BREAKING: California judge tosses global warming lawsuit against oil companies

Judge Alsup just a few moments ago issued his Opinion and Order shutting down this ridiculous litigation against B.P., Chevron, and others.

He made it easy on himself by asserting several times that it is established, and “both sides” agree, that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic.

But that, he said, is irrelevant because the California government entities’ Nuisance theory is legally just plain crazy.

See the ruling:

California v. B.P. — Judge Alsup’s Opinion Dismissing the Case 6-25-18 (PDF)

Here’s some excerpts:

The issue is not over science. All parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so, and that eventually the navigable waters of the United States will intrude upon Oakland and San Francisco. The issue is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level.

The sole claim for relief is for “public nuisance,” a claim governed by federal common law. The specific nuisance is global-warming induced sea level rise. Plaintiffs’ theory, to repeat, is that defendants’ sale of fossil fuels leads to their eventual combustion, which leads to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to more global warming and consequent ocean rise.

The scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew that the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming. While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with knowledge of the problem would be liable. At one point, counsel seemed to limit liability to those who had promoted allegedly phony science to deny climate change. But at oral argument, plaintiffs’ counsel clarified that any such promotion remained merely a “plus factor.” Their theory rests on the sweeping proposition that otherwise lawful and everyday sales of fossil fuels, combined with an awareness that greenhouse gas
emissions lead to increased global temperatures, constitute a public nuisance.6

A public nuisance under federal common law, both sides agree, is an “unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public,” as set forth in the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 821B(1) (1979). Putting aside momentarily the important issue of displacement, a successful public nuisance claim therefore requires proof that a defendant’s activity unreasonably interferes with the use or enjoyment of a public right and thereby causes the public-at-large substantial and widespread harm. Native Vill. of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849, 855 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Missouri v. Illinois, 200 U.S. 496, 521 (1906)).

No plaintiff has ever succeeded in bringing a nuisance claim based on global warming. But courts that have addressed such claims, as well as the parties here, have turned to the Restatement to analyze whether the common law tort of nuisance can be applied in this context.7 Section 821B of the Restatement sets forth three tests for whether an interference with a public right is unreasonable:

 

(a) Whether the conduct involves a significant interference with the public health, the public safety, the public peace, the public comfort or the public convenience, or
(b) whether the conduct is proscribed by a statute, ordinance or administrative regulation, or
(c) whether the conduct is of a continuing nature or has produced a permanent or long-lasting effect, and, as the actor knows or has reason to know, has a significant effect upon the public right.

 

To be held liable for a public nuisance, a defendant’s interference with a public right can either be intentional, or unintentional and otherwise actionable under principles controlling liability for negligence, recklessness, or abnormally dangerous activities.

Here, plaintiffs seek to impose liability on five companies for their production and sale of fossil fuels worldwide. These claims — through which plaintiffs request billions of dollars to abate the localized effects of an inherently global phenomenon — undoubtedly implicate the interests of countless governments, both foreign and domestic. The challenged conduct is, as far as the complaints allege, lawful in every nation. And, as the United States aptly notes, many
foreign governments actively support the very activities targeted by plaintiffs’ claims (USA Amicus Br. at 18). Nevertheless, plaintiffs would have a single judge or jury in California impose an abatement fund as a result of such overseas behavior. Because this relief would effectively allow plaintiffs to govern conduct and control energy policy on foreign soil, we must exercise great caution.

With respect to balancing the social utility against the gravity of the anticipated harm, it is true that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels has caused (and will continue to cause) global warming. But against that negative, we must weigh this positive: our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted. Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable? This order recognizes but does not resolve these questions, for there is a more direct resolution from the Supreme Court and our court of appeals, next considered.

