a credible source (more on that below), this seems to be a compelling argument for the defense.
  • Chevron asks the court to distinguish between the defendants’ activities – the extraction of fossil fossils from the ground – and the activity that may be causing climate change – the combustion of fossil fuels. The IPCC of course recognizes the use of fossil fuels by consumers and industry releases the lion’s share of carbon dioxide, not the exploration, drilling, refining, and transportation of the product.  Therefore, Chevron argues in effect, the IPCC reports do not prove that oil companies are responsible for global warming, or at least oil companies cannot solve the problem without the active help (sacrifice) of others. This is at least a clever argument that separates the question of “what causes climate change” from “who should be responsible for whatever harms climate change brings.” It supports the oil industry’s long-standing position that if global warming is a problem in need of solution, then the solution must involve the users (through mechanisms like cap and trade or a tax on carbon dioxide emissions) and must be international (a binding treaty requiring China and India to limit their emissions).
  • Chevron directly questions plaintiffs’ claims that sea level rise attributable to global warming poses a threat to California cities by quoting IPCC reports admitting to uncertainty about the amount of rise and whether California has or will face much sea level rise in the future. For example, “It is likely that [Global Mean Sea Level] rose between 1920 and 1950 at a rate comparable to that observed between 1993 and 2010,” and “Since the late 20th century, satellite measurements of the height of the ocean surface relative to the center of the Earth (known as geocentric sea level) show differing rates of geocentric sea level change around the world. … [T]hose in the eastern Pacific Ocean are lower than the global mean value, with much of the west coast of the Americas experiencing a fall in sea surface height over the same period.” This is consistent with recent NIPCC and Heartland research on the topic.
  • Chevron quotes the plaintiffs own words, contained in municipal bond offerings, admitting future sea level rise cannot be predicted. E.g., ““The City is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City and the local economy.” Citing “City & Cty. of S.F. Tax-Exempt General Obligation Bonds, Official Statement (Jan. 2017)” and a similar statement by the City of Oakland. Hypocrisy of this sort is rife in the environmental movement (cf. Al Gore), it’s nice to see it documented in this case.

Here is what is wrong with the Chevron presentation:

  • There appears to be no critique of IPCC’s claim to represent the consensus of scientific thought. There is an extensive literature showing IPCC’s mandate is to make a case for action on man-made climate change rather than to test the hypothesis that a human impact is detectible and would be harmful. This makes it a political organization and not a scientific body. The way it appoints people to its task forces, conducts fake peer review, and claims confidence in its findings all suggest politics and bias. See the many references in Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming (pp. 38-44).
  • Chevron’s graphic showing “The Greenhouse Effect,” although taken from IPCC AR4, is more appropriate for a middle-school science class than a briefing before a federal district judge. Earth’s climate is probably the most complicated system known to man. Most natural processes are poorly understood, and even the most sophisticated climate models incorporate educated guesses and assumptions that are then “tuned” to produce results that conform to the modelers’ expectations (and the expectations of their government funders). Why not use this moment to admit that no progress has been made in determining climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels since research began in the 1970s? That’s a missing fact in the debate.

  • Chevron’s history of climate science after the 1950s erases any mention of widespread skepticism toward the claims that carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels could be affecting climate, whether it could be causing warming rather than cooling, whether future climate conditions can be forecast with any degree of reliability, and whether natural processes are sufficiently understood to distinguish their effects from the hypothetical effects of rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change has exhaustively catalogued this literature, as have prolific authors including Patrick Michaels and Rupert Darwall. To tell the history of climate science as the steady and inevitable climb from uncertainty to absolute confidence in the increasingly bizarre claims of the environmental left is completely and utterly wrong and, like the graphic of “the greenhouse effect,” childlike in its naiveté.
  • Chevron never questions the use of the adulterated surface temperature record instead of more accurate and truly global satellite records, the latter showing very little warming since the record began in 1979. This is hardly a trivial point, since an unusual or unnatural rise in global temperatures beginning in the second half of the 20th Century is alleged to be the primary and central fact at the heart of the litigation and the entire global warming issue. Recent findings of manipulation of the temperature record, coming on top of devastating critiques of the Michael Mann “Hockey Stick” temperature record, a record endorsed and promoted by the IPCC, and the Climategate scandal exposing misconduct by many prominent IPCC authors, editors, and contributors, explain why the defendants should not concede this point.
  • Chevron fails to mention even one of the series of frauds that have undermined the credibility of climate science. Those scandals include the Climategate scandal, the Phil Jones “missing database” scandal, the John Beale scandal, the UN/IPCC peer-review scandal, the NOAA surface temperature “corrections” scandal, the climate model “tuning scandal,” the PM 2.5 epidemiology scandal, the “RICO 20” scandal, and most recently the Russian collusion with environmental groups scandal. If Chevron bothered to turn some of its hundreds of lawyers loose on even two or three of these scandals, it would easily discredit the plaintiff’s alleged experts.

In short, Chevron may have made only so many arguments as it thinks is necessary to win this case, which I suppose is what good lawyers do. It made those arguments well, and perhaps they will convince a liberal judge to end a frivolous case. But Chevron left many false and misleading claims before the court, claims that contaminate the public debate on climate change and will continue to haunt the fossil fuel industry and threaten our energy freedom unless they are faced and debunked.

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Albert

“Chevron left many false and misleading claims before the court, claims that contaminate the public debate on climate change and….”
Indeed, the oil companies are part of the problem of misinformation. They have no problem with taxing CO2 emissions just as they have no problem with spending trillions of dollars on wars in the Middle East, which ultimately benefit them. To oppose the agw lies would be to bite the hand that feeds them.

John harmsworth

I don’t think you can even count.

Ryan S.

