“Was industrialisation worth it?” – California Climate Lawsuit

William Alsup District Judge
Judge Alsup

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Californian local governments trying to sue Chevron, Exxon and other oil majors are facing some entertainingly direct questions from Judge Alsup, as he tries to determine why the plaintiffs think oil companies owe them compensation.

Climate Change Judge’s Homework: Was Industrialization Worth It?

By Kartikay Mehrotra

25 May 2018, 08:12 GMT+10

Attorneys for the cities of Oakland and San Francisco and Chevron Corp.have homework from Judge William Alsup: prepare 10-page legal analyses on whether a century of American dependence on fossil fuels was worth the global warming it caused.

We needed oil and fossil fuels to get from 1859 to the present,” said Alsup, 72, who hosted a five-hour climate-change tutorial in March. “Yes, that’s causing global warming. But against that negative, we need to weigh-in the larger benefits that have flowed from the use of fossil fuels. It’s been a huge, huge benefit.”

You’re asking for billions of dollars for something that hasn’t happened yet,” said Alsup during a back-and-forth with plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Berman. “We’re trying to predict how bad global warming will be in 75 years.”

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-24/climate-change-judge-s-homework-was-industrialization-worth-it

Oil is not tobacco. Whatever harm you think oil does to the world, oil also delivers a lot of benefits. Deep greens might believe the world would be better without fossil fuels – but I doubt many normal people would agree with them.

Green anti-fracking protestor
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Tom Halla
May 25, 2018 8:10 pm

Who cares that kerosene from petroleum “saved the whales”?
The climate lawsuits are pure lawfare shakedown, and seek a True Believer judge who will allow the enterprize to continue.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2018 8:11 pm

What, pray tell, did I do to invoke moderation?
(Sometimes comments just get stuck in Neverland) MOD

Bloke down the pub
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2018 2:51 am

Have the EU’s new GPDR data regulations been getting in the way? They certainly stopped me from getting on to twitter yesterday.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2018 12:16 pm

Bloke down the pub
You mean GPDR is useful for something?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 27, 2018 12:41 am

“Bloke down the pub May 26, 2018 at 2:51 am”
I have just had to go through that “compliance” testing, and I work for an Australian, registered, company!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2018 3:59 pm

We have in Judge Alsup a rational person asking rational questions.
The death of CAGW.

Susan Howard
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 27, 2018 7:13 am

He is old enough to have lived through a few climate variations. That probably helps.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 27, 2018 8:08 pm

And this judge is already acknowledging AGW.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Jackie Pratt
May 27, 2018 11:01 pm

How much AGW is he acknowledging, Jackie?

May 25, 2018 8:11 pm

What has Industrialization ever done for us…..
Well, plenty really…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7HmhrgTuQ

Gerald Machnee
May 25, 2018 8:15 pm

What I have not seen is anyone asking a point blank question: Show me measurements of how much warming CO2 has caused. Show me how you are measuring it.

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
May 26, 2018 5:14 am

How about this, all based on data from respectable sources. Spot the riveting non-correlation on exaggerated axes over several periods, and the correlation since 1960 on similar scales. Not a lot.
Needs lot of phoney amplification by water vapour in the CO2’ish IPCC models to make their predictions that then exaggerate natural reality. Surprise!.
QUESTION For IPCC “Experts” and Real Climate Scientists: if warming from CO2 is amplified by water vapour, as it has to be to have any significant effect in models, why doesn’t the climate run away when an interglacial occurs. Hasn’t happened in any of thiose I see in the record, certainly n NOT the last nine or so while we have been around in various formats. Note that CO2 increases as an effect not a cause at interglacial warming, but certainly tracks the 12 degree rise in the ice core measurements. Yet the warming effect terminates itself at the peak interglacial we are now leaving, most likely by increased cloud formation, as well as decreasing ice albedo as it retreats behind the polar circles? Negative feedback from clouds, as has supposedly worked in Gaia since before hom sap. Why would that change for Al Gore? If you can explain why models assume the opposite of what is supposed to happen in the natural ice age cycles, I welcome the insight.comment image?dl=0

Dave Fair
Reply to  brianrlcatt
May 26, 2018 4:09 pm

If you tune your model to a temperature upswing (using aerosol manipulations for hindcasts), the IPCC AR5 is forced to reduce your near-term “projections” ad hock. Note that the IPCC’s excuse for not adjusting longer, out-year “hot” projections is “uncertainty” in most assumptions. Throw in RCP8.5 and alarmists get a bunch of great headlines.
IPCC climate models are not sufficient for us to fundamentally alter our society, economy and energy systems. In layman’s terms: IPCC climate models are bunk.

Reply to  brianrlcatt
May 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Statistics does not involve graphing CO2 and overlaying global mean temperature. It works by graphing CO2 against global mean temperature. X-axis is CO2. Y-axis is global mean temperature. Now go graph that. The plot is random noise, which settles the correlation.

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
May 26, 2018 12:10 pm

Someone needs to point out to the judge that a previous round of warming occurred between 1915 to 1947 which almost equals the current, more recent period of warming.. That means that some portion of the current warming has to be naturally derived. So what happens when the current natural warming turns to natural cooling? And hows does that affect the prediction for supposedly dangerous future warming?

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
May 27, 2018 4:44 pm

Plaintiffs and defendants all agreed that CO2 causes global warming. So that question has been asked and answered. It is no longer at issue.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RickWill
May 27, 2018 5:13 pm

By how much, Rick?

Reply to  RickWill
May 27, 2018 6:50 pm

By how much, Rick?

Whatever the IPCC say it is and will be. The IPCC was accepted by both parties as the gold standard and whatever is stated in the AR5 fairytale was unquestioned by both parties. The defendants hyped the uncertainty in AR5 but those uncertainties were extracted from AR5. Even if the judge had a different view there is no point disputing what is in AR5.
The USA at least has leadership that questions the fairytale. Russia has a similar level of leadership. Leadership in all other countries appear to accept the gospel. Business leaders are likely to harm their businesses if they do not support the view that burning fossils causes global warming.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RickWill
May 27, 2018 11:00 pm

What, specifically, did the IPCC say in AR5 what the SLR will be, RickWill? [I know, but do you?]