This order fully accepts the vast scientific consensus that the combustion of fossil fuels has materially increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has increased the median temperature of the planet and accelerated sea level rise. But questions of how to appropriately balance these worldwide negatives against the worldwide positives of the energy itself, and of how to allocate the pluses and minuses among the nations of the world, demand the expertise of our environmental agencies, our diplomats, our Executive, and at least the Senate. Nuisance suits in various United States judicial districts regarding conduct worldwide are far less likely to solve the problem and, indeed, could interfere with reaching a worldwide consensus.

CONCLUSION
It may seem peculiar that an earlier order refused to remand this action to state court on the ground that plaintiffs’ claims were necessarily governed by federal law, while the current order concludes that federal common law should not be extended to provide relief. There is, however, no inconsistency. It remains proper for the scope of plaintiffs’ claims to be decided under federal law, given the international reach of the alleged wrong and given that the instrumentality of the alleged harm is the navigable waters of the United States. Although the scope of plaintiffs’ claims is determined by federal law, there are sound reasons why regulation of the worldwide problem of global warming should be determined by our political branches, not by our judiciary.

In sum, this order accepts the science behind global warming. So do both sides. The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But those dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case. While it remains true that our federal courts have authority to fashion common law remedies for claims based on global warming, courts must also respect and defer to the other co-equal branches of government when the problem at hand clearly deserves a solution best addressed by those branches. The Court will stay its hand in favor of solutions by the legislative and executive branches. For the reasons stated, defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: June 25, 2018.
WILLIAM ALSUP
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 

h/t to Charles the Moderator and James Braden

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204 thoughts on “BREAKING: California judge tosses global warming lawsuit against oil companies

  1. it is also a bit unfair, as national oil companies, like Aramco or Rosneft, control the actual production of much of the oil. The companies sued are distributors and refiners more than producers.

    • OPEC Nations and Russia produce 42 million BOPD, other nations produce 40 million BOPD. Some OPEC and Russian oil producers are private corporations, but all nations control producers, which means they have to abide by national laws and objectives. When it comes to control over natural resources, there’s almost no difference between public and privately operated companies. The USA is an exception because mineral rights are privately owned. However, even in the USA a lease holder has to be proactive and make atempts at developing the reserves, or the royalty owner may claim breach of contract.

      The judge tossed the case because legally selling a product others want to buy and consume, even if it may have some harmful sideffects, doesn’t constitute a nuisance. The garbage logic could also be applied to restaurants who sell well done steak knowing it increases the probability of colon cancer, or automobile manufacturers selling cars when they know thousands of buyers will die in auto accidents.

      • Even more ridiculous than that.

        It’s like suing the mining industry because steel and aluminum are used to manufacture automobiles… and aluminum & sand are used to manufacture beer cans & bottles… Therefore, the mining industry is responsible for drunk driving accidents.

        The Ninth Circus will probably overturn this logical ruling… Which will be a good thing. SCOTUS will be able to slap them down, shutting down similar nuisance lawsuits.

        • ” SCOTUS will be able to slap them down, shutting down similar nuisance lawsuits”
          I don’t think a new precedent is needed. The judge said
          “This order recognizes but does not resolve these questions, for there is a more direct resolution from the Supreme Court and our court of appeals, next considered”

          He is referring to what he seems to regard as the decisive argument – the SC ruling on displacement. That is, having decided that the EPA had power to act in GHG matters, the SC ” the EPA’s authority thereunder to set emission standards have displaced federal common law nuisance claims to enjoin a defendant’s emission of greenhouse gases. “.
          IOW Alsup isn’t creating a precedent; he is following one.

          • More of less. In Massachusetts vs EPA, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that if the EPA determined that CO2 posed an environmental hazard, the Clean Air Act required them to regulate it.

            As such, this rendered lawsuits against fossil fuel companies null and void. This lawsuit should have been summarily dismissed 30 seconds after it was filed.