Your entire post is B.S. misinformation.
Oil companies spend “trillions of dollars on war?” Funny those trillions of capital expenditures don’t show up on their annual reports.
Do you think Exxon hiding an aircraft carrier somewhere? They have an elite marine corps on the thirteenth floor in Houston?

Albert

Sorry if I was unclear, I thought it was obvious who has spent trillions on wars in the Middle East, that would be the taxpayers of the USA. Doh!

Ryan S.

Fair enough.
Oil majors do like the idea of taxing CO2 for two reasons in my opinion. 1) The are an upstream business, 85% of emissions occur upon combustion. They actually pay very little in carbon tax. 2) Costly taxes and regulations strangle the little companies; less competition = more profit.

Jeanparisot

If those wars were for oil, why didn’t we keep it?

Greg

Because you did not win ! Duh. US created chaos and (sensibly) walked away once it became too expensive in blood and treasure.
Bush thought he was going to walk in, take control of the worlds 2nd largest oil field and steal the oil to pay for the cost of the war. They had already signed contracts with Haliburton to rebuild Iraq before they had even started to destroy it.
That all did not happen the way they intended.

Greg

“If those wars were for oil”
Operation
Iraq
Liberation
What is your reading age ??

MarkW

We did win.
Obama gave away the victory.
It never ceases to amaze me the p@ranoia of the left.
They actually believe the lies they tell each other.
We had 100% control of Iraq, and the only thing we did with the oil was to give it to the locals.

Chimp

Please explain how and why you imagine that wars in the Middle East benefit oil companies, other than perhaps Saudi Aramco. Thanks.
No matter who controls oil fields, eg. in the case of Iraq, Saddam, the Shia-dominated government, Kurds or ISIS, the owners want to sell the crude.

Albert

How is it beneficial to oil companies to install governments that are friendly with them? Perhaps more importantly are banking interests. Saudi Arabia agreed many years ago to sell oil only in USD. That’s very important to keeping the USD as the world’s Reserve currency and it’s the main reason the USD has any value whatsoever . And that’s why the Saudis are our best buddies.

Bryan A

One way Conflict does this is to insert uncertainty in the supply line from oil producing foreign nations which will in turn raise the price on the commodity. Domestic prices rise in accord although the product costs nothing more to pump from or drill out of the ground or to refine locally. The conflict induced price increase is Profit for the domestic producing companies

Bryan A

The good news is, as the price increases so does the amount of recoverable oil.
Oil that costs $65 per bbl to produce sits in the ground at $55 but gets pumped at $75

MarkW

Installing governments???? Are you totally mad?

MarkW

Saudi Arabia decided on their own to sell oil in USDs because the USD was the unofficial trading currency of the world.
It hasn’t benefited the US for this to be the case.

MarkW

That the USD was considered the reserve currency of the world came about long before the Saudi’s and other oil producing countries decided to trade in that currency. That fact alone explains their decision.
Not vague paranoid fantasies of secret deals and US domination.

Alan Tomalty

Dont forget the oil is the raw commodity. The refineries are where the big money is made and most of those refineries are in the USA owned by the big oil companies

Alan Tomalty

Albert you are out of your league. Stop before you make a bigger fool of yourself

Greg

Saudi Arabia decided on their own to sell oil in USD

Are you still in highschool Mark, or do you just spend too long on p0rnhub to inform yourself about history.

MarkW

It really is amazing how you leftists actually believe the lies you tell each other.
The USD has been the defacto currency of international trade since the end of WWII.

Pop Piasa

Fellas, I think Albert actually was trying to say “…they have no problem with the spending of trillions of tax dollars…”

Wars in the Middle East haven’t cost trillions,nor are they fought over oil.

MarkW

So, in your pathetic opinion, the wars of the middle east are about oil, and only oil?

Wally

For Oil? That’s an intentional distraction.
Wars in the ME are about what Israel demands that the US do for them; using US taxpayers money and the blood of US soldiers.

MarkW

Now we go from p@ranoia to blatant anti-semitism.

“So, in your pathetic opinion, the wars of the middle east are about oil, and only oil?”
Richard Cheney said the invasion of IrAq was to “secure the free and ready flow of oil.” He even wrote that in the first page of The Cheney Energy Report. He even included drawings of oil fields to capture; he even assigned “suitor clients” to give Iraq’s oil fields to. Sheeeish.Even the Republican Party’s cable network admitted it!

In fact Chevron stated under oath in front of the judge that they agree with the world-wide scientific consensus on the subject; ConnocoPhilips also stated they agree; so did British Petroleum; so did ExxonMobile. They all stated, either in writing or verbally, that all of the world’s experts are correct— they just denied they are to blame.
The world’s top five petroleum corporations this week stated they agree with the fact that human-caused climate change is a major threat to humanity and civilization. All five stated they agree with the IPCC’s AR5 assessments.

“Sorry if I was unclear, I thought it was obvious who has spent trillions on wars in the Middle East, that would be the taxpayers of the USA. Doh!”
Current global fossil fuel subsidies exceeds five trillion dollars a year. That includes military interventions to protect and defend oil fields from the people who own them.

commieBob

A postmortem on the rejected #ExxonKnew case in San Francisco Federal Court

I wasn’t aware that the case is in any way settled.
Is there actually a judgement? IMHO, it’s way too early to talk about a postmortem.

Well, the headline here yesterday was
“With the dismissal of the #ExxonKnew lawsuits, climate alarmists are now in “bizarro world””
But yes, the case seems to continue.

Joel Snider

Yes, cockroaches are hard to eradicate once they get a foothold.