Reply to  RickWill
May 27, 2018 11:24 pm

What, specifically, did the IPCC say in AR5 what the SLR will be, RickWill?

I gave up reading fairytales when my children could read – that was quite a few years before AR5.
If you really want to know what was presented to the court the submissions can be found here:

[I know, but do you?]</blockqoute?
So you still read fairytales!

Reply to  RickWill
May 28, 2018 8:40 am

RickWill : WOW ! …………THANKS for ALL that information !
It is an incredible tangle of cross-purposes if ever I saw one AND HOW
THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE A DECISION based on all that will be
a mystery or a miracle !
THE FACT that the Oil Companies have CONCEDED “that CO2 causes global warming”
seems to have resolved the issue of any debate about the validity of the “science” .
I guess they could debate ” about the extent of the warming” but it seems a forlorn hope.
So it looks as though Scott Pruitt ( Administrator of the EPA ) is “our” best chance !

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
May 28, 2018 8:30 am

I suspect the defendants’ attornies are saying, “If CO2 from burning fossil fuels is causing warming, so what? It is a moot point since you can show no actual damages, and only speculative future damages. Come back when you can prove something, and then we’ll argue about responsibility.”
You don’t want a ruling on AGW if you can avoid one. You can never predict how a judge may rule, even if it seems obvious to you. Winning the suit on other grounds, but having a decision that includes a positive finding of AGW, would only open the door to many other lawsuits.

Alan Tomalty
May 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Why wasn’t this lawsuit thrown out at the pretrial stage? This is the most ludicrous lawsuit since the one where a grownup child was suing his parents for support. Lawsuits like this have no basis and no right to waste precious court and judicial resources. The judge should simply point out to the plantiffs that if they dont want to use the products of fossil fuels, Exxon and the other oil companies will be happy to cut them off and also to point out that the amount of fossil fuels that the cities used since 1985 to 2018 is such a small amount of possible global warming that maybe he could award damages of 1$ and then laugh the plaintiffs out of court.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 25, 2018 8:59 pm

I’m not a lawyer, but…
This judge seems to be bending over backward soliciting cogent on-the-record responses from all parties. Seems like the judge is doing more than necessary to defend his fact-findingl.
My understand is District judges are assumed to focus on finding of fact, appellate judges focus on process or interpretation of law (obviously extreme situations may alter this somewhat).

Eric Stevens
Reply to  Javert Chip
May 25, 2018 9:50 pm

The reason that Apelate judge focus on process or interpretation of law is that all they are doing is examining whether or not the District Judge got the law right. The assumption is that all parties presented all the facts and there are no new facts to be considered. If the Apelate Court judges are really unhappy they may be able to order a new trial in the District Court.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Javert Chip
May 26, 2018 4:12 pm

The cities brought forward speculation; the judge is searching for facts.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Javert Chip
May 26, 2018 4:13 pm

Rud, your opinion?

J Mac
Reply to  Javert Chip
May 27, 2018 5:27 pm

Re: David Fair: “The cities brought forward speculation; the judge is searching for facts.”

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 26, 2018 12:13 am

You need to read the filings in the case. The case is being brought under the common law of public nuisance. The public nuisance has supposedly been caused by the defendants. The plaintiffs are asking for the remedy of compensation for the costs they have incurred as a result of this creation of the public nuisance.
Whether or not any one individual or even plaintiff uses the products whose supply has led to the nuisance is, legally, immaterial. The comparison to the tobacco suits is informative. There was one case in which various public bodies sued, on the grounds that they had incurred health costs in caring for those affected. It would not have been a defense by the defendants to say that people had a choice about smoking.
Read the filings. It is the only way to understand what is going on here. I think a dismissal is quite likely, but not on the grounds you argue. There are a number of quite decisive arguments in the filing for dismissal, and in the amicus briefs.
Perhaps the most decisive is that common law nuisance enables compensation for injuries or nuisances that have actually occurred. It does not cover ones that are forecast. The remedy for ones that are forecast is an injunction. But this is a very risky proceeding.
The plaintiffs could indeed ask for an injunction, ie cease and desist from the supply of oil and gas, and could perhaps get one. But their problem then would be that if it were later found to be unjustified, they would have made themselves liable for damages on a truly catastrophic scale. The injunction is a temporary stay, while the merits of a case are litigated. But it is the common law remedy for future damage from continuing conduct.
The central weakness at the heart of this case, though there are several more which are also quite devastating and mentioned in the filings, is this. The suit wants the damaging activity to continue, but with a levy on the nuisance maker to be paid to the plaintiffs. This is internally contradictory.
If human civilsation is at risk from the defendants’ activity, they should be made to stop it, not encouraged to continue. Are we really saying its OK to destroy human civilisation and the California and New York coastal cities as long as you pay CA and NY as you do it?

Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 1:15 am

Good points, but it was argued people had a choice to smoke, it was successfully argued addiction took that choice away especially before warning labels. Voluntary costs(health care) should never be allowed as a basis for suits. Otherwise what you argue iis that if I or society chooses to pay for something I /we get to control it. I paid your newspaper bill can I now tell the newspaper what is appropriate to print or you what you can read?
Why can’t the city be sued for using fossil fuels since they admit they are a nuisance? I would love an injunction banning the selling of fossil fuels it would be fun to watch the libs argue against it.

richard verney
Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 1:48 am

It is not about choice. It is about a cost/benefit analysis. One has only suffered loss if the adverse consequences outweigh the positive consequences.
Let us assume that tobacco gives rise to a risk of cancer, but its uses in all other respects completely stops the ageing process.
A chap at 18 takes up smoking and dies of lung cancer at age 73. Apart from the cancer his body is in all respects precisely the same as it was when he was 18, no ageing whatsoever, The man has lived his entire adult life in the physical condition of his prime with the same strength, endurance, s€xual prowess, stamina, good looks etc that he had at 18, but contracted cancer at age 71 and died 2 years later.
Some would say that they would prefer that sort of lifestyle. To be able to do everything that one could do in one’s youth throughout the entirety of your life. For sure, the tobacco eventually caused the cancer, which cut down the life by 2 to 3 years, but were the good consequences of tobacco use worth it?
One has to look at all things that flow from the use of fossil fuels both the good and the ugly and it is only if the ugly exceeds the good that loss and damage have been sustained.

Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 7:22 am

Added to that, Richard, is to what extent did human activity contribute to any warming compared to other “forcing” coefficients in the equations/models?
Secondly, the judge has made a good point about predicting potential “damages” 75 years in advance for plaintiffs compensation..I think he is telegraphing something. ANyone else agree?
Gums sends..

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 8:30 am

I hope the judge enjoins the sale of petroleum based products in California starting next Tuesday. Have fun walking to work guys. You too Judge.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 11:54 am

A clever judge might have asked the plaintiffs how they arrived at the courthouse, and if they arrived with the aid of a fossil fuel burning vehicle (which includes electric cars, BTW) or by any means except walking or on horseback, they must all immediately walk the distance from their homes to the courthouse before any more of their motions or arguments will be heard.

Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 12:13 pm


Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 12:42 pm

richard verney
You have just made me feel positive, for the first time, about my father’s ‘premature’ death at 71.
He was a smoker and a drinker, but was also a 50’s/60’s sporting celebrity in the Far East. He rubbed shoulders with Royalty, and enjoyed the company of sporting legends and movie stars.
In his 40’s he had a ‘six pack’ before our current generations knew what the phenomenon was, and he never went near a gym, it was entirely natural.
He died of cardiac arrest as he drove out the hospital, where he had a blood test before going in for a valve replacement.
I was always a bit despondent that he didn’t live longer, but you have put it in perspective.
My uncle said to me at the time “your Dad couldn’t have suffered being an invalid”.
My old man happily surrendered a few years of declining health for a lifetime of pleasure.
Thank you.

May 25, 2018 8:28 pm

I have the old James Burke series of Connections 1-3. In them he describes many advancements and inventions based on advances in chemistry from the multitude of uses of coal and oil. These videos probably wouldn’t be shown today in any classroom or on educational television.
The connections were sometimes tenuous but most of the episodes were informative and entertaining.
The very first episode tackles what you would have to have and know in order to survive the total loss of electricity and other energy sources and had to rely on animal power for survival. Being Amish would help.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  eeyore
May 27, 2018 12:24 pm

I enjoyed those shows along with his previous series “The day the universe changed ” James Burke has an interesting way of looking at things.

Andre Lauzon
May 25, 2018 8:28 pm

and lights, lights everywhere………. now I can’t see the stars. Can I sue the Hydro Electric Co.?

Clay Sanborn
May 25, 2018 8:38 pm

Crude oil is a natural product – it comes straight from the earth. What can be more natural. It is a God given resource that deserves its own ticker-tape parade down Main Street America. Since oil companies brought all those wonderful crude oil products to us over the years, their representatives should stand in as proxies for crude oil in the Great American Parade to celebrate crude oil. American oil – the natural resource that helped win WWII, and save the world from fascism.

Clive Bond
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
May 25, 2018 10:26 pm

Wasn’t all the CO2 in that oil once in the atmosphere?

Bryan A
Reply to  Clive Bond
May 25, 2018 11:44 pm


Reply to  Clive Bond
May 26, 2018 12:03 am

Co2 comes and goes via many routes.

Reply to  Clive Bond
May 26, 2018 11:14 am

Technically, there’s no CO2 “in” the oil, or at least gasoline and other major hydrocarbon distillates, which are nearly 100% carbon and hydrogen. The CO2 gets created during combustion, i.e., oxidation., and atmospheric oxygen combines with the carbon atoms to create CO2 once again, restoring it to the atmosphere millions of years after first removed by a plant. Similarly, the hydrogen oxidizes to create H2O. Some gasoline additives such as MTBE do have an oxygenate for better combustion.

Reply to  Clay Sanborn
May 26, 2018 12:49 pm

Clay Sanborn
I find it amazing that man happened along, around the very moment in earths life when CO2 was at it’s lowest in its history, and discovered how to make fire.
He then discovered fossil fuels, and how to use them productively to enhance his, and the planet’s life. Without any external intervention.
I’m not religious, but if I were, I would consider that the most astonishing miracle of all time.

Reply to  HotScot
May 26, 2018 1:56 pm

“Without any external intervention.”?comment image

May 25, 2018 8:46 pm

Definitely worth it to the 6.6 billion more people now than in 1804, when we first crossed one billion humans alive at once.

May 25, 2018 8:54 pm

This should be good. Social justice is no defense against logic. For all the huffing and puffing by the plaintiffs I don’t see a chance in hell that this will ever actually see a trial. It seems Judge Alsup is more than up to the task of presiding over this case.

Greg F
May 25, 2018 9:19 pm

To protect the plaintiffs the judge should issue an injunction baring the sale and use of petroleum products in the plaintiffs jurisdictions until the suit is resolved.

Reply to  Greg F
May 26, 2018 12:27 am

No. The plaintiffs should apply for an injunction. That is how the process works.
But the reason they have not is that they want the activity to continue, but with compensation to them, and they do not seek an injunction partly because they want the activity to continue, but also because if it were overturned in later proceedings, they would then find themselves liable for damages.

Larry D
Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 2:39 pm

In short, they want to collect rent. On businesses not even in their own jurisdiction, hence this farce.

Dave Fair
Reply to  michel
May 26, 2018 4:21 pm

No, Larry D; their main aim is political. Climate is a liberal wedge issue and moves the Democrat Party base. The cities know they will receive no payments, but will get much positive publicity from the MSM. Watch which of the plaintiffs try for higher office.

Edith Wenzel
May 25, 2018 9:39 pm

Thank you Clay Sanborn. You spoke for many of us. High Five.

