Eye roller: ‘Climate Lawsuit Industry’ now has its own magazine

Wow, just wow. Even the “fake accidents to get insurance claims” industry doesn’t have a magazine.
A sample:

By Amy Westervelt

A compelling sticking point arose in the San Francisco and Oakland climate liability suits against the oil industry during U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s hearing two weeks ago: the judge wanted to know how to balance the need to continue using fossil fuels while potentially holding the companies producing them accountable for damages they cause. This week, he received briefs from both sides with their takes on that question.

The debate stems from the oil companies’ contention that the suits are aimed at shutting them down, which would take a massive toll on a society that still primarily relies on fossil fuels for energy. The cities’ attorneys, in response, explained to Alsup in the hearing that is not the case. Steve Berman, lead counsel for the cities, explained to Alsup that the case does not seek to end oil production but to ensure that the companies pay for the costs associated with the damages their product causes.

“Berman’s right,” said Marco Simons, regional program director and general counsel for EarthRights International. Simons is lead counsel for several Colorado communities bringing climate liability suits against ExxonMobil and Suncor. He said that while nuisance cases in the past often did require that the company or person stop doing whatever was creating the problem, the law has evolved.

“The courts have created some exceptions to say, ‘Well, as an alternative we’re going to let you continue, but you have to pay for the damage you caused.’ So, the question of public benefit is only really a question of whether you’re trying to shut down the activity or to make a company pay for the damage that it’s causing. If the benefits are outweighing costs, you can pay for the damage and still continue the activity.”

While Alsup repeatedly returned to the progress enabled by fossil fuel production—from the Industrial Revolution to present day technology—those pressing the suits say that concern over the benefits of fossil fuel production is a red herring.

“We’re not trying to shut down oil production or shut these companies down or even impose limits on emissions,” Simons said.  “All we’re trying to do is what courts have done for hundreds of years, which is to say the people responsible for causing damage to people and property have to be responsible for their share of the cost of responding to those injuries. We’re not arguing that fossil fuels are in and of themselves a nuisance. The nuisance is climate change. And these companies that unquestionably played a role in creating the nuisance have to play a role in covering the cost of damages.”

Classic shakedown. I wonder if they’ve considered suing themselves, after all, aren’t USERS of fossil fuels just as culpable in destroying the planet as the suppliers?
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June 12, 2018 7:57 am

Gimme! They do seem intent on following all the negative stereotypes of liability lawyers.

Russell Cook
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 12, 2018 9:52 am

But dig a little deeper, and you find out who’s BEHIND Climate Liability news (screencapture here: http://gelbspanfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CCLbrd.jpg ):

“Climate Liability News is a project funded by donations to Climate Communications & Law, a new 501(c)3 nonprofit … The CCL Board: Kert Davies—Executive Director of the Climate Investigations Center. ….”

That’s ex-ExxonSecrets/ex-Greenpeace’s Kert Davies, the guy I detailed at WUWT back in 2015 here: “Greenpeace: The roots of Climate Smear” https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/26/the-origin-of-climate-smear/

Reply to  Russell Cook
June 12, 2018 10:27 am

501(c)3, … say no more.

… a non-profit probably campaigning for, actively writing proposals for, and receiving grant funding and donations (tax deductible, of course) to pay an Executive Director’s salary who knows where the money train is parked for his/her career advancement.

Nah, … I don’t profile much.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 12, 2018 10:39 am

Someone needs to put a bug in Trump’s ear about ending “non-profits” all together. There is no difference between a business and a non-profit organization, except that they don’t pay taxes and the non-profit CEOs usually make a lot more money.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 12:04 pm

Yep, often an excuse for unfair trading practices. UK high streets are now crowded with “charity shops” which run on unpaid staff’ pay no taxes, social security / retirement contributions; no business rates and often no ground rent.

They still are decked out like Top Shop with fancy interior designers in London getting massive sums to “relook” the brand and directors making a nice fat salary.

Other ordinary businesses are supposed to compete with these cheats.

Oxfam was the first to be called out for only passing on about 10% of its revenue to the starving children they used a poster porn to draw in donations.

Reply to  Greg
June 12, 2018 4:36 pm


Try Dartford charity shops mate.

Still the dog end of the genre. Grubby little holes with pasty old dears selling crumbling Ikea and G Plan furniture to people who can’t afford the bus fare to Bluewater or the tunnel toll to Lakeside.

Lived here for 30 years and the main road in is quite literally like a slum with boarded up Victorian shops for the past 15 years thanks to Tesco pulling out of a deal it dragged it’s heels over for 12 years.

Dartford is charity shop heaven, in one of the most prosperous parts of the UK.

Reply to  Greg
June 13, 2018 10:38 pm

I once bought everyone an Oxfam “Goat” as their Christmas gift- $50 donation per ‘goat” with a cute image on cards I sent out x 8- so 8 needy families somewhere got one..nice idea .BUT BUT turns out most SELL off the goat for cash ASAP for other things they want more. They sells ‘cows’ too for a whopping lot more. I also learned Oxfam often doesn’t give a goat at all, but other items, food, meds.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 1:18 pm

Amen, brother! I’ve always said that tax-exempt organizations are inimical to real positive reform in both science and society. Good intentions and lofty goals are fine, but most of these 501 c(3) and c(4) organizations have become huge money-laundering entities focused primarily on self-preservation and donation growth.