Bruce Cobb

Not unlike a zombie.

kaliforniakook

The case continues – yes. The conspiracy charge – no.

kaliforniakook

Actually, I’ve found no independent source that says the conspiracy charge was thrown out – other than the charge in a separate case brought by Exxon. I withdraw my comment.

michel

No, there was no ruling, there was no dismissal. The idea that there was is fake news. i do not understand why WUWT is repeating an obviously false claim.
A motion for dismissal (several actually) has been filed, and its very interesting. Not least its interesting because its arguments do not rest on any consideration about whether global warming is or is not seriously dangerous, or whether its caused by rising CO2 and fossil fuel use.
There simply has been no ruling of the sort claimed here on the authority apparently of the Daily Caller.
Anyone who thinks this is wrong, please just post a link to the ruling.

joe - the non climate scientist

Michael – concur
The case has not been dismissed. A motion to dismiss has been filed (several actually), but none has been granted, The hearing on the motion to dismiss has not yet been scheduled.
If the conspiracy portion of the claim had been dismissed, every news organization would have reported such an event and the written order would have been published. The judge may have indicated that the conspiracy claim would be dismissed, but until such an order or ruling is signed and posted, it is not official or valid.
The there have been a few docs posted to the courts website since Wednesday afternoon, unfortunately, I dont have a pacer account, so I cant access.
Daily caller is the first to report the dismissal, yet no one has published a copy of the order.
Quite frankly the continued repetition of the claim without a signed order makes the claimant look silly.

jorgekafkazar

“If the conspiracy portion of the claim had been dismissed, every news organization would have reported such an event…”
Uh, no.

scraft1

Defendants file a motion to dismiss in virtually every lawsuit. It almost always fails – judges are reluctant to end a case so early in the proceeding. To grant the motion the judge would have to find that the lawsuit is so defective that it fails to state a claim that would prevail even if evidence supports it. This almost never happens when decent lawyers are involved.
Also, I too am flabbergasted why Anthony would publish such fake news, and then let it persist after repeatedly being informed that the report is wrong. This a severe blow to the credibility of this blog.

MarkW

Concern troll is concerned

Alan Tomalty

I think the judge actually wanted a debate on global warming but is now disappointed as we all are that Chevron declined to debate and chickened out by falsely claiming that they believe in global warming. Since the alarmists refuse to have public debates on this the only alternative is the court system I dont understand why we skeptics dont go after the alarmists in court. I guess it is that the alarmists have all the money behind them except for the oil money that is now too chicken to fight.

scraft1

Mark W – your not concerned?

“i do not understand why WUWT is repeating an obviously false claim. ”
Heh! That’s hilarious. I thought the answer is obvious. In fact the issue of why Free Market Justice Warriors state, repeat, and echo that which is demonstrably false has been studied for over 30 years. There are scholarly books on the subject. A very comprehensive explanation is in the book “Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives.”

Anonymoose

The case has been settled in that the court threw it out. There is no case unless a new one is filed.

Any evidence you can cite for that?

joe - the non climate scientist

Anonymoose March 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm
The case has been settled in that the court threw it out. There is no case unless a new one is filed.
That has not happened.

scraft1

Anonymoose – you can say it all you want. The problem is that there is no corroboration other than from folks on this blog who cite no evidence.

Tom Halla

Interesting review of the court presentation. A real problem, though, is that the court system does not deal with “expert” or scientific testimony well. A good deal of highly dubious evidence is allowed largely because the lawyers involved have no knowledge of the field.
An off topic example was the McMartin Preschool case, and the cases involving “recovered memory”. Originally “theraputic” interviewing techniques were converted into purportedly “forensic” tools, without ever having been tested to check if the interviewees were actually describing reality. A good number of people were convicted on evidence that proved to be fantasy.

joe - the non climate scientist

Off topic – but repressed memory is a joke.
A very good example is from personal experience – I was 17 or 18 years old at the time, was at a family gathering and telling the story to my 10 year old step sister about a canoe trip where she almost drowned when she was 3 years old, with lots of gory details. I was embellishing the story quite liberally about an event that never occurred. Yet the she remember almost every detail about the event that never happened.

BCBill

Court cases based on false repressed memories and false accusations of Satanic cults destroyed thousands of lives. The news media were delighted to help inflame the hysteria but as usual played innocent when the multidinous errors were exposed. The regular recurrence of cases of mass hysteria is a fascinating topic very much relevant to AGW.

Tom Halla

Not a joke, but an atrocity.

jorgekafkazar

The McMartin Preschool case was largely based on “play therapy” under the ministrations of one ‘therapist.’ Play is a hypnotic state and the results derived from it were similar to unscrupulous and incompetent “repressed memory” testimony derived from hypnosis of adults.

Javert Chip

Psychology has never been a science; is not now a science, and never will be a science. It is simply an observational activity (somewhat like scoring a baseball game).
I’m not exactly where if fits, but somewhere between astrology & alchemy. However, it does make for funny reading whenever a psychologist (Lewandowsky comes to mind…) tries to dip a highly uneducated toe in a real scientific discussion.

texasjimbrock

As a retired lawyer I was dumbfounded and disgusted at the acts of the prosecutors in the McMartin case. They ruined the lives of several individuals based on testimony that any cogent person would have dismissed with a laugh.

jorgekafkazar

I didn’t understand what was happening during the McMartin trial until I saw a news photo of a member of the prosecution team. Suddenly, it was clear. The case was mishandled at every level and justice was not served. IIRR, a new D.A. took one look at the evidence and (too late) dropped all the remaining charges.

Javert Chip

Bill Clinton’s attorney General, Janet Reno, had a significant role in this legal fiasco,

“I didn’t understand what was happening during the McMartin trial until I saw a news photo of a member of the prosecution team. Suddenly, it was clear. The case was mishandled at every level and justice was not served. IIRR, a new D.A. took one look at the evidence and (too late) dropped all the remaining charges.”
You recalled well. However, it was the original (i.e., first) D.A. who refused to prosecute the victims and he refused loudly and with great disgust, stating there was not enough evidence against the victims to prosecute. The state then went shopping for a country D.A. to prosecute the victims, and found one. The victims later sued, and one of the victims is still suing— the county is delaying that tort litigating until the victim dies.