May 25, 2018 9:47 pm

Was industrialization worth it?
No, if you want to live in the 17th century before the industrial revolution. Ada Lovelace in 1830 would have praised the industrial revolutioncomment image
Replica of Rocket locomotive that won the Rainhill Trials in 1829 for the Liverpool-Manchester Railway, the first passenger steam traincomment image

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 26, 2018 1:46 am

Rainhill is next door to me. There’s an interesting fact about the Rocket. Many people think, or were told, that it was the first steam-driven locomotive but that was not the case. Steam had been used in mines and even for local transport east of the Pennines for the odd preceeding decade. What made the Rocket famous and pivotal was that Stephenson’s improvements produced for the first time an engine that could move a loaded wagon faster than a span of horses. An echo of this comparison is still with us as the ‘horsepower’ measure.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
May 26, 2018 6:18 am

And it performed RELIABLY. IIRC, didn’t several of the Rainhill competitor machines expire shortly after the trials started, and Rocket was still going.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
May 26, 2018 7:19 am

A brief history of the industrial revolution
Thomas Newcomen built the first commercial steam engine in 1712, 63 years before Watt’s steam enginecomment image
The horsepower was calculated by James Watt in 1782, over 47 years before the Rocket locomotive, to convince potential customers to replace their horses with his steam engine.
Manchester became the first industrial city with its textile mills and use of steam power
Steam locomotive was invented by Richard Trevithick showcasing the Catch-Me-Who-Can in London in 1808comment image
The Liverpool-Manchester Railway was the first passenger railway and Stephenson’s Rocket was the first steam locomotive to pull passenger trains regularly in 1830

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
May 26, 2018 4:24 pm

Note that women and girls were the first industrial laborers (at least in pictures).

John Garrett
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 26, 2018 4:37 am

“This is why Rocket’s moment in history is unique. That soot-blackened locomotive sits squarely at the deflection point where a line describing human productivity (and therefore human welfare) that had been as flat as Kansas for a hundred centuries made a turn like the business end of a hockey stick. Rocket is when humanity finally learned to run twice as fast.
It’s still running today. If you examined the years since 1800 in twenty year-increments, and charted every way that human welfare can be expressed in numbers— not just annual per capita GDP, which climbed to more than $6,000 by 2000, but mortality at birth (in fact, mortality at any age); calories consumed; prevalence of disease; average height of adults; percentage of lifetime spent disabled; percentage of population enrolled in primary, secondary, and postsecondary education; illiteracy; and annual hours of leisure time— the chart will show every measure better at the end of the period than it was at the beginning. And the phenomenon isn’t restricted to Europe and North America; the same improvements have occurred in every region of the world. A baby born in France in 1800 could expect to live thirty years— twenty-five years less than a baby born in the Republic of the Congo in 2000. The nineteenth century French infant would be at a significant risk of starvation, infectious disease, and violence, and even if he or she were to survive into adulthood, would be far less likely to learn how to read…”

-William Rosen
The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
New York, New York 2010.

Charles May
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 26, 2018 6:31 am

Dr. Strangelove
I think it was very appropriate of you to include pictures of a locomotive in your comment.

Charles May
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 26, 2018 6:42 am

Dr. Strangelove
I do not know why my previous comment was posted before I was ready so I will try again.
I think it was very appropriate to include a picture of a locomotive in your comment.
On Saturdays a few years ago I used to watch Joe Bastardi’s weekly commentary and he use a graph similar to this one.
I am not sure this is the exact same one but it does tell the story quite well. Here is another.
Looks compelling to me. Thie question should be easy to answer.
I don’t think I have it anymore but back in the early 19th century I think Europe was nearly de-forested. With making ships (and later railroad ties) and the need for fuel one can see why. I think coal must have saved a lot of trees and Rockefeller saved more whales than Greenpeace.

Reply to  Charles May
May 27, 2018 4:46 pm

A lot of the deforestation occurred during the Little Ice Age as people struggled to stay warm. Cold has always been a far greater threat, not just to man, but most life on earth than warm. In fact, life has thrived during warm periods and suffered during cold ones. You would know that if you listen to Church of Global Warming members. I doubt if many of them comprehend that, either.

May 25, 2018 10:30 pm

Slightly longer than 10 pages, but here is the brief:
Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity Policy Analysis, No. 715, Cato Institute, Washington, DC (2012), by Indur M. Goklany
For most of its existence, mankind’s wellbeing was dictated by disease, the elements and other natural factors, and the occasional conflict. Virtually everything it needed — food, fuel, clothing, medicine, transport, mechanical power — was the direct or indirect product of living nature.
Good harvests reduced hunger, improved health, and increased life expectancy and population — until the next inevitable epidemic, crop failure, natural disaster, or conflict. These Malthusian checks ensured little or no sustained growth in population or well-being.
Then mankind began to develop technologies to augment or displace living nature’s uncertain bounty. Gradually food supplies and nutrition improved and population, living standards, and human well-being advanced haltingly. The Industrial Revolution accelerated these trends. Mankind broke its Malthusian bonds. Growth became the norm. Population exploded, along with living standards and well-being.
Technologies dependent on cheap fossil fuels enabled these improving trends. Nothing can be made, transported, or used without energy, and fossil fuels provide 80 percent of mankind’s energy and 60 percent of its food and clothing. Thus, absent fossil fuels, global cropland would have to increase by 150 percent to meet current food demand, but conversion of habitat to cropland is already the greatest threat to biodiversity. By lowering humanity’s reliance on living nature, fossil fuels not only saved humanity from nature’s whims, but nature from humanity’s demands.
Key to these developments was that these technologies accelerated the generation of ideas that spawned even better technologies through, among other things, greater accumulation of human capital (via greater populations, time-expanding illumination, and time-saving machinery) and faster exchange of ideas and knowledge (via greater and faster trade and communications).
Full paper available here

Jacob Frank
Reply to  Indur Goklany
May 26, 2018 1:51 pm

Sometimes I forget there really are smart people out there that can write like that

Reply to  Indur Goklany
May 26, 2018 7:08 pm

” … How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity. …”
That’s another greenie ideological wedge, to insinuate or pretend that humans are not also ‘nature’, so can we be treated as un-nature-al interlopers, and aliens, deserving of only contempt, no consideration, no natural place in the ‘environment’, humans natural habitat and technology derided, with unlimited self-spite and self-hatred.
Their whole premise is rubbish, humans, and everything we do, is ‘nature’, and is natural to this planet’s biota.
It is contrived puritanical religious greenie ideology which is out of step with nature.