And executive compensation has grown to exorbitant levels. IRS is supposed to check the growth of exec salaries, but the 501 c corporations get a pass by comparing their lavish exec salaries to those of other 501 c entities and claiming “We’re just paying what the market demands for executive talent”. BS

501 c corporations are virtue-signalling when they claim “non-profit” status, as though they are somehow less money-grubbing than for-profit corporations. Level the playing field and make 501 c corporations pay 15-20% tax on gross receipts, similar to regular corporate entities.

Drain the swamp.

Reply to  GeologyJim
June 12, 2018 6:16 pm

Is it correct to say then that the only difference between a for-profit and non-profit organization is that the (not re-invested) excess money generated in the for profit case is taxed and handed to the shareholders and for the non profit one it goes to the staff and ceo??

Russ Wood
Reply to  Willem69
June 13, 2018 6:00 am

My wife was president of the local branch of a non-profit professional organisation. When they made TOO MUCH money from their annual conference, it raised loads of problems about just what to do with it! (The organisation ended up running free courses for new entrants). It might have been easier if the board had just PAID all of the volunteers, but that would have opened a can of worms, to say nothing of the impact on honesty. After all, they weren’t POLITICIANS, were they?

June 12, 2018 8:03 am

Surely this constitutes STANDOVER TACTICS and is EXTORTION !
Extortion is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE !
Shouldn’t the Oil Companies involved be COUNTER-SUING and
demanding JAIL-TIME for those perpetrating the extortion ?
The Oil Companies could then demonstrate their respect and
consideration for the Communities involved by NOT asking for
Heavy Fines or Compensatory Damages to be awarded against them !
Just JAIL-TIME for THE PERPETRATORS would satisfy them !

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Trevor
June 12, 2018 10:52 am

Look at the defendants. They aren’t private companies, ma-pa operators, or even mid-sized public companies. It’s usually just Exxon, who also happens to support things like a carbon tax and other draconian regulations on the industry. If you can’t monopolize by sending goons to the competition’s front door or simply preventing them from being able to sell their product, you might as well have the government help you put them out of business.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 10:56 am

And it was the Rockefellers themselves that began this climate crusade against Exxon almost 20 years ago — despite having a huge vested interest in the company. They’ve always been savvy at underhanded and unethical business practices. They have done well at milking both sides, promoting the funnelling of public coffers into “environmental” industries while hindering the competition in the petroleum business at the same time.

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
Reply to  Trevor
June 12, 2018 5:46 pm

“Extortion is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE !”

Almost as egregious an offense as USE OF ALL CAPS!

June 12, 2018 8:03 am

If they are not trying to stop the use of “Fossil Fuels” then they are admitting that the benefits outweigh the imagined damages ! IMHO…

Ancient Scouse
June 12, 2018 8:09 am

Give them what they wish for, stop all fossil fuel production and deny them the benefits of a world that is powered by fossil fuel – then see how long it takes them to come to their senses. I am 75 years old and todays world is far better than the world of the 1940′ s and 50’s. However if they know better, then pull the associated benefits from them. They should bear in mind that when their children ask why they destroyed a world that provides a better standard of living then that which the Kings and Queens of yesteryear could only dream of, they should have better answers than those provided by the fairy tales they currently believe in.

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
Reply to  Ancient Scouse
June 12, 2018 5:50 pm

That’s the story of Atlas Shrugged. Producers, people who live by the use of their minds, have been branded as evil. So they withdraw from the world, and it collapses. Your suggestion would have an even more immediate effect, and I, for one, applaud it.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
June 13, 2018 10:50 pm

Read A S as a teen, and I swear it changed me forever, and I didn’t realize it, or was able to express it til much later. Last year found her BEST book “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal..(was unknown when she wrote it!) really terrific set of articles & thinking, showing how the “businessman” is ALWAYS an Evil F*..AND he should pay for all our ‘good deeds”, our charity balls, etc. and we will still despise him to his face…just LOVE this book. Buy as ‘used’ only now.

Nigel S
June 12, 2018 8:12 am

Cosa Nostra also don’t want your business to shut down. Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em, little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum.

June 12, 2018 8:17 am

I signed up for their email list a few months ago. They average about one article per weekday; here’s a sample email:

———- Begin Forwarded message ———-
From: Climate Liability News
Date: Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 8:30 AM
Subject: New Article Published – California Utilities, Climate Change and Wildfires: A Liability Quagmire
To: …

Hello Gavin,

We have published a new article on our website : California Utilities, Climate Change and Wildfires: A Liability Quagmire
comment image

You can view it from this link : https://www.climateliabilitynews.org/2018/03/12/climate-change-wildfires-california-utilities/

Thanks & Regards,
Lynn Zinser, Executive Editor
Climate Liability News

You received this email because in the past you have provided us your email address : AmbulanceChaser@DeweyCheatemAndHowe.com to receive notifications when new updates are posted.

No longer interested in emails from Climate Liability News?. Please click here to unsubscribe

———- End Forwarded message ———-

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Dave Burton
June 12, 2018 8:55 am

Love the e-mail address! Proof positive that no human being was involved in processing your sign up. Unless they have a sense of humor. No wait…we’re talking about liberals here. It’s not funny unless you are blowing up children who are questioning the climate consensus.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 13, 2018 10:16 am

It’s not real. That’s not the address I actually used. I altered the contact info in the message before posting a copy of it here. Note that the “From” line has its email address removed, as well.