            However, unlike Massachusetts vs EPA, this judgement revolved around 1) whether or not fossil fuel companies were culpable for potential damages in the future that might result from the legal use of their legal products and 2) the cost-benefit relationship of fossil fuels. Which again brings us back to this suit being frivolous. In order to have standing in Federal court, litigants need to demonstrate the following:

            1. Injury-in-fact: The plaintiff must have suffered or imminently will suffer injury—an invasion of a legally protected interest that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent (that is, neither conjectural nor hypothetical; not abstract).[33] The injury can be either economic, non-economic, or both.

            2. Causation: There must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, so that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant and not the result of the independent action of some third party who is not before the court.[34]

            3. Redressability: It must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that a favorable court decision will redress the injury.[35]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_(law)#Standing_requirements

            Academic nitwits babbling about RCP8.5 turning Earth into Venus with seas of boiling battery acid does not constitute an “injury-in-fact.”

            The IPCC proclaiming that GHG emissions are the cause of at least half of the warming since 1950, doesn’t constitute a causal connection between fossil fuel production and an injury-in-fact.

            It is unlikely that any socialist wealth transfer from productive corporations to societal leaches in California’s state and local government entities will redress anything.

          • David Middleton writes: “The IPCC proclaiming that GHG emissions are the cause of at least half of the warming since 1950, doesn’t constitute a causal connection between fossil fuel production and an injury-in-fact.”

            This is the issue that seems muddled in this judgement. When Alsup writes: “In sum, this order accepts the science behind global warming. So do both sides.” it isn’t clear if he’s making a claim that all sides accept global warming, aka climate change, or whether both sides and presumably the court accept the science of anthopogenic global warming. Those of us who’ve been watching this debate unfold over the course of three decades fully understand the difference between those positions and most of us maintain the causal evidence in support of AGW is insufficient.

            Has the court inadvertently validated the legal standing of the AGW hypothesis?

      • And the garbage logic could also be applied to restaurants who sell under-done steak knowing it increases the probability of food poisoning. No steak for you!!

    • 50% of oil & gas comes from the big 8:
      Aramco 14%
      Gazprom 8.5%.
      Nat Iranian 8.5%
      Qatar Pet 5%
      Rosneft 5%
      Abu Dhabi Nat 5%
      Petrochina 5%
      ExxonMobil 4%

  2. “He (Judge Alsup) made it easy on himself by asserting several times that it is established, and “both sides” agree, that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic.”

    This is what happens when you allow lawyers to do science- you get political science.

    • For the record, I am pleased with the decision. As my old boss Chuck said to me once:
      “Al, take Yes for an answer!”

      My objection (your honour), is that “Global Warming is real, BUT IS NOT serious, and AT MOST IS ONLY PARTLY anthropogenic.”

      Any argument that suggests that climate sensitivity to increasing atmospheric CO2 (aka “ECS”) is greater than about 1C/(2xCO2) IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE. At 1C/(doubling), THERE IS NO DANGEROUS GLOBAL WARMING – IT IS A FALSE CRISIS.

      I blame weak senior management of energy companies, including their boards, for not standing up to global warming falsehoods, now the greatest fraud in dollar terms in the history of humanity. They have betrayed their shareholders AND the public by acquiescing to this huge scam, which has cost humanity tens of trillions of dollars of scarce global resources, and probably millions of lives due to energy poverty.

      Exceptions were Lee Raymond at Exxon and Jim Buckee at Talisman, who were highly educated men-of-principle, who will stand out in history as examples of the very few energy executives who spoke the truth on this matter, while other energy execs hid in the shadows.

      Finally, here are some Notes for Judge Alsup.

      I’ve added a few points to my 2008 and 2015 papers that “close the loop” on my observed ~9 month delay of atmospheric CO2 AFTER global temperature.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/06/11/nasas-jimbridenstine-has-reversed-his-position-on-climate-change-and-can-no-longer-be-trusted/#comment-2376151

      Regards, Allan

      • Yes, we now have Federal legal precedent accepting “the vast scientific consensus that the combustion of fossil fuels has materially increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has increased the median temperature of the planet and accelerated sea level rise.” I’m not sure that the skeptical side won here.

