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.”
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.