Posting real, unobfuscated email addresses is an invitation for spam-bots to harvest them and add them to spammers’ lists (which is why climate activists like to post my unobfuscated email address: harassment). I have my contact information on my web site, including email address and phone number, but the email address is obfuscated with a captcha-like image, to thwart the spam-bots.

Jacob Frank
Reply to  Dave Burton
June 12, 2018 9:03 am

That must be the centerfold, very shapely disaster there, hubba hubba

Reply to  Jacob Frank
June 13, 2018 10:18 am

Definitely a hottie.

June 12, 2018 8:18 am

The nuisance is climate change. Climate change caused by that nuisance of a tiny amount of additional energy being “held” in the lower part of the atmosphere by a minute increase of Co2…… Oh, wait….. There it is again – the nuisance of reality, the nuisance of the lack of a watertight (ha, ha) DIRECT link. Now where did I put that chart of global surface temperatures over the last 1,000 years and the equivalent chart of Co2? Yes, I know. They don’t really tell us much, being as incomplete a picture as they are, but I got to send them to the judge anyhow….

Reply to  MilwaukeeBob
June 12, 2018 11:52 pm

If the climate change is only a nuisance; get the plaintiffs to pay.

June 12, 2018 8:21 am

Stop selling “fossil” fuels in CA. No more damage to worry about= problem solved.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Cube
June 12, 2018 11:01 am

Unfortunately the industry as a whole would need to decide to stop selling petroleum in CA., and that would probably be seen as collusion between public companies and deemed illegal. It would require a CA. law stating that the use or selling of the products would be illegal, and no politician is in that big of a hurry to end their career.

Reply to  Cube
June 12, 2018 3:27 pm

Other companies in the same industry could end up in the very same situation if they move into the supply gap.

This is government involved in this action and maybe an opportunity to get court a judgement in place that could affect future cases.

IMO, let this California city go “cold-turkey” without fossil fuels.

Reply to  Cube
June 13, 2018 6:06 pm

This California city legal action situation looks very much like a part of putting over the climate change agenda at the sub-national level state by state and city by city.

June 12, 2018 8:37 am

First they have to prove damages.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  markl
June 12, 2018 8:51 am

Yeah, what damages?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 12, 2018 8:26 pm


June 12, 2018 8:37 am

Perhaps the oil companies can join together in a RICO suit against this publication.

June 12, 2018 8:39 am

The sharks have smelt blod in the water, and so will be hard to get rid off now.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  knr
June 12, 2018 10:04 am

Your speling gives me a haddock.

June 12, 2018 8:42 am

“All we’re trying to do is what courts have done for hundreds of years, which is to say the people responsible for causing damage to people and property have to be responsible for their share of the cost of responding to those injuries. ”

This presumes damage which must be evident. The only evident damage has been to science itself and those at the IPCC who perpetrated this damage should be held liable for the resulting financial harm that’s impeding the advancement of humanity.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
June 12, 2018 10:34 am

Except that the people causing the damage are the consumers, as they are the ones benefiting from the use.

The oil companies offer a product. It is the consumer that is supposedly “polluting”.

Reply to  Phoenix44
June 12, 2018 10:46 am

and it is the consumers paying the “damages” to themselves through higher fuel costs minus a healthy rake off to the lawyers each time round the loop.

Steve R
Reply to  Phoenix44
June 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Good point…combustion takes place at the behest of the consumer.

Edit…On second thought, it doesn’t matter anyway because it will still be the consumers that pay thru higher fuel costs anyway.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  co2isnotevil
June 12, 2018 11:09 am

Imagine the liability on other industries if they found that even if a product has an obvious net benefit, they must pay reparations for any damage, whether proven or purported and regardless of the magnitude, that their product causes.

The food industry, pharmaceuticals, automotive, entertainment, basically everything except for a few service industries. Establishing precedent for a lawsuit on imaginary damages is the law industry’s wet dream.

Hey, maybe we need a class action on the law industry for the damage it does on society, now who wants to represent me?

Reply to  Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 11:23 am

The food industries and obesity. Bingo!

Leo Smith
June 12, 2018 8:47 am

The nuisance is climate change. And these companies that unquestionably played a role in creating the nuisance have to play a role in covering the cost of damages.”

Well, no, actually.

On both counts

Reply to  Leo Smith
June 12, 2018 9:48 am

Since the end of the little ice age, climate change has been 100% beneficial.
Since the MWP, Roman and Minoan optimums were several degrees warmer than today and the Holocene optimum was as much as 3 to 5C warmer than today and nothing bad happened, we have evidence that at least that far, there are no damages to worry about.

June 12, 2018 8:49 am

As long as there is only upside (ridiculous jury awards) and no downside (plaintiff liabilities like defense attorney fees or counter-suit damages) this will only continue.

There needs to be tort reform directed at lawyers filing these suits that makes them really pay for it if they lose. Now since most of our legislators are lawyers, I’m sure we all can expect it next session and this will all go away. /s

June 12, 2018 8:51 am

Users are more culpable than the suppliers. Nobody forces users to use fossil fuels.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 12, 2018 9:10 am

Maybe the supliers put substances in the oil to make the users adicted. In that case the supliers are culpable.