        • As I said elsewhere, Dicta (excess verbiage in an opinion) is never precedent. It’s unimportant. What we DO have as precedent (limited since this is only a District Court) is that the harm caused by any Global Warming is a non-justiciable legal question that needs to be addressed by the other branches of government, not by the judiciary.

          And that is a HUGE win for us. This is what Victory looks like. It’s never everything you want, but it’s still good to have.

          • It is not a matter of Dicta.

            The concession will always bind the Defendants, at least in the State, and possibly at Federal level. Whilst theoretically the concession may not bind the Defendants in other jurisdictions, in practice a concession made in one Court is almost always followed in another Court, and it would be extremely difficult for the Defendants to now back track.

            Of course, the concession only binds the actual Defendants, not other fossil fuel companies/suppliers etc. But that said, other Defendants will find it more difficult to challenge AGW since a Court will attach some weight to the fact that so many large fossil fuel companies (who have scientists and who have been investigating the matter for years) accept that AGW is real and of concern. That concession will be viewed as Expert evidence in other Courts across the globe. Of course a different defendant will be able to advance his own expert evidence, but that other expert evidence will be up against the concession.

            But as I note below, the concession will enbolden Governments, and is a great PR coup for the warmist agenda adding further weight to the 97% consensus.

            I consider it difficult to understate the harm that the concession to AGW will have going forward.

          • The question has never been whether anthropogenic emissions cause some climate change. The question has always been how much change do they cause, how much change will they cause in the future, and what should be done about it. I happen to know that fossil fuel resources have limits, can see the way oil companies are gradually turning to produce natural gas and slowing down investment in oil production, and when I hang everything together I have to conclude atmospheric concentrations will be capped in the 630 ppm range. So the question becomes whether the focus should be on energy transition to something poor nations can afford and should be encouraged to use, or mindlessly installing solar panels.

          • Expert opinion, maybe, not expert evidence. But wouldn’t a party be required to provide actual evidence if a suit was brought on the basis of that expert opinion?

          • In Court proceedings, the general position is that one can only give opinion evidence, if one is an expert in the field on which the opinion is opined.

            Accordingly, by definition Expert evidence and Expert Opinion are one and the same.

            Of course, in any proceedings (unless there is an agreement to a document only procedure), the Expert has to put himself up for cross examination on the Report that the Expert has submitted. In that Report, the Expert will refer to authority supporting his view. Any Expert will now be able to substantiate their Expert Opinion on AGW being caused by the burning of fossil fuels, by citing in support that Chevron, who are one of the predominate Experts in the use of fossil fuels, is of the Expert opinion that AGW is real and is caused by the use of fossil fuels and that AGW is causing sea level rise etc etc, Also with Exxon Mobil, Conoco Philips, BP, Shell etc.

            As we know from the #Exxonknewit campaign, some of these guys have been researching the subject since the 1970s. Any Court will regard these parties as predominate Experts in the field. Even more so, since their Expert Opinion runs contrary to their own commercial interests, and since their Opinion is not partisan it will carry even greater evidential value than usual.

          • This is a YUGE win, particularly if 9th Circus overturns this decision and SCOTUS overturns 9th Circus.

            Had the oil companies fought this over the science in court, they would have lost. In the eyes of most judges, including 5 current SCOTUS justices, the EPA, NOAA, NASA and IPCC bureaucrats are the ultimate arbiters of the science.

            There were only two pathways to winning: 1) legal culpability and 2) cost vs benefits of fossil fuels and regulatory malfeasance.

          • I absolutely agree! (from lay layman’s perspective)
            The Judge did not RULE that ““the vast scientific consensus that the combustion of fossil fuels has materially increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has increased the median temperature of the planet and accelerated sea level rise.”
            He merely acknowledged that both sides were in agreement on that point.
            – With both sides “in agreement”it was therefore not something that needed to be decided in his finding.
            – Since it was not a court ruling I don’t see how it can be considered precedent.