“They ruined the lives of several individuals based on testimony that any cogent person would have dismissed with a laugh.”
I still correspond with one of the victims. He is still suing California and also Las Angeles County. He is still seeking justice for what was done to him and the other victims.
None of this of course has anything to do with the fact that the world’s top five fossil fuel corporations stated in front of a judge that they agree with the world’s scientists about human-caused climate change.

“… because the lawyers involved have no knowledge of the field.”
Er, the lawyers involves have an excellent understanding of the science involved. In fact the lawyers for Chevron correctly stated the physics involved. In fact Chevron’s very first statement to the court was that they agree with the world’s scientists on the issue.

Tom Halla

The lawyers for San Francisco and Oakland do not show such knowledge, as was the case with almost everyone involved in the McMartin Preschool case, on both the prosecution and defense sides.

RHS

I don’t disagree with the section ‘Whats wrong with the Chevron Presentation’. I will say, it isn’t wise to present all the cards at once. I think they presented enough to get the job done and I’m sure they have plenty of more information at beckon call when it is needed.

gnomish

beckon call is an eggcorn.
usually utteredy by individuals pretending to be better read than they really are- an eggcorn is born when a person tries to sound literate but has no acquaintance with the written word.
yes, you should be marched into an oven for that.

Bryan A

Not so sure about that gnomish, I just had my BaconCall

Pop Piasa

Kool! Gramer lessens!

RHS

Yes, gnomish, because being pedantic on grammar is the whole point of being able to express one’s opinion, ain’t it?

BCBill

How about a bacon call? “They have plenty more information at bacon call whenever it is needed.” I was called by bacon to lunch today.

gnomish

well it’s a doggie dog world, mr rhs. if that gets your gander up, try some duck tape.
if your gramma doesn’t pass mustard, your diction gets nipped in the butt. call the amber lamps.
man… too much fun…

PiperPaul

But it’s a good eggcorn, since both words elude to the meaning the writer is looking for.
Beck: a gesture requesting attention, such as a nod or wave.
Call: a cry made as a summons or to attract someone’s attention.

Pop Piasa

Check.PP. It’s technically just a misspelling, per Britannica. Glass house principal applies here and paybacks are a bitch, if I recall from my working years.

gnomish

from the ‘target environment too rich’ department:
yes, piper paul- such speech eludes meaningfulness, though i suspect you were alluding to the opposite meaning, right?
maybe the real whinging is about having to learn a new word.
it’s always mirth provoking to force a dummy to the dictionary – does untold damage their sulfur steam.

Leo Smith

beck and call. This text to speech is a swine when it comes to homonyms innit?

gnomish

this was no ad homonym.

Pop Piasa

Maybe they call these corneggs because they remind you of Homer and Jethro songs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_and_Jethro

Javert Chip

I’m not sure what’s worse: having something called gnomish blow the whistle on a typo or spell-check SNAFU, or having something called gnomish explain how this activity will cure cancer and end world hunger.
We’ve all had see-check gotchas; material errors are usually caught & corrected by the comment’s author.

Javert Chip

see-check = spell-check

Pop Piasa

Eggcorns, corneggs, cornnuts, what have ya.

But one never knows if the evidence you’ve presented is enough – that’s why you hit them with everything but the kitchen sink. There is nothing to be gained by what they did.

texasjimbrock

Lawyers litigate to win. They avoid getting too far from the case at hand. As I see it, they did not have any reason to litigate the science and get into the swamp.

“As I see it, they did not have any reason to litigate the science and get into the swamp.”
Only lunatics litigate against the laws of physics. Chevron is not run by lunatics, on the whole.

jorgekafkazar

I believe Chevron may have dug a deep hole for themselves by not taking the side of skeptics early on.

“I believe Chevron may have dug a deep hole for themselves by not taking the side of skeptics early on.”
Er, Chevron stated its defense by taking the side of the skeptics (i.e., the world’s scientists). Chevron agrees with the world-wide scientific consensus and the very first thing Chevron’s lawyers did was to state they agree.

Roger Knights

“Glass house principal applies here”
I assume you were being facetious.

gnomish
gnomish
Philip Mulholland

No one ever gets it write.

GoatGuy

You know what I think is deeply amusing?
It is the observation that the current generation of grassroots activists seem to have lost (or never achieved) enough computer expertise (with huge irony there) to use computer-printed signage. We’re back to the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s hand-written placards.
Now, there’s a good sense of art: the placards aren’t entirely bunkum. They’re tastefully done. And maybe in the double irony of the day, they’re reverting back to hand-drawn because it is CHEAP. You know, drop in to The Art Shop, pick up a piece of 30 × 30 foamboard, a stick (they have these), some duct tape and a couple of wide-variety magic markers. Then draw.
$10 bucks or less.
It costs way more do “do a sign right”.
And who knows how large-format printing works, anyway?
I’m deeply amused.
There’s hope yet for the next generation coming up.
Its not all about 3-d printers, Mars missions, cold fusion, green magic and zombie apocalypses.
Not entirely.
And very much like the activists of the 1960s, they’re pretty good with slogans, and not understanding that they’re prefect tools for the Overlords who wish to use their vigor as their pölïtical knife. Just keep the ganja flowing.
GoatGuy

usurbrain

I have always had the impression that fancy printed signage meant that someone else was paying for this expensive art craft and professionally printed signage making the demonstration look like what most of them are today – bought and paid for along with the paid protesters – phony demonstrations. Recently, the organizers (benefactors, employers, etc.) realized that printed signs got this tag and thus they now have a paid crew making “home-made” looking signs. You can tell this by the use of the same few colors and similar lettering, fonts, and general lack of randomness.