Ryan S.
Reply to  willy
June 12, 2018 9:41 am

The addictive substances are already there. They include, long life spans, transportation, heating, cooling and high GDP per capita.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Ryan S.
June 12, 2018 11:11 am

Ah, so with their obvious benefits to society we are being extorted into using fossil fuels, brilliant.

Reply to  willy
June 12, 2018 9:49 am

The only additives I know about are things to keep the engine clean.
That’s it, if the oil companies didn’t keep the engines clean and allowed them to get all yucky, people wouldn’t want to use their cars as much.

Pat Frank
June 12, 2018 8:56 am

It’s not the production of fossil fuels that produce the supposed costs that so agitate San Francisco and Oakland. It’s the use of fossil fuels that cause the supposed costs.

So, who uses fossil fuels? Why San Francisco does. And so does Oakland.

It’s quite clear, therefore, that San Francisco and Oakland should be suing Oakland and San Francisco to recover the costs produced by the use (not the production) of fossil fuels.

That leads to the obvious point that San Francisco and Oakland can bring the costs to a screeching halt by merely suspending their use (not the production) of fossil fuels.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 12, 2018 9:48 am

Yes, from above, “And these companies that unquestionably played a role in creating the nuisance have to play a role in covering the cost of damages.” Why don’t the consumers, who actually are producing the CO2, have to pay also? The obvious answer is that the citizens would be unhappy with paying even more taxes than what they currently do.

June 12, 2018 8:58 am

If the people suing the fossil fuel companies claim they are damaging the environment, then if these people are actually using fossil fuels they are knowingly damaging the environment.

How about a lawsuit against them? Or file a lawsuit against the AG of each state or municipality doing this. It isn’t the gun that kills people, it’s the person pulling trigger.

What defense can they have if they are currently in court contending what they are using is at fault? The common sense climate side needs to get creative.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 12, 2018 9:42 am

Both San Francisco, Oakland, and the adjacent communities are still approving LOMA’s & LOMR’s.

During the approval of such, the Jurisdiction(s) need to certify that the properties are and will be “safe from flooding”.

Now, if these cities truly think that sea level will rise to endanger their ocean/portside properties, then they shouldn’t still be allowing & certifying that the properties to be removed from the requirements of FEMA’s flood insurance & (flood proofing) construction practice requirements will be safe from flooding.

If Exxon isn’t aware of this item (similar to the bond certification/rating deal), then they are free to contact me.

June 12, 2018 8:59 am

Berman said, “….the case does not seek to end oil production….”

Nah, it pretty much does.

michael hart
Reply to  Jimmy
June 12, 2018 11:32 am

No, they really do prefer money handed over by those threatened with the lawsuit. The more, the merrier.

Reply to  Jimmy
June 12, 2018 3:40 pm

The recent Vatican position further helps to reinforce those who are or have been involved in fossil fuel legal action?

June 12, 2018 9:08 am

It’s like cigarettes. States claim massive healthcare costs even though they neglect tha smokers die sooner (less SSA) and need less care overall than those with dimentia who live til their 80’s or 90’s. Cigarette taxes and the tobacco industry lawsuit settlement means that governments 2/3 of the revenue from tobacco sales. Obviously, government’s want that kind of cut on energy as well. Fuel would cost $8-9 per gallon, just like Europe, which is what Democrats have been trying to do for 25 years.

Reply to  Sean
June 12, 2018 9:51 am

Everybody dies of something. Eventually.

June 12, 2018 9:08 am

District Judge William Alsup’s hearing two weeks ago: the judge wanted to know how to balance the need to continue using fossil fuels while potentially holding the companies producing them accountable for damages they cause. This week, he received briefs from both sides with their takes on that question.

No, that is not what he wanted to know. Ms Westerfelt cannot or will not read.

What he wanted to get briefs on is whether, as a matter of law, the judge deciding this case is obliged to consider the benefits versus the harms done by fossil fuels.

He did NOT ask for briefs on what the harms and benefits were, which is an empirical and not a legal question. He did NOT ask whether the benefits exceeded the harms.

He asked LEGAL question: whether the benefits are legally relevant to this case.

Why oh why will people not just read the filings?

Reply to  michel
June 12, 2018 9:26 am

“Why oh why will people not just read the filings?”
…because made up facts are more fun than factual facts.

Reasonable Skeptic
June 12, 2018 9:18 am

So why not take the same approach with companies that produce alcohol, guns, vehicles, planes and bullets? It would be far easier to see the harm in those that CO2.

Steve R
Reply to  Reasonable Skeptic
June 12, 2018 3:55 pm

God…don’t give them any ideas!

Reply to  Reasonable Skeptic
June 13, 2018 6:40 am

There’s laws on the books that shield gun and ammo manufacturers from liability if their products are used in the commission of crimes.

J Mac
June 12, 2018 9:20 am

The ‘climate change’ law suits are a lawyers ‘shake down’ cruise, testing out a novel legal theory to steal other peoples money. As the budding ‘climate liability news’ illustrates, it will become a full fledged industry if it is not stopped here and now.
It needs to be rejected with extreme prejudice against the plaintiffs, to prevent any related precedents being set and to discourage any further ‘shake down’ explorations along this ill-legal path.