May 25, 2018 10:38 pm

I would love to see the Judge require the fossil fuel industries to stop supplying CAlifornia for a week to test how much greenhouse gas would be saved. I reckon the state would cave within a minute. It is much more fun talking about being pure and pre-industrial than actually living it. I love backpacking around my local national park and it feels good but I really love the hot shower and clean clothes when I come home. The difference between me and a dopey green is that I actually do go hiking (and I don’t see too many greenies or warmists out there) but I understand one is fun and the other is reality. Reality is a pretty damn good life compared to that of my grandmother.

Bryan A
Reply to  Quilter52
May 25, 2018 11:51 pm

It would take more like a month to begin to have an effect. After a week and station tanks begin to run dry and prices would skyrocket. After a month All stations would be bone dry and there would be panic in the streets, perhaps even calls for Moonbeams Head. For the record, I’m a 5th generation California native and would welcome seeing the state grind to a halt over the current government’s pontifications

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Bryan A
May 26, 2018 1:56 am

A week without electricity, and probably less, will see food riots followed by anarchy. Because most of the food kept in fridges and freezers will have gone off. Water and sewage treatment will have come to a halt followed by the onset of epidemics. Energy is only thing between us and the bacteria and viruses that will get us without it.

Reply to  Bryan A
May 27, 2018 4:55 pm

A lot of the deforestation occurred during the Little Ice Age as people struggled to stay warm. Cold has always been a far greater threat, not just to man, but most life on earth than warm. In fact, life has thrived during warm periods and suffered during cold ones. You would know that if you listen to Church of Global Warming members. I doubt if many of them comprehend that, either.

May 25, 2018 11:48 pm

From a purely legal standpoint, I can’t see how the judge hasn’t summarily dismissed the case.
Civil liability is about quantified harms incurred, lives lost, and damages.
Everything the plaintiffs claim is in the future. Until there are damages to quantify, the case must be dismissed.

richard verney
Reply to  joelobryan
May 26, 2018 2:02 am

That might be so with respect to a monetary award, but prospective harm may suffice for injunctive relief.
However in this instance even if the Claimants have the wherewithal to stop using fossil fuels, they still may not be able to avert the harm that the State will suffer, if neighbouring States (and indeed other countries) continue to use fossil fuels.
PS. I am all for fossil use, all for freeing CO2, and all for increasing global temperatures. For me cAGW fails at the basics, namely that the globe is presently too cold, the biosphere would benefit from more CO2 and indeed from more warmth. Thus if by some happy coincidence, CO2 leads to warming that is doubly a good thing.

Reply to  richard verney
May 26, 2018 2:32 pm

Damages are usually about putting people, as best as money can, into the position they would have been but for the “wrong doing”.
Seems that is a very difficult issue to determine and explains, perhaps, why the judge has asked for all the benefits that have accrued since 1859.
He might ask the plaintiffs to say thank you after that exercise.

May 26, 2018 12:51 am

This law suite seems to me like somebody goes and sues the auto companies for all the damages and lives lost from car accidents in the world. (while getting to court by car. of course…)

May 26, 2018 1:52 am

Can one make steel without using carbon>
Can one be a vegan Inuit or Masai?

Dodgy Geezer
May 26, 2018 2:04 am

…Oil is not tobacco. Whatever harm you think oil does to the world, oil also delivers a lot of benefits…..
It is interesting to note that tobacco also delivers some benefits, as a glance at the heart attack survival comparison statistics between smokers and non-smokers will readily illustrate…..

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
May 26, 2018 9:54 am

Dodgy Geezer – As one irritable and cynical geezer to another, tobacco definitely delivers benefits. Smoking is relaxing, it reduces anxiety, it makes you more alert, and it can help lubricate tense social situations. It also helps hold down your weight. I’m not advising anyone to take up smoking . But the modern day puritans in their self-imagined virtuousness social intolerance are apparently unaware that tobacco has help many people. The bad probably outweighs the good but its a close call.

Reply to  Marty
May 26, 2018 11:12 am

I gained twenty pounds when I quit smoking, many years ago. (I have had subsequent weight gains, from equally intuitive causes, but quitting smoking was the first.)

michael hart
Reply to  Marty
May 27, 2018 9:22 pm

Smoking also reduces Ulcerative Colitis incidence and/or reduces severity. I can’t recall exact details (though I ought to, as a sufferer. I decided either way, I preferred to remain quitted). I think any beneficial effects are attributed directly to the nicotine, though I haven’t seen any specific treatments marketed for UC based on nicotine, which would probably best be based on local delivery rather than the systemic effects achieved through smoking. It would be a brave physician who recommended smoking as a treatment for anything.

May 26, 2018 2:37 am

I like the injunction theme in these comments.
Perhaps the judge should enquire of the Plaintives what action they would take if a temporary injunction to cease provision of fossil derived energy to the State of California be granted. The serious consequences of this being of paramount concern.
Maybe this would generate a counter injunction to prevent the Plaintives proceeding with their claim on the grounds of these likely consequences.

Dave Fair
Reply to  cognog2
May 26, 2018 5:49 pm

The cities are not requesting injunctive relief; they are requesting compensation for speculative costs. But (don’t look at our bond filings), their costs are based on unverified models (with RPC 8.5).

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 27, 2018 2:18 am

The speculative costs are as long as a piece of string. The speculative benefits are real being merely the continuation of the current benefits being enjoyed.
Meanwhile the real costs are being enjoyed by the greed of the legal profession.