A good summary of the legal strategy of Chevron (and by extension to other defendants). I do think the Happer, Koonin and Lindzen submission addressed most ot the omissions noted above. It is unclear what consideration the court will give, and what will be the effect regarding the rulings that come down.
https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/cal-climate-tutorial-the-meat/

“A good summary of the legal strategy of Chevron (and by extension to other defendants).”
The defendants strategy so far is to agree with all of the world’s geophysicists on the subject. They are once again publicly stating they agree with the scientific consensus, while privately funding disinformation. This is the same strategy they have used elsewhere.

If they’d attacked the IPCC, it would have made their job harder. By agreeing with the IPCC, they forced their opponents to argue that the IPCC was non credible. Which was critical since basically the evidence of their conspiracy was a series of documents summarizing what the IPCC was publishing at the time.
A lawyer’s job is to win cases for his/her client. It’s not to ensure that the truth comes out. People forget this. Truth is supposed to be a byproduct of the adversarial presentations of the attorneys as they try to convince the finders of fact to support their clients.
The IPCC is seen as the authority on climate change (wrongly IMHO). There literally is nothing left to argue about. The activists cannot say that the IPCC was keeping their info secret. The activists cannot argue that the IPCC is soft-pedalling climate change. And the bond issues of the plaintifs skewer their claim that it was obvious there were real dangers imminent.
Had they impeached the IPCC, the lawyers would have introduced a new controversy about the veracity of the IPCC. By not doing that, they eliminated a significant excuse to take the case to trial.
It’s unsatisfying, but it’s the way things work. The CAGW cult is going to die slowly of emphysema after a prolonged illness that has them lingering on their deathbed for years. They are not dying quickly at the hands of a lawyer skewering them in the heart with a well argued brief.

They didn’t support the IPCC – they only showed that the IPCC has uncertainty about global warming, which the plaintiffs argued against in their “consensus” claim. Demonstrating incompetence by the IPCC would not undercut their claims about it being confused.

Alan Tomalty

Yes but that slow death is gonna cost all of us a hell of a lot of money

Tsk Tsk

Socialism/Communism haven’t died. I wouldn’t get your hopes up about this in our lifetimes.

” By agreeing with the IPCC, they forced their opponents to argue that the IPCC was non credible.”
Er, no.

Jeanparisot

Chevron’s graphic showing “The Greenhouse Effect,” although taken from IPCC AR4, is more appropriate for a middle-school science class than a briefing before a federal district judge.
You don’t know many judges do you.

Bruce Cobb

All that’s missing is sunglasses on the sun with a smiley face, and crazy eyes on the bouncing arrows who are saying “wheeee!”.

DWR54

The graphic is from the AR4 FAQ for WG1. It’s designed to provide a simplistic overview of how the greenhouse effect works for journalists and the like.

Or lawyers who may have to explain it.

Alan Tomalty

That judge deserves better. He has an Engineering degree. As far as I know if it is from a reputable university you still cant buy one. Yoi have to earn it.

A lawyer lies, cheats, omits, twists and shades to get his client off? It’s their job.
There was never going to be any “science” in this procedure. So what?
What is interesting is that the cities suing have admitted that they criminally concealed what they believe to be a threat when they issued long term debt instruments without disclosing the city was under threat of climate change. It’s on the record now and there’s no taking it back.

GoatGuy

Kind of an interesting thought there, BobDog.
I like it.
Opens a bigger can of worms whilst closing a smaller one.
GoatGuy

RobDawg,
I believe this is called being caught “on the horns of a dilemma”. Either they lied to the Bondholders, or they lied to the Court – it would seem impossible to have it both ways. However, while the court can punish them in some ways, the Bondholders also can sue, and the SEC can hammer them as well – might be interesting to see if there are some skeptics who hold such bonds, and who now believe those bonds are less valuable because of the city’s “false statements”…

“There was never going to be any science in this procedure. So what?”
Er, but Chevron correctly stated the science and then stated they agree with it. Huh. How do you explain that?

Chevron’s arrorney is hired to win the lawsuit, not the climate wars. The Happer Koonin Lindzen amicus brief and the Monckton amicus breif were aimed at winning the climate wars.
Btw, for those interested, today Roy Spencer has posted Moncktons reply to Roy’s critical comment here on Mockton’s post.

The link is here
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2018/03/lord-monckton-responds/#comments
Hopefully it can be mirrored here so those for and against Monckton’s paper can recommence battle
tonyb

DWR54

ristvan

Chevron’s arrorney is hired to win the lawsuit, not the climate wars.

SF Examiner is reporting that Chevron’s lawyer stated at the tutorial that Chevron ““accepts the consensus of the scientific community” that climate change is real and is caused primarily by human activity. “That has been Chevron’s position for a decade,” attorney Theodore Boutrous told U.S. District Judge William Alsup.” http://www.sfexaminer.com/chevron-sf-oakland-present-climate-change-tutorial-u-s-judge/
Are we to believe that Chevron started preparing for this case a decade ago? Is it not more likely that Chevron, and as far as I can tell judging from their various on-line ‘position statements’, all the other defendants in this case do not seriously doubt the scientific consensus view on climate change and its causes?

DWR54

Furthermore, how on earth could these defence teams mount a reasonable case against the AGW consensus science, as presented by the IPCC, when, as far as I can see, every one of their web sites already contain position statements openly accepting it? Have done for years in most cases.
This was never going to be a trial of the IPCC’s basic AGW physical science basis, because the defendants have all already openly conceded that they accept it. The defence lawyers concerned are smart enough to know that.

michel

If you read the motion for dismissal, you will see that the case for the defence does not depend on arguments about whether human emissions are causing global warming.
The simple and legally devastating riposte is to agree that they are, but to show that there is no valid prosecution case stemming from it, and that in fact there are fatal deficiencies in the complaint as filed.
If you read the motion for dismissal carefully you will conclude there is a real case for it. There must be a reasonable chance that there will be a ruling to dismiss. It has not happened yet, contrary to the inexplicable reports that it has, but when there is a ruling on it, it might be for dismissal.