Ryan S.
June 12, 2018 9:34 am

“I wonder if they’ve considered suing themselves, after all, aren’t USERS of fossil fuels just as culpable in destroying the planet as the suppliers?”

Actually the users are 4 times more culpable in the case of CO2 emissions. According to data from the DOE/NETL Production and Upgrading contributes 11.6% of CO2 emissions. Transport 1.2%, Refining 6.2%, and combustion/use 81.1%.

So go sue yourself, as Anthony put it.

June 12, 2018 9:44 am

If they have to pay for the damages they do, then they should get a credit for the benefit they cause.
How much is a 20% increase in crop productivity worth?

June 12, 2018 9:44 am

“The courts have created some exceptions to say, ‘Well, as an alternative we’re going to let you continue, but you have to pay for the damage you caused.’

Herein lies their problem. The courts have always bee willing to require payment for proven damages but most reluctant to grant relief for imagined damages. The concept of damage reparation implies a requirement to prove damages. These lawsuits should all be canceled for lack of proof of damage.

June 12, 2018 9:53 am

Try this… A city files suit against the oil industry for causing climate change. The oil industry attorneys file for a preliminary injunction barring the oil industry from selling their products in that city.

One of two things will happen.

1) The city attorneys will vigorously fight against the preliminary injunction because of the damage it would do to the city. Thus they have to argue the city needs the oil industry products to survive and the city’s case fails.

2) The court will issue the injunction and the city will very quickly wither and die. At which point the city’s case fails for lack of a plaintiff.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  ScienceABC123
June 12, 2018 11:16 am

Well the suit is not on industry as a whole, otherwise that would be a brilliant plan. The suit is on Exxon, and I’m convinced there are those with a large vested interest in Exxon that actually want the lawsuit to succeed.

Hokey Schtick
June 12, 2018 9:57 am

Hopefully the lawyer’s children will have shoes this winter.

William Astley
June 12, 2018 10:04 am

The legal fun and political shenanigans will continue until there is planetary cooling or until we awaken from the idiots’ nightmare.

We are absolutely clueless as to what caused the warming in the last 22 years (post 1996).

We are clueless as to how much cooling to expect and how fast the cooling will occur.


Burl Henry
Reply to  William Astley
June 12, 2018 11:38 am

William Astley:

You write that “we are absolutely clueless as to what caused the warming in the last 22 years (post 1996).

No, the cause of the warming is easily explained.

Variations in Earth’s temperatures are caused by varying amounts of SO2 aerosols in the atmosphere, primarily due to volcanic eruptions, but since circa 1975, also due to global Clean Air reductions in SO2 aerosol emissions.

For example, the 1997-98 “El Nino” was caused by a 7.7 Megaton reduction in SO2 aerosol emissions due to Clean Air efforts, and the 2014 -2016 “El Nino” was due to a massive reduction in SO2 aerosol emissions of about 30 Megatons by China

With regard to future cooling, it will primarily be driven by volcanic eruptions, as happened during the Little Ice Age.

Reply to  Burl Henry
June 13, 2018 7:40 pm

And the cause of the cooling after the Roman and Minoan Warm Periods?

Sorry Burl, but I’m suspicious of easy and “neat” answers to changes in something as complex as the climate.

Burl Henry
Reply to  JohnB
June 13, 2018 8:48 pm


There was a very recent paper stating that the end of the Roman warming period was due to extensive volcanic eruptions–I don’t have the reference at the moment, perhaps someone else remembers it.

The climate is FAR from being complex, it is simply as I have stated. Essentially every peak and valley of a plot of average anomalous global temperatures since 1850 can be traced to decreases or increases in SO2 aerosol emissions, with no indication of any additional climatic effect from “greenhouse gasses”.

June 12, 2018 10:06 am

The biggest error in the IPPC’s modeling is the assumption that fossil fuel burning is the sole cause of the rise in atmospheric CO2. They admit that natural emissions of CO2 are around 20 times anthropogenic emissions but assume that natural emissions are always balanced by natural sinks. The fact is that those natural sinks don’t know the difference between natural emissions and anthropogenic emissions. In a flow system, If, for example, the sinks are only absorbing 95% of natural emissions, they will also absorb 95% of anthropogenic emissions resulting in about a 5% rate of increase in atmospheric concentration. An increase in natural emissions over an increase in sink rates is the more likely cause of the increase in atmospheric concentrations. The correlation between ENSO and CO2 concentrations is strong evidence to this being true. The burning of fossil fuels contributes an insignificant amount to climate change.

Tom in Florida
June 12, 2018 10:08 am

I think Florida should file a similar suit against tourists. We don’t want them to stop coming and benefitting our economy but they need to pay for all the damage they cause while they are here.

June 12, 2018 10:13 am

Let’s try to explain this clearly.

The suit is being brought under the common law of nuisance. Under this law you can only claim for actual damages incurred. The appropriate remedy for future damages is an injunction, which you can use to prevent the defendant from continuing the course of action which will do the future damage.

This is going to be a major problem for the plaintiffs, and its connected to the question of causation. They are going to have to show actual damages already for which they are claiming, and they are also going to have to show that these damages were caused by the actions of the defendants. In this there are going to be two issues. One is that the defendants’ products are a small proportion of total emissions. You can only be held accountable for the harms you have caused, under common law nuisance. If you did 5% of the emissions, you cannot be held liable for all the damage.