          • “As I said elsewhere, Dicta (excess verbiage in an opinion) is never precedent.”

            Actually it IS precedent. Its called nonbinding precedent, and courts very often cite nonbinding precedent of others to support their decision, to show they are not the first. Just wait and see how liberal courts use this to support their opinions.
            You are correct thought to the extent that it is not binding precedent though.

        • As I note below:

          A dangerous precedent has been set by their admission on AGW. Governments, across the globe, are more likely to advance the green agenda if the largest fossil fuel industries accept AGW is real, and of concern.

          We will now hear that not only do 97% of scientist agree that AGW is real etc, but so too do the large fossil fuel companies. The force is strong and with the consensus, and it will now be more difficult for the Jedi Knights to return.

          From a sceptical scientific point of view, this decision was not a good decision.

          • Perhaps, from the viewpoint of science – but you must understand that this was NOT a scientific venue, Courts are horrible places to determine any scientific questions. This was a Legal Venue, and the Legal Question was decided in the best possible way for those of our views.

            The answer from the court was this – “So what if all your ideas about Global Warming are gospel truth? Doesn’t matter, the Courts are not the place for you to try to do anything about it. Now go away or we shall Taunt you a Second Time.”

          • Every day, Courts are determining Expert evidence. They are very used to adjudicating on this.

            In fact a forensic approach as taken by a Court is exactly what would be needed if there was a Red Team/Blue Team debate.

            So what, it does not matter was relevant to this particular action, but it may not be relevant to other issues that need to be determined.

            Certainly, Governments will be enboldened since it is now clear that it is not only warmist activists who consider AGW real and causing Sea Level rise, but so do the major fossil fuel suppliers, such that there is now agreement across all sides of the spectrum.

            This really isolates sceptics. If the major fossil fuel suppliers are not sceptical, sceptics will find that they are very much a lone voice in the wilderness, and it will become ever more difficult to pull back on the Green Agenda.

            This Court case does not help President Trump, and it further isolates him.

          • richard verney

            Every day, Courts are determining Expert evidence. They are very used to adjudicating on this.
            ——-
            Of course richard, but you see, according to Expert “evidence” about climate change and AGW, the four expert testimonies before Congress in this subject as per scientific method, technically block any value of any other expertise or expert evidence in any court to be taken, or given, with any possible weight or value, as that will contradict the very meaning of legal or constitutional exercise….

            These four testimonies before Congress hold high, and can not be contradicted in lower courts….I think.

            I do not think courts can put their authority above that of Congress…especially when it comes to testimonial evidence value, and implication of a contradiction there……but that is me, as I understand it.

            cheers

        • Jim: From another Retired Engineer Jim who also is a retired JD: What you are citing is considered “obiter dictum”; that is, a statement that is beside the point and not required to reach the judgment. Therefore, it is not a controlling precedent. So, relax. Go fishing. Drink beer. Enjoy life.

      • I agree, Alan. The impact of this victory is more than somewhat diminished by proclaiming ‘the science is settled’ and that everyone agrees. If the lukewarmists do agree then please put a precise value on the anthropogenic contribution to 20th century warming.

      • Lee Raymond was a no-nonsense SOB. As I recall, he had an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering and clearly understood the nature of the IPCC fraud. Wood also has a ChE background, I think. Too bad he isn’t another Lee Raymond.

      • Keep in mind that the main thrust of the CAGW activists is against coal and will have little effect on natural gas and oil markets other than to increase them. These are oil & gas companies, not coal companies. They have no reason to be concerned that wind and solar will hurt their gas business or that EVs will replace liquid fuels in vehicles. Only a massive increase in nuclear power has the potential to substantially reduce demand for gas and oil.

      • “This is what happens when you allow lawyers to do science- you get political science.”

        I proved in 2008 that atmospheric CO2 trends up approx. 9 months AFTER Global Temperature; Humlum et al reached a similar conclusion in 2013.