Pop Piasa

I take it this means we’ll never see any checks from big oil for our efforts as skeptics. ((:))

Bryan A

That is unfortunately the case, but if you are good and eat all your Brussels sprouts perhaps they will continue to sell their products in your city/town/village/berg/hamlet

Pop Piasa

BryanA, with enough brussels sprouts we can all supply our own fuel. Wouldn’t it be great if airliners had seats that extracted H2S and fed it to the jet engines? The peanuts might yield an extra little boost.

JBom

Agnosticism is not a principle of adjudication.

John Bell

After they picketed the hearing, they got in their SUVs and drove home and turned on the heat as it was a rather chilly day.

Bill Murphy

Exactly! The irony of these snowflakes dressed in sweaters, jackets and scarves protesting AGW is hilarious. Although the sign in the background hits home: “Our Generation…Our choice.” If they want to shiver in the cold and dark in 40 years, I’m increasingly inclined to let them have at it. I likely won’t be here. True social justice would be for a few of these protesters to end up in the hospital with pneumonia so they can figure out exactly what they are advocating.

Pop Piasa

…And all for nothing, it seems after the satellite record only shows ENSO influence over the past two decades and the models have diverged further from reality.
The juggernaut is in motion and has gained momentum over 8+ years of progressive socialist propaganda campaigns by the media.
It is difficult to free those who believe they should be imprisoned.

It would have been better if they qualified and quantified what the controversy is all about. There are far too many levels of indirection and misrepresentation between the controversy and what’s actually controversial all designed to obfuscate the underlying science. The entire controversy can be distilled down to the magnitude of a single metric called the climate sensitivity factor whose value has been inappropriately set in stone based on a conflict of interest.
The IPCC asserts it to be about 0.8C per W/m^2 with about 50% uncertainty, or between 0.4C and 1.2C per W/m^2, while the skeptics demonstrate sensitivity factors between about 0.2C and 0.3C per W/m^2 or about 0.25C per W/m^2 with about 20% uncertainty where the upper bound of the skeptics value doesn’t even overlap with the lower bound presumed by the IPCC and its self serving consensus and whose only initial requirement was that it be large enough to justify the formation of the IPCC and UNFCCC.
Everything else that’s deemed to be controversial becomes moot once this deterministic metric actually becomes settled. The laws of physics trivially set this to be near that of an ideal BB at an average temperature of 255K or that of an ideal BB at the average surface temperature of about 288K. The sensitivity of an emitting body is given EXACTLY by 1/(4eoT^3), where e is the emissivity, which for an ideal BB is 1.0 and o is the SB constant resulting in an approximate range dictated by the physics of between about 0.18 K and .27 K per W/m^2 which is close to the middle of the skeptics range. Note the 1/T^3 dependence of the sensitivity on the temperature!
The reasons this MUST be at least approximately true is that all Joules do the same amount of work to warm the surface, nothing in physics can change the exponent in the T^4 relationship between temperature and emissions as dictated by the SB Law, nothing in non relativistic physics can modify the SB constant which is a fundamental constant of nature and that in the steady state, any increase in emissions must be offset by an equal increase in power arriving at the surface.
The only possible way to modify this relationship is to set the effective emissivity less than 1 making the emitter ‘gray’, but the result must be consistent with the data. The highest average sensitivity that can be supported with the laws of physics is about 0.30 K per W/m^2 (T=288K, e=(255/288)^4=0.62) and which is still below the IPCC’s lower bound.
I challenge anyone who accepts the IPCC as the authority to explain what laws of physics either override the T^4 relationship between temperature and emissions, change the value of the SB constant, result in an emissivity that is inconsistent with the data or allow the surface to emit more energy that it’s receiving.

Pop Piasa

I’ve found that discussing the climate sensitivity uncertainty issue ends the discussion with most climate zealots, and they start appealing to authority or questioning my concern for my progeny. The icing on the cake is mentioning the disparity between the rise of human emissions and the concentration of CO2, but then pointing out that CO2 is no match for H2O as a greenhouse gas.

“I’ve found that discussing the climate sensitivity uncertainty issue en….”
The scientific consensus is that +3.1c is the median, with 0.6c error bars. As Chevron stated, even the lowest estimate is still disastrous for human civilization.

“… but then pointing out that CO2 is no match for H2O as a greenhouse gas.”
Indeed you are absolutely right, for longevity and damage to life on Earth and civilization H2O is no where near as damaging as CO2. H2O stays in the atmosphere about three days, while CO2 stays in the atmosphere for about 800 years.

Tom Halla

Your “800 year” claim for CO2 is inconsistent with studies relating to open air atomic testing, and the half-life residence of the added C14.

Javert Chip

The current legal battle focuses on the existence/non-existance of an alleged conspiracy.
The quality, or lack thereof, of climate science is not the central issue at this point in this case.

The only thing that comes close to being conspiratorial is the IPCC and its conflict of interest driven ‘consensus’, where a substantial effect from CO2 emissions is required in order to justify the continued existence of the IPCC and UNFCCC. To the extent that Chevron accepts the IPCC’s broken science and faulty conclusions, they are at least enabling a conspiracy.

“The only thing that comes close to being conspiratorial is the IPCC and its conflict of interest driven consensus….”
Er, the IPCC reported on the world-wide scientific consensus: the IPCC had and has nothing to do with building that consensus— consensus was reached among the world’s experts more than 60 years ago, long before the IPCC was formed.