May 26, 2018 4:51 am

Bad oil companies, bad! — they give you the first gallon free, then you’re hooked for life.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  BallBounces
May 26, 2018 5:52 am

Green snakeoil merchants, bad! They infect you when young and gullible and many never recover. 🙂

John Garrett
May 26, 2018 6:01 am

Mikey Bloomberg started his professional life as a Salomon Brothers swindler. Employment as a successful Salomon Brothers swindler required belief in the highly unlikely or the flat-out untruth.
He hasn’t changed a lot since then.

May 26, 2018 6:20 am

Here’s what’s going to happen if these lawsuits win:
1) Oil companies will pay huge fines.
2) Oil companies will pass these costs to consumers.
3) Therefore, consumers will end up paying for these huge lawsuit fines.

Reply to  kramer
May 26, 2018 7:07 am

Actually, as the damages are continuing and ongoing, the judge could only hold that an injunction to halt further damage causing behavior of the defendants forthwith. Thus no product of the defendants or derived therefrom could be allowed for sale in the district. This would mean the removal for sale of all synthetic materials (nylons and plastics), liquid fuels (for vehicles), gaseous fuels (for electric generation and home heating), or solid fuels (coal for electric generation).
I don’t think the state would survive such a ruling. Anarchy would ensue in short order.

Reply to  OweninGA
May 26, 2018 5:20 pm

Would make a great test bed.

Reply to  OweninGA
May 27, 2018 10:44 am

Oh, the state would survive. Some of the people in it wouldn’t, and some of the corporations in the state wouldn’t. Both the corporation that is the state and some of the subsidiary corporations that survive would be altered.
By the way, we see the results whenever there is a natural disaster. Anarchy isn’t necessarily a result and when there is some anarchy, social order does get restored. What isn’t necessarily known is how much change and how long it will take.

May 26, 2018 6:55 am

Should lawsuits turn to such general abstract philosophic questions?
Is a court the right forum for philosophy?

May 26, 2018 6:58 am

Industrialization actually began with Denis Papin’s 1690 steam engine. There is an 1883 illustration depicting Denis Papin attempting to sail his steam-powered boat on the Weser River, assailed by fearful boatmen and shippers in 1707. Today these fear ridden would be called greens and lawyers.
Papin brought his design to London for a better pressure vessel, disappeared (murdered) , and soon the license for all fire machines was given to Savary by the Royal Society. In fact it was Leibniz who proposed a higher energy density fuel, gunpowder, to increase the efficiency of Papin’s engine.
Today a turbo injector ICE is just that, higher efficiency, and the hysteria over NOx ist just a repeat of that scene in 1707.
The oligarchy simply Kan’t do it so they steal murder, spew narrative.

May 26, 2018 7:00 am

It was the universal scientist Philosopher Leibniz who started the industrial revolution.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  bonbon
May 26, 2018 9:10 am

A stretch! Peoples heads are full of ideas. A doer is the innovator. That its best to have higher density fuels is a no brainer.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2018 11:51 am

It took Benjamin Franklin to bring Watt to the attention of the no-brains Royal Society. Newton’s club held the industrial revolution back approx 100 years, and after all he was the last alchemist according to his biographer, not a scientist at all. And people are surprised by climategate?
Leibniz’s idea sounds familiar today as it should.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2018 1:19 pm

That Newton also practiced alchemy doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a scientist.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2018 2:11 pm

It was the notes and records kept by alchemists that led to the science of chemistry.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 27, 2018 5:12 pm

As it was Astrology that led to Astronomy.

Dave Fair
Reply to  bonbon
May 26, 2018 5:55 pm

The Industrial Revolution small person tinkerers and, indeed, today’s entrepreneurs have always driven progress. Gates and Musk are just names.

Reply to  bonbon
May 27, 2018 4:15 am

Reply to bonbon :
“It was the universal scientist Philosopher Leibniz who started the industrial revolution.”

May 26, 2018 7:13 am

Sabotage, literally throwing a wooden Sabot, shoe , into the works , is an old “tradition”. Luddite alleged “death to machines” the same.

May 26, 2018 7:49 am

I will visit this weekend the cemetery where much of my father’s family is buried. My great-grandfather died at the age of 92 in 1959. I never knew him. I was born three years after he died.
But I have a photos of him. In one, he is in an open field wearing a straw hat. He is waving at the camera while walking behind a team of mules plowing the ground. He is filthy. Covered in dirt – a consequence of walking behind mules who kick dirt up in your face from sun up to sun down.
The photo is not dated. But he looked like he was maybe 40 years old or so. So around 1907. It’s amazing to me he lived to be 92 given his hard life.
Prior to industrialization, around half the population lived like that. Today, maybe 1-2% of the population are engaged in agriculture. The man who farms the exact same land where the photo of my great grandfather was taken rides in air conditioned cab tractor all day rather than walking behind mules kicking dirt up in his face. He can listen to Mozart, rather than day dream about whatever my geat-grandfather daydreamed about to ease his monotony. The farmer today goes home at night just as clean as when they started “work” in the morning.
Romanticizing pre-industrial times is lunacy. Nobody wants to set the clock back 100 years and live that kind of lifestyle. People who do don’t understand how hard that kind of life is.

Reply to  Scott
May 26, 2018 11:53 am

Prince Charles does, for the masses of course. The lunacy comes from the very few.

Reply to  bonbon
May 26, 2018 1:13 pm

Of course big ears, bu**er lugs Charlie couldn’t conceive of a time he would actually be forced to grub for food like the commoners.
I respect our Queen for her dignity through a difficult social and technological transition over her lifetime.
The rest are just hangers on and need to go.
Once Elizabeth has gone, the entire concept of British Royalty should be dissolved and their wealth and property handed back to society.

Reply to  bonbon
May 26, 2018 1:27 pm

Have to agree. That jug-eared twit should never be let anywhere near the red dispatch box. Nor his idiot, N@zi spawn, either. Although at least Harry served in the ‘Stan.
Britain should return to its Anglo-Saxon tradition and elect its monarch. That would give the House of Lords something to do, while preserving ceremony to attract the tourists.
Instead of the witangemoot choosing the most qualified aetheling or ealderman, let the Lords pick the next monarch from among the most distinguished Britons willing to serve as monarch in their retirement years. That should keep bribery and politicking for the position to a minimum.
Keep the present constitution, but toss the dysfunctional, looming Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty.