        In this case, all parties agree that increasing atmospheric CO2 is the primary driver of global warming, AND THUS THE FUTURE IS CAUSING THE PAST. The case will proceed on that basis.

        Cogito, ergo bullsh!t. 🙂
        ________________________________

        PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE SUGGESTING TEMPERATURE DRIVES ATMOSPHERIC CO2 MORE THAN CO2 DRIVES TEMPERATURE
        By Allan M.R. MacRae, P.Eng., June 13, 2015
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/13/presentation-of-evidence-suggesting-temperature-drives-atmospheric-co2-more-than-co2-drives-temperature/

        Observations and Conclusions:

        1. Temperature, among other factors, drives atmospheric CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record. The rate of change dCO2/dt vs. temperature graph follows:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/mean:12/derivative/plot/uah5/from:1979/scale:0.22/offset:0.14

        2. CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.

        3. Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.

        4. CO2 is the feedstock for carbon-based life on Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are clearly CO2-deficient. CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.

        5. Based on the evidence, Earth’s climate is insensitive to increased atmospheric CO2 – there is no global warming crisis.

        6. Recent global warming was natural and irregularly cyclical – the next climate phase following the ~20 year pause will probably be global cooling, starting by ~2020 or sooner.

        7. Adaptation is clearly the best approach to deal with the moderate global warming and cooling experienced in recent centuries.

        8. Cool and cold weather kills many more people than warm or hot weather, even in warm climates. There are about 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths every year in the USA and about 10,000 in Canada.

        9. Green energy schemes have needlessly driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability and contributed to increased winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor.

        10. Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.

        Allan MacRae, Calgary, June 12, 2015

        REFERENCES:

        “CARBON DIOXIDE IS NOT THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING:
        THE FUTURE CAN NOT CAUSE THE PAST”
        By Allan MacRae, January 2008
        http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf
        Spreadsheet at
        http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRaeFig5b.xls

        THE PHASE RELATION BETWEEN ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE AND GLOBAL TEMPERATURE
        Ole Humlum, Kjell Stordahl, Jan-Erik Solheim
        Global and Planetary Change, Volume 100, January 2013, Pages 51-69
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658

        “COLD WEATHER KILLS 20 TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE AS HOT WEATHER“
        By Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015
        https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

    • This is pretty typical in court. It goes like: Even if we accept ‘A’, the other side’s case is still garbage.

      There’s no point spending time arguing ‘A’ if you don’t have to.

      The important thing is that you aren’t admitting ‘A’ and the judge doesn’t have to rule on ‘A’.

      • Exactly, legally this is a very good decision, and perfectly appropriate. Not only did it throw this case out, his reasoning provides the framework to toss out any suit of this type any where in the US. It’s not binding precedent at this level, but it will be difficult for any future court to counter his findings.

        And as you say, the main finding here was “ok, even if your theory of global warming is true, you can’t use the US Court system to do anything about it.”.

      • But doesn’t that then set the precedent as “ruling” ‘that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic’ for future Californian court cases by implicitly accepting it as “fact”?

        • Both sides in this case agreed that global warming is a ‘thing’. That means the judge didn’t have to rule on global warming. That means that there is no precedent.

          The judge also talks about the benefits of fossil fuels.

          Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted. Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable? This order recognizes but does not resolve these questions

          Note that he also doesn’t rule on the benefits of fossil fuels because he can rule on something else. For that he cites rulings of the Supreme Court as well as appeals courts.

          In light of this ruling, my wild-ass guess is that other such lawsuits will have a hard time in America.

          • “In light of this ruling, my wild-ass guess is that other such lawsuits will have a hard time in America.:

            I agree completely – especially in the way that Allsup demonstrated that this issue must be treated as a cost/benefit situation. The eco-warriors have always reacted with horror to that idea, since they know that they must always lose if that is taken into consideration.

        • The court merely acknowledged that both sides were in agreement. The court bypassed the point completely.