“It would have been better if they qualified and quantified what the controversy is all about.”
Er, they did. Chevron stated there is no controversy regarding the world-wide scientific consensus on the science; they reject blame for the staggering damage human-caused climate change has caused and is causing. (By the way, so did and does ExxonMobil.)

nn

They hedged their bet, the bats are loose in the belfry, and they see red, black, money.

Pop Piasa

Plus, their tactics were yellow to begin with.

willhaas

If the demonstrators in the photo really felt that the burning of fossil fuels was bad then they would have stopped making use of goods and services that make use of fossil fuels. In the photo they are all wearing clothes that most likely were transported by truck, ship, or airplane that depended on the use of fossil fuels. They are also most probably guilty of eating food that was transported by truck. It is their money that has been keeping the fossil fuel companies in business. It is only because of their support that the fossil fuel companies even exist.

Well, the judge does have the tutorials and time to study them. We can hope they are more science oriented than Chevron’s approach i.e. that they strike at the endangerment finding.

“Well, the judge does have the tutorials and time to study them. We can hope they are more science oriented than Chevron’s approach….”
Chevron correctly stated the science; Chevron agrees with the world’s experts.

michel

This is really bad. For the third story in a row WUWT is repeating the entirely false claim that Judge Alsup has made a ruling and dismissed part of the case.
This simply has not happened. It is very easy to verify that it has not happened. Please stop repeating this. Or alternatively, in the event I am wrong, just put up a link to, or a transcript of, the ruling.
One or the other!

DWR54

And yesterday this site hosted a post by a guy claiming that Australia had warmed ‘not one whit’ since 1979, citing as evidence a data set that showed statistically significant warming in Australia since 1979! Standards indeed are slipping. Come on WUWT, you can do better!

“Come on WUWT, you can do better!”
… but only if WUWT suddenly becomes honest. Heh. Good luck with that.
[???? .mod]

The quotes of the judge certainly indicated that he found the core claim by he plaintiffs to be incorrect. To me, that indicates a dismissil of their core claim. I think the English language supports that notion, unless you can demonstrate why it does not.

In English, dismissing the case has a specific meaning, and it isn’t that some journalists reported that the judge made a critical report. Post-mortem is more Latin, but has a specific meaning too.

michel

There is a difference between the judge expressing a view and him making a formal ruling. He may have said in dialog with attorneys that he found the conspiracy claims implausible or un-evidenced. But that is not a ruling and has no legal force. A formal dismissal will be posted as a judgment or ruling.
There has been no dismissal and no such ruling. Reports that there have been are simply false.
An up to date summary with links will be found here, its updated as formal documents come out, and its all downloadable:
http://climatecasechart.com/case/people-state-california-v-bp-plc-oakland/
There really has been no dismissal.

It’s “bizarro world”

scraft1

yep

ResourceGuy

It’s not clear to me that the judge or the court saw and examined the stark differences between the IPCC political summary vs the science summary. I think that’s important.

Rud Istvan

To the climate wars yes. To this lawsuit, no.

Javert Chip

Which all due respect to the 97%+ of us (including me) who normally comment on WUWT, WE ARE NOT LAWYERS AND WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE TECHNICAL LANGUAGE OF THE COURT. It’s important to understand when you’ve crossed the line defining your “expertise”.
Scientists get justifiably frustrated when laymen make this same mistake, yet several commenters on this site are making the same generic mistake regarding legal language & processes.

jaymam

Can anyone find the Fake News CO2 illustration that Myles Allen used? I have checked all the PDFs at the given link.
“Professor Myles Allen was illustrating how much Co2 was now in the atmosphere when the judge rebuked him for using a misleading illustration that made the atmosphere appear to have more than 400 parts per million of Co2.
“It’s 400 parts per million but you make it look like it’s 10,000 part per million,” he said.
Professor Allen was forced to admit his slide was misleading. “Your honor is quite right,” he agreed.”

“Can anyone find the Fake News CO2 illustration that Myles Allen used?”
Yeah, and after that, who can find evidence Santa Claus exists?

Patrick MJD

“David Rice March 25, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Yeah, and after that, who can find evidence Santa Claus exists?”
Well, if you want to use his alt-name, St. Nick, then yes he did!

ResourceGuy

This is how a lot of lawsuits go with the body of right answers and appropriate technical perspectives being severely limited and clouded by the shoehorning process and clouding by legal teams even before getting to the legal debate itself with the bad actors on the other side. The outcomes of those cases can easily end badly and it makes you wonder just how far off the judge strays from reasonable and mainstream assessment….in the interest of time of course and summarization.

Big Iron John

Nick Stokes? Was Anthony Watt’s posting on WUWT fake news, or did you just miss it?
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/03/21/boom-federal-judge-dismisses-claim-of-a-conspiracy-to-suppress-global-warming-science/

“Was Anthony Watt’s posting on WUWT fake news”
Well, read the text. All it says is that
“U.S. District Judge William Alsup said, according to journalists who attended the hearing.

Alsup said plaintiffs “shows nothing of the sort” regarding some sort of conspiracy against science, Conservative journalist Phelim McAleer tweeted.”

So we have a third hand report from “journalists” that the judge said something negative about something. No case was dismissed.

He dismissed the idea that a conspiracy existed, sorry you don’t like it. Here’s the part you didn’t quote:
A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit dismissed a core section plaintiffs brought in the case — oil companies conspired to cover up global warming science.
Feel free to be as upset and irrelevant as you wish. #StokesKnew

“Here’s the part you didn’t quote”
That’s an opinion, by Bastasch, who wasn’t there. I quote what seems to be his claimed basis for it.
But the recent WUWT headlines
“With the dismissal of the #ExxonKnew lawsuits, climate alarmists are now in “bizarro world””
“A postmortem on the rejected #ExxonKnew case in San Francisco Federal Court”
stretch this thinly sourced claim to say that the lawsuit was dismissed. And that clearly isn’t true.