Dave Fair
Reply to  bonbon
May 26, 2018 6:01 pm

HotScot, without the royalty, Britain would have no tourism industry.

Reply to  Scott
May 26, 2018 9:37 pm

When I was a child we were all taught how not to fall into the sh#t pot, in the ‘thunderbox’ (backyard outhouse toilet), because young kids did fall in to them and then tragically drown in a metal bin full of urine, fecies and writhing with maggots. It was taken away on Tuesdays and an empty pot put in its place. Which was always welcome.
I didn’t experience an indoor toilet untill I was six, and stayed at a motel in Perth. What genius! It didn’t stink, no flies, couldn’t fall in and drown, didn’t need butcher paper to clean up, didn’t need to put a tin can full of saw dust over it to cut diwn the stench and msggots. Nope, just flush, looked spotlessly clean, no stink, and bacteria ate it all in a sealed concrete septic tank. Brilliant!
People who never lived through any of that are the ignorant greenie fools who think industrial development and technology is a bad thing.
I bet that Judge is old enough to have experienced a thunderbox, so won’t be falling for the childish immaturity and life inexperience of such whining useless “no-hopers”.
That’s what everyone here used to call them, but now they call themselves the ‘Greens’, and are all enlightened, and wise, ‘n stuff.
No, they’re are just repackaged regular garden variety no-hopers. Back then no one ever listened to them, everyone could see that they were clearly ‘mad’.
Now many of them go to teacher’s college, get a journalism degree, find work in a University’s Administration staff, or else infest a govt office.

Reply to  WXcycles
May 27, 2018 10:53 am

Heh. I’m old enough to remember those and the house had a flush toilet with city water. Not everyone in the neighborhood was that fortunate; but most were. Granddad kept the outhouse as a reminder, until the city ordinance required removal of them. It was still functional, by the way. Also, by the way, central unit HVAC systems were not as common as city water and sewage. They were just becoming a thing when I was a wee lad. My children and grandchildren have never lived in such a world, beyond going camping. So yeah, I can dig a latrine, if needed, not that I’d want to if I could help it.

michael hart
Reply to  WXcycles
May 27, 2018 9:35 pm

Ehhh, you were lucky. We had to work and go to sleep in our latrines, 25 hours a day…

Gary Pearse
May 26, 2018 9:04 am

Cost-benefit. There’s a radical concept. Were I offering a report to the judge I would include a picture of the court room in session with the plaintiffs and annotate what they have on that came from o&g including the varithane on the woodwork and gavel….

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2018 10:08 am

A good point Gary.
And further: Ask how it is intended to produce a Wind Turbine without the use of fossil fuels. similarly with Solar panels. Also how does one produce steel or aluminium with intermittent power? What about digging up Cobalt or Lithium from the ground for all those batteries?
There are endless questions that can be asked here.
It will emerge that the consequences of NOT using fossil fuels are far more disasterous than that of using them, even if you accept the hypothesis that they do contribute in some way to potential global warming.

Dave Fair
Reply to  cognog2
May 26, 2018 6:03 pm

Just shut down your heavy industrial users when renewables are not available. Load curtailment, load management, end user conservation, etc.

Reply to  cognog2
May 27, 2018 5:20 pm

As it was Astrology that led to Astronomy.

Reply to  sailor2014
May 27, 2018 6:18 pm

Sorry. the basic spell check which plagues us all. My bad.

May 26, 2018 9:54 am

So the litigants want the heretics to pay for absolution from their denial of the litigants beliefs, based on a preiction they cannot prove and whose real effects have not yet occured, have not occured as claimed by te litigants, and are based on beleif, in a prophesy that is not supported by any provable physical facts. Sounds like trying to impose a religion or cult by law to me.

May 26, 2018 10:02 am

From the article: “You’re asking for billions of dollars for something [CAGW damages] that hasn’t happened yet,” said Alsup during a back-and-forth with plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Berman.”
And it is something that may never happen.
So far, I’m liking this judge. He seems to have his head on straight and is asking the right questions.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  TA
May 26, 2018 8:11 pm

Alsup is also an engineer so fogging and handwaves are not as useful as they usually seem to be.

May 26, 2018 12:03 pm

Without industrialization, proponents of suing the oil companies would not have achieved the level of comfort to allow time to complain about industrialization. Why aren’t all judges laughing? I guess they appreciate the entertainment. Judges need to have fun too.

May 26, 2018 1:34 pm

comment image
The effect of Industrialization shown by rising income levels since 1800. The graph shows the gross national product (at purchasing power parity) per capita between 1750 and 1900 in 1990 US dollars for First World nations (Europe, United States, Canada, Japan) and Third World nations (Asia, Africa, Latin America).
From Bairoch, 1995.
Much more so since then.

Writing Observer
May 26, 2018 2:52 pm

A few observations here:
1) The Plaintiffs are not about to ask for an injunction to ban the sale of fossil fuels and their derivatives. Just requesting one would be politically disastrous – and it is politics driving the bus here.
2) The Hon. Judge Alsup is not about to issue such an injunction on his own. It would be swiftly vacated by the far Left 9th Circuit Appeals Court – and that decision would undoubtedly cast doubt on the probity of the judge, allowing the Plaintiffs to judge shop for one of their own (they were extremely unlucky in the assignment here).
3) The Hon. Judge is forcing the Plaintiffs to place their “facts” into the record, in a venue where the Defendants can dispute those “facts” in the same venue. His courtroom is not RealClimate (although some are; as I said, unlucky assignment here).
4) When and if an actual decision on the facts adverse to the Plaintiffs is issued – not a settlement, not a dismissal (hope that Exxon, et. al., stay the course here, people) – the Appeals Court can’t do all that much to overturn it, so long as he dots every “i”, crosses every “t”, on the law. The decision then becomes precedent – which is the legal equivalent, just about, of getting your book included into the Holy Bible. Lawfare by the “Greens” becomes far more difficult. Especially when the a different, far Left Court, issues a contrary decision, giving SCOTUS a perfect opportunity to grant certiorari – and who will be in control of the Supreme Court by then, hmmm?
5) Assuming that #4 above comes to pass – I will start researching the process to have the Hon. Judge Alsup awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Reply to  Writing Observer
May 26, 2018 5:09 pm

Writing Observer
Re: point 4.
I imagine Exxon will encourage a settlement or a dismissal, for the very reason you cite. Irrespective of the long term benefits to Exxon, or mankind for that matter, setting yet another legal precedent is contrary to the philosophy of free trade.
Exxon, like most commercial organisations, want fewer restrictions to free trade, not more.