So this will be a problem. The other problem will by tying back the particular event or damage complained of, eg the erosion of a beach at a given point, to the emissions. This is going to be quite tough. So we have two issues here, one is proving causation at all, the other is proving the share of causation.

However, the damage, if there is any, is not being done by the cities using the oil and gas. Its being done by the world using the defendants’ oil and gas, and the argument is that they knew that the damage was being done, and deliberately tried to conceal it from their customers and the world.

So everyone who asks, why don’t the cities stop using it, or ban its sale, please stop with this. Its obviously, obviously, not an argument.

Now we come to the latest request which this reporter has failed to grasp. The judge is asking for opinions to be filed ON THE COMMON LAW OF NUISANCE. Not on the benefits or harms of fossil fuels or oil and gas. On the state of the law under which this suit is being brought.

His question is: under the common law of nuisance, is a judge deciding the case obliged to consider the benefits as well as the harms of the production of oil and gas?

So once again, would everyone please stop posting about the benefits of fossil fuels, suggesting the defendants stop using them…. and so on. Its not about that. its about, and only about, the common law of nuisance.

If you don’t have some serious legal arguments on the common law of nuisance, you have not even started to think about this request.

I have tried and failed to find any precedent in which, under common law of nuisance, benefits and harms were considered. I have also tried and failed to find any case in which claims for forecast future damages were allowed under it.

If anyone knows any, or has any arguments on this subject, post them, it would be most interesting. Otherwise you are just shouting irrelevancies in the dark.

Read the filings. it is the only way to find out what is going on.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  michel
June 13, 2018 8:36 am

This isn’t about the traditional common law of nuisance. It is about establishing a new precedent that will allow lawyers to become richer by suing for future damages. Just imagine suing sugar producers for future obesity. How about auto manufacturers who knowingly sell products that will damage roads and bridges in the future or that cause future damages during accidents. How about ladder makers who knowingly sell products that will cause future damages to users in the future.

It’s all about making safe spaces where government can protect you from adverse consequences!

June 12, 2018 10:18 am

I suppose it would be too catastrophic to do for real, but wouldn’t it be fun to engage in an “Esso Shrugged” scenario in which the entire petrochemical industry simply stopped supplying to anybody outside of hospitals and military?

I know, it’s not practical. But wouldn’t it be fun even just for a week if they said, “Mea culpa. We’re no longer producing evil petrochemical products.”

And the only way they would start up again is if all the activists got together and chanted, “klaatu barada nikto.”

June 12, 2018 10:19 am

If there is “damage” to a third party, then it has to be paid for by the consumer, not by the manufacturer. That is entirely fair and right, as it is the consumer that has benefited from the product, and in consuming it, produced the damage.

Without the consumer, there is no damage. These people are confusing damage done in making a product (e.g. a factory polluting a river) with the externalities that can occur when consumers use a product. CO2 emission from using fossil fuels is an externality, not a primary consequence of manufacture.

You don’t get Boeing to pay for the noise of an airliner at the airport, you get the passengers to pay to noise-proof your home via the charges the airport levies on the airlines.

Reply to  Phoenix44
June 12, 2018 10:38 am

exactly…..if someone shoots someone else with a gun…..you don’t sue Smith and Wesson

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Latitude
June 12, 2018 10:58 am

But they will try!

Reply to  Tom in Florida
June 12, 2018 11:36 am

They have tried.

June 12, 2018 10:26 am

I wonder if they have printed material?
After all, nothing says hypocrisy like, we want to save the planet while we help destroy it, while you read about it.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  RHS
June 12, 2018 11:18 am

They’ll discuss that in their next conference on Kilauea.

michael hart
June 12, 2018 10:31 am

“Can Climate Suits Balance Fossil Fuel Use With Industry Accountability”

I will truly know I am of the untermenschen when I get to move in circles where that sentence makes sense.

June 12, 2018 10:33 am

That does suggest some opportunities for new magazine ideas.

Nonprofit Watch
Data Rigger
FOIA Staller
Paid Protester Times
Denier Hunting
Pope Watch
Message Crafting
and Climate Psychology Today

Robert W Turner
June 12, 2018 10:35 am

I wouldn’t be surprised if Exxon is inviting these lawsuits as another way to hinder the competition and create opportunity for more buyouts. Just like they support a carbon tax and the methane rules. Thousands of operators can’t take the hit like Exxon can and they would love to swoop in and buy more legacy production.

Andy Pattullo
June 12, 2018 11:04 am

If the consumption of fossil fuels is causing harm then it should be the consumers of the product that pay the damages, not the producers. Let’s start with all those jet setting environmentalists and celebrities. Come on hand over the loot! This is like claiming the producers of reality TV should be forced to pay for the aberrant behaviour and social degradtion caused by those who watch it. Hey, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
June 12, 2018 9:20 pm

The consumers will pay the damages. In the unlikely scenario where these people win damages, the oil companies will pass the cost on to the consumer. The consumer will effectively be paying the law firms their fees and any damages they can steal.

June 12, 2018 11:11 am

“Can lawsuits balance fuel use…”

If corporations get sued, they will need to raise prices. Higher energy prices will increase costs for energy reliant economic activities. So locally there will be a reduction of economic activity. The reduced economy will lower the need for energy. The recession will also lower tax revenue and increase unemployment.