D. J. Hawkins

Not that I wish to carry water for Brother Nick, but his point is that the case is not dismissed. The judge is not allowing the claim of conspiracy. My opinion, and worth every penny you’re paying for it, is that this will prove fatal to the broader case. Time will tell.

Big Iron John

D.J. : Thanks for the clarification. But it does seem to me, that if the Judge does not allow conspiracy, then the cities really got nothing else to leverage against the oil companies. So realistically the Judge might as well just dismissed the case, since conspiracy claim WAS the case.

michel

BIJ,
One, he has not dismissed anything.
Two, their case depends on public nuisance and not conspiracy.
Its going to be a very tough case to prove, and the way to see how hard it will be is to read up a bit about public nuisance common law cases, and then to read the filing for dismissal in which all the defendants have joined.
The case, I think, has no merit, and the claim for dismissal is quite persuasive in respect of the common law concept of nuisance.
But that is what it turns on.
It does not, by the way, turn on whether there is human caused global warming. That is pretty much irrelevant. The case will turn on whether, assuming there is a human and oil role in the warming we have seen to date, that constitutes a public nuisance for which the appropriate remedy is compensation.
One of the most devastating points in the dismissal filing is the suggestion that the correct remedy for future damages is an injunction. Think about the implications of that for a few minutes.
I think its going to go down in flames, but for different reasons than people give who have not understood the legal basis of the case in common law nuisance.

Warren Blair

ExxonKnew is a different matter.
This is Municipalities v. Big Oil.
I’m certain no one has suggested this case has been dismissed.

Snarling Dolphin

Chevron is an oil company. To the extent global warming disinformation preferentially favors their product in the marketplace they are more than willing to embrace it. To this degree they are no better than and deserving of the same criticisms imposed upon big tobacco. These guys know better but in the end their thirst for profit overwhelms ethical and honest behavior. Sleep well boys.

Warren Blair

You bet!
They’re part of the problem not the solution.
CAGW robs tax-payers bigly and mostly affects the poor.
It’s no stretch to say they’re contributing to unnecessary misery from energy-poverty especially in the UK where BP has championed the insane policies of the insane left.

“CAGW robs tax-payers bigly and mostly affects the poor.”
In fact it is costing about US$360 billion dollars a year.

“… they are more than willing to embrace it.”
Yes, but privately; in public they insist they agree the world’s scientists are correct.

Snarling Dolphin

29 ripostes? This development struck a nerve did it? Tell me, who are “the world’s scientists”? Are they elected? Or appointed? Or anointed? And by whom? Are they synonymous with “all of the world’s geophysicists”? Can you point me to any link anywhere that a Chevron spokesman has unequivocally proclaimed, “Chevron agrees with the world’s scientists!” Uh, no.

“Chevron left many false and misleading claims before the court, claims that contaminate the public debate on climate change and will continue to haunt the fossil fuel industry and threaten our energy freedom unless they are faced and debunked.”
Mr. Bast,
A court of law is not the proper venue for public science education, and lawyers of oil companies are not the best persons to do science teaching. It is the responsibility of schools, universities, government agencies like EPA, NOAA, NSF, NASA; scientific organizations like NAS, AAAS, AMS, AGU; scientists and think tanks like The Heartland Institute. It is your responsibility and all of us professional and amateur scientists.

“… scientific organizations like NAS, AAAS, AMS, AGU; scientists and think tanks like The Heartland Institute”
Why did you include a church among science academies and institutions?
[??? .mod]

Chevron made the best arguments. The points you suggested make it weaker not stronger. As I have often said there isn’t one bit of the accepted science you need to deny. You can follow nice Lewis or Judith curry and question the science from the inside using the findings of the IPCC as the perfect guide to the weak points. Instead ya all engage in sun nuttery and sky dragonry and conspiratorial clap trap.
It’s getting warmer
Co2 is a ghg
It makes the planet warmer. The only question is
How much warmer in the future.
And what if anything should we do.

Harry Passfield

Hari-kiri?
After you, I insist.

“Chevron made the best arguments.”
Yes: because Chevron stated that which all of the world’s geophysicists have concluded.

hunter

Moderators,
This blog post seems to be lacking in evidence and supporting links.
Allowing this article to persist uncorrected hurts the credibility of this blog, its owner and the community of skeptics as a whole.
Please consider closely reviewing this post accordingly.

It’s an opinion piece.

“It’s an opinion piece.”
Okay, so what you are saying is that a lie is magically not a lie when you call it an opinion. I’ll let everyone on YouTube know what you wrote: they will be amazed.
[?? .mod]

“This blog post seems to be lacking in evidence and supporting links.”
You mean compared to the rest of what WUWT posts? LOL! That’s hilarious!

“… and the community of skeptics as a whole.”
Skeptics don’t read this blog.

Assuming this case will be dismissed, hopefully with prejudice, next up is the “children’s crusade” lawsuit that has been accepted to heard in district court in San Francisco. Maybe this judge will exercise his seniority to hear this case also. With these tutorials, and the time to study them, maybe even to read some past posts in WUWT ☺. This cc lawsuit is important, more important (my opinion)
than this lawsuit.

“Assuming this case will be dismissed….”
Let’s all hope not. It is vital to humanity and other life that the case be prosecuted.

“We have long argued that the full reports of the IPCC reports contain many admissions of uncertainty and doubt…”
… otherwise known as “the scientific method.” All science, and all scientists, write in terms of doubt and uncertainty: it’s their job to state they do not know that which they do not know. Sheeeish. The Free Market Justice Warrior is complaining about scientists doing science properly. Sad little snow flake is upset at the scientific method.