Dave Fair
Reply to  HotScot
May 26, 2018 6:08 pm

Uh, HotScot, there are no free trade issues here.

Dave Fair
Reply to  HotScot
May 26, 2018 10:35 pm

Exxon is not there to make political points, HotScot. They just want to win the lawsuit in the most efficient manner possible. They are in no way in the skeptics camp. They are in the profit camp; if it takes feel-good greenie gestures, so be it.

May 26, 2018 7:25 pm

Average lifespans.
1750-1800, 36 years.
1800-1850, 37 years.
1850-1900, 40 years.
1900-1950, 48 years.
1950-2000, 68 years.
2000-2050, 78 years projected.
Enough said.

Reply to  Davis
May 27, 2018 12:21 am

When I joined the company in 1968 the average length of time pensions were drawn was 18 months, now it is almost 18 years.

May 26, 2018 10:14 pm

Which was the first hydro electric power plant?

Dave Fair
May 26, 2018 10:42 pm

Was it Niagara?

May 26, 2018 11:01 pm

Cragside, 1868, still working

May 27, 2018 2:04 am

Ahead of their time?
“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.” —Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, and Dr. John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, 1970, p. 323

May 27, 2018 3:22 am

Yes one of the main differences between oil and tobacco, and there’s quite a few, is they energy is fundamentally required, smoking is not.

Dave Kelly
May 27, 2018 8:56 am

“Attorneys for the cities of Oakland and San Francisco and Chevron Corp.have homework from Judge William Alsup: prepare 10-page legal analyses on whether a century of American dependence on fossil fuels was worth the global warming it caused.”
Having worked with attorneys on environmental issues, I’d say the attorney’s were the last people I’d have asked that question to. For the simple reason that if the facts don’t square with their narrative the lawyer’s will simply lie.

Reply to  Dave Kelly
May 27, 2018 12:00 pm

Dave : Isn’t THIS the time to argue the case for NATURAL CYCLICAL
GLOBAL WARMING and producing evidence that” Man-released-CO2 ”
That would establish that NO DAMAGE has been done and therefore

May 27, 2018 11:55 am

How about a legal precedent? B.C.’s nine-page statement of claim alleges the intent of Alberta’s bill is to hurt to the province.
“A significant disruption in the supply of gasoline, diesel, and crude oil from Alberta to British Columbia would cause British Columbia irreparable harm,” the document asserts. “In addition to economic harm, a sudden disruption in supply could injure human health and safety in remote communities.”
There is an ongoing dispute between Alberta and British Columbia over pipelines. BC has effectively and unconstitutionally, blocked Alberta’s oil exports via a new pipeline. Alberta has threatened to cut off all pipelines coming and going to BC. BC gets most of it’s oil for gasoline from Alberta. Also most of BCs natural gas exports get to market via Alberta pipelines.
BC is making a threat to sue Alberta for effectively doing what BC is doing. The most ironic part is BCs claim that cutting them off of oil would “

Warren Blair
May 27, 2018 3:32 pm

“Was Industrialization Worth It?”
Who does Alsup think he is posing such a question?
Has the USA gone mad?
Delusional judiciary!
Delusional attorneys!
Delusional politicians!
Delusional administrators!
Delusional public!
Delusional big oil!
You simply can’t make this stuff up . . .

J Mac
May 27, 2018 6:07 pm

So far, so good! Alsup appears to be a pragmatic engineer/judge, requesting verifiable facts as substantiation for claims.
The most damning hypocrisies are the claims of harm from the protagonist cities, while failing to disclose the financial risks from those claimed ‘harms’ in their respective government bond issues. The Securities and Exchange Commission puts folks in prison for those types of ‘failure to disclose risks’ omissions!

Dave Fair
Reply to  J Mac
May 27, 2018 10:55 pm

Sadly, J Mac, it is all political kabuki and the SEC will not get involved. The SEC is also political in nature.

May 27, 2018 7:25 pm

These lawsuits are a raid on the pension plans. Unfortunately the oil companies are not smart enough to shut the fuel off to cities that launch these racketeering lawsuits.

Henry Chance
May 27, 2018 8:59 pm

I enjoy the picture of the camper and tents.
Koch industries bought fibers from Dupont and produce the Nylon, dacron and fibers, chemicals for coatings. Invista. When a greenie weenie gets their panties in a bunch, Koch fibers are right there. Koch must be demonized. lol

michael hart
May 27, 2018 10:09 pm

What happens if the plaintiffs submit a scandalous crock that goes unchallenged, such as “Michael Mann’s hockey stick isn’t really the worst case of scientific malfeasance since the Piltdown Man”, and this same assertion then rears it’s ugly carapace elsewhere in, say, a libel trial, and is claimed as a “fact”?

Dave Fair
Reply to  michael hart
May 27, 2018 11:04 pm

Scandalous crocks rarely go unchallenged in U.S. tort cases, Michael.

Matt G
May 28, 2018 7:41 am

This reminds of what have the Romans done for us? Instead of Romans replace with oil or industrialization.

All these people against this are a hypocrite using any products from oil or industrial revolution.

Joel Snider
May 29, 2018 7:10 pm

I’ve been saying for years, this was going to be the next tactic.

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