Welfare recipients do not have the money to spend on virtue signaling like solar cells or electric cars. They will keep their old car, their old fridge, their old heater, ……. With empty coffers, governments will be forced to stop wasting money and concrete on pet projects.
This will further contract the local economy and energy use. And the spiral to the bottom continues. Until you end up in Detroit.

When you get to the Detroit stage, the poor will sit in their cold, dark public housing. They will look out of their broken window and see the ‘Elites’ driving by in their $100 000+ electric cars toward their houses powered by solar panels and battery walls. While they have to pick between eat or heat. This will trigger the ‘Socialist Revolution’ the Greens have been waiting for.
‘The (unemployed) ‘Workers’ will rise up and scale the wall ….. Not Trumps wall but the wall around the gated communities of the Doctors, the Lawyers, the Liberal Professors. The poor will steal their cars, smash their solar panels, burn down their McMansions and rape their daughters. It will go down like every other Socialist Revolution in the 20th century.

Tames McShann
June 12, 2018 11:14 am

Are you folks aware that virtually the *only* scam going on is the one previously attempted by oil companies in the 1980s-90s to smear legitimate global warming climate scientists and legitimate climate science, in order to continue to reap trillions in profits for a corrupt, deadly, unhealthy, dirty, extremely polluting industry–one invented in an age before advanced, modern science determined how deadly it is??

And surely you must be aware that American conservatives are alone in all the world, even among *all* conservatives of every other nation, in unscientifically opposing the proven, settled science of global warming?

That virtually no Phd. climate scientists stand with those who routinely deny the reality of anthropogenic global warming?

That the globing warming denial (a factual word that describes outright rejection of reality) movement routinely fails to make legitimate scientific points because of these discredited techniques and habits:

1) Use of faulty analysis techniques and methodologies, including conflation of methods and facts, using evidence in faulty ways to “prove” irrelevant points, and applying analysis techniques incorrectly or inappropriately;

2) recirculates discredited, disproved theories;

3) trusts rogue, outlier pseudoscientists over credentialed climate science Phds.;

4) believes in the work and beliefs of demonstrated liars and charlatans (like Christopher Monckton, who has no climate science credentials and was kicked out of the royal British Science Academy), and

5) in a religion-like way, trusts *only* discredited science, fitting their preconceptions, that isn’t backed up by the preponderance of overwhelming evidence?

All of which indicates

1) an unscientific, unwarranted, extreme, paranoiac fear of government “control;”

2) general belief in scientifically unfounded conspiracy theories;

3) a religion-like, even cargo-cultish stubbornness in adhering to concepts and beliefs that are quite easily (in some cases) disproved and in most cases have been repeatedly disproved; and

4) an unscientific over-reliance on anecdotal and cherry-picked, unreliable alleged evidence–all of which runs counter to established science and the vast preponderance of evidence that has firmly determined this unpleasant reality: GLOBAL WARNING IS MOSTLY DUE TO MODERN HUMAN ACTIVITIES.

The important things to ask yourself, it’s only for curiosity but also for your psychological health, are, why am I a member of this odd, small, cargo-cult-like community? What is it about rejecting the authority of scientific evidence that appeals to me? What is it I truly fear in accepting this reality? What other beliefs do I have that are similar in nature to this belief? Why do I tend to associate and congregate and communicate mostly with others who share these beliefs, versus independent experts and the overall community, who reject these beliefs based on factual demonstrations, evidence and investigations?

After all, Science is only an “authority” based on facts, not a governmental or hierarchical authority based on establishing control over others. Science is a self-correcting system. It is built on the foundation that no government or religious or business or other authority can control and hide reality enough to disprove something that can be independently verified by any other scientist with the techniques and ability and knowledge to perform the research.

If you truly want to disprove the accepted science of anthropogenic global warming, each and every one of you should get a PhD. in climate science and DO THE RESEARCH YOURSELF. WHAT, exactly, are you afraid of if you did the research? Isn’t it that it’s far simpler and easier to speak out against something than to actually DO anything to disprove it?

Hell, why don’t you band together and crowdsource a funding agency that pays for say, 5% of you as volunteers, to become PhD climate scientists. Then you could use real science to attempt to disprove what has already been proven. That’s what science is about. And scientists make their names by finding a better concept and description of reality, demonstrated by careful appropriate research and pertinent facts that match a new hypothesis, than the previous one.

But none of you are enterprising enough or smart enough or willing to trust your beliefs enough in order to do that! Your post about it and blog about it and talk about it and in some cases, make money off of your words, taking an income from the people who fit your belief systems. The same way priests and preachers do.

In other words, you NEVER put your money where your mouth is. Real climate scientist do. They put in their time, intelligence, diligence and stake their reputations and risk their entire life’s work by collecting facts and publishing the results of their investigations.

Your collective failure to become real climate scientists is what speaks the loudest.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Tames McShann
June 12, 2018 12:19 pm

Typical troll. Your blather and nonsense is pure psychological projection.

Reply to  Tames McShann
June 12, 2018 1:11 pm

Is there anything you know that actually has a connection with a form of reality known to science?

1) The oil companies never tried to smear anyone. All of the smearing has gone the other way, government paid “scientists” trying to ruin the career of anyone who get between them and the next grant.