      • The important thing is that you aren’t admitting ‘A’ and the judge doesn’t have to rule on ‘A’.

        I have not read the Judgment, but many months ago when articles on this dispute were posted, I understood that the Defendants, in their pleadings, did not take the position that you state, but actually conceded that AGW was real and of concern. I understood that they essentially accepted the Claimant’s case on that.

        I recall taking issue with Ritsvan, who is a US attorney, and is a frequent commentator on this blog. I recall Ritsvan stating that the Defendant’s had conceded the AGW point, and he thought it was sensible that they had done that, and I argued with him that such a concession was not sensible, and need not have been made.

      • Many were hoping for a confrontation about The Science. That didn’t happen, but we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

      • I have now quickly looked at the Judgment.

        The material point is that set out at page 6, lines 6 to 10, which reads:

        The issue is not over science. All parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so, and that eventually the navigable waters of the United States will intrude upon Oakland and San Francisco. The issue is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level. (my emphasis)

        The Judge could have simply stated: The issue in this case is not over science, since all parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so. Given the Defendants’ concession on the science, the issue before this Court is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level.

        That is what transpired and that is how the paragraph on page 6 will be interpreted by other Courts.

        This is not a decision by this Court which binds other Courts, but it is a concession made in the course of Court proceedings that will bind the Defendants, for all practical purposes, in any Jurisdiction, anywhere within the world.

        If the Defendants were to be sued in another Jurisdiction, it would be all but impossible for them to back track on that concession, unless the science had moved on such that there is no longer a consensus about AGW being driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

        It also hampers any other potential Defendant who may wish to challenge the science, since this concession by a group of the largest fossil fuel companies will be referred to the different Court, and that Court will likely see it as part of the Expert evidence supporting the (new) Plaintiff’s case. A different Court will likely view the fossil fuel companies involved in this case, as preeminent Experts in the use and effect of using fossil fuels.

          • Seeing as all the “new data” will be manipulated and controlled by the same ilk as the bullshit they call “data” today, that isn’t a great hope.

            I’d rather have them admit they cynically “agreed” just to dispense of the stupid case, and that they, in fact, did not agree at all.

      • Yes, but the idiots representing the oil companies should have presented it EXACTLY in that manner – i.e., “EVEN IF we accept ‘A,’ the other side’s case is still garbage.” NOT “We agree, but their case is still garbage.” THAT was a stupid thing to stipulate.

    • This is most troubling. He (the judge)’s promulgating the allegation that CO2 is raising sea-level. Real science does not support this!

  3. “These molecules then re-radiate the energy in all directions, including back towards Earth’s surface.”

    It seems that Judge Aslop understands the science better than many. At least relative to the radiative influence of GHG’s on the surface, i.e. thermalization is negligible and that the atmosphere doesn’t make the surface warmer by collisions of gas molecules with the surface, but by BB radiation originating from the water in clouds and emissions by GHG molecules.

    “This determination, in turn, involves “the weighing of the gravity of the harm against the
    utility of the conduct,””

    He also understands that even if the IPCC was right about the size of the effect, CO2 emissions, specifically those arising by utilizing fossil fuels, provide more benefit to humanity than harm.

    “The dangers raised in the complaints are very real.”

    Luckily, while this is definitely not true, there were enough legal arguments to make the case go away. A more truthful statement would have been: “The dangers raised in the complaint are real, but massively overstated”.

    • Co2noevil, and to speak the words the wouldbe plutocracy and their enablers do not wish to hear, the massive benefit to the planet and its grateful, expanding biosphere with a galloping greening now increased by 20% in 30yrs due to added CO2, cries out to be added to the benefits side of the scales. Somewhere (google is not your friend in this case) there was an estimate of carbon fertilization that was 20 trillion dollars worth in increased harvests alone. Since crops are only a fraction of the ” greening” A value of several hundred trillion seems a reasonable estimate of these benefits.

      