2) Conservatives in most other countries are socialist by any other name, they just want to slow down the march to communism. As to settled science, there is no such thing. The claim that the vast majority of scientists believe CO2 is going to kill everything has been refuted so many times that only the terminally clueless still cling to it.

3) There are hundreds of PhD scientists who dispute the claim that CO2 is problem.

4) Every item in that list is SOP for the global warming sc@mmers.

5) Go away until you can do something other than regurgitate talking points.

Reply to  Tames McShann
June 12, 2018 8:45 pm

I have no idea what you’re on, but can I have some too? Wow !

Reply to  Tames McShann
June 13, 2018 2:30 am

Tames . . . well are you a climate science PhD?
No, so your pronouncements are irrelevant by your own logic.
I can tell you assuredly that most Australian conservatives are with their US brethren when it comes to global warming.
There isn’t a university in Australia that will countenance anything other than the orthodoxy on global warming.
This is because all Australian Universities are controlled by the left of academia, politics and business.
We know you’re a lefty commenter by your talking points.
We’re ok here so your admonitions are wasted at WUWT.
The good thing is WUWT has curtailed global warming hysteria and will continue to despite anything you or any other left-wing commenter may say here or in any other forum.
Dangerous global warming belief has no hope of success because it is politically aligned with the left.
It (and you) are failing and will fail completely in time; there is nothing more certain in this segment of science . . .

Caligula Jones
June 12, 2018 11:32 am

So, all they have to do is:

1) determine the current actual temperature of the earth
2) determine what the temperature of the earth SHOULD be
3) determine the difference (if there is any of statistical significance) of 1) and 2)
4) determine how much of 3) is man-made
5) determine what counts as damage
6) determine how much of 4) actually causes 5)
7) determine how much of 6) is due to oil companies
8) determine how much of 7) per state

No, I don’t see lawyers getting rich here at all, with absolutely a billionth of a decimal’s chance that a billionth of a degree of warming will NOT rise.

June 12, 2018 11:32 am

I can only see one answer to this problem. If a city sues the oil companies, the oil companies ought to shut down all gas stations, refuse to sell fuel and lubricants etc. from those pursuing the lawsuits, thereby encouraging the cities to take responsibility for the damages they are causing by using petroleum products. After all, fair is fair right?

June 12, 2018 11:51 am

I’m confused. If the fossil fuel companies have the obligation to pay for the damage to society that their products cause, why doesn’t society have an equal obligation to repay the company for the good to society (over and above the simple purchase of the product) these products have wrought?

Every person who’s ever ridden in an ambulance, helicopter or other fossil fueled conveyance to the hospital which is powered by fossil fuel power generating equipment and equipped with massive amount of fossil fuel derived equipment and disposables owes their very LIFE to the companies that provided these products.

That should be worth something shoudn’t it?

That’s just one example amongst a virtually unlimited number.

I’m guessing that if the true “costs to society” vs the true “benefits to society” were weighed against each other…if that’s even something possible to do…the benefits would outweigh the costs by a YUGE margin.

DJ Meredith
June 12, 2018 12:34 pm

This fits in nicely with Ambulance Chaser Weekly… … though I think ambulance chasers have more scruples.

June 12, 2018 2:23 pm

Assuming the case succeeded, where actually would the money end up, apart from a slice in the lawyers’ pockets?

June 12, 2018 2:33 pm

“All we’re trying to do is what courts have done for hundreds of years, which is to say the people responsible for causing damage to people and property have to be responsible for their share of the cost of responding to those injuries. ”

…except for politicians, and celebrities.

June 12, 2018 4:15 pm

In Cal v. Oil the defendant’s lawyers (predictably) are inept (no dismissal).
Combustion of oil is the only activity that may give rise to a nuisance.
Extracting, transporting and selling oil would only be a nuisance if a spillage or the like occurred.
We don’t smoke or drink oil so no addiction claim can be made.
Berman is a vexatious litigant.
If successful he’d become one of the World’s richest men doing over automakers next followed by other ‘harmful’ industries including alcohol, fast-food, sugar etc.
But don’t be concerned because if Alsup loses his mind, it’ll be overturned on appeal.
This is the only certainty in the matter.

Reply to  Warren
June 12, 2018 4:59 pm

Re failure to dismiss (inept lawyers) . . . by now the defendant’s lawyers should have been successful in convincing Alsup to dismiss and decide one or more of the following:
a. Order the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s court costs.
b. Forbid the plaintiff from bringing any further lawsuits.
c. Sentence the plaintiff to jail time.
d. Charge the plaintiff with a criminal offense.
Alsup has not because:
a. He’s a liberal.
b. The plaintiff is a liberal government.
c. The defendants are liberal aligned (all advocate either a carbon tax or carbon trading).
d. The defendant’s lawyers are liberal aligned.
Which adds up to . . . the public will pay for all of this (directly or indirectly):
a. All court operation and some lawyers costs will be paid by taxpayers.
b. In the event of a damages award, oil companies will pass the cost on to motorists.

Reply to  Warren
June 12, 2018 11:07 pm

Correction I should have written Berman’s CLIENT is a vexatious (frivolous) litigant.
Berman is an extreme opportunist who ‘promotes’ such litigation.

Reply to  Warren
June 13, 2018 3:46 pm

So, a vexatious litigator who has vexatious litigant(s) for client(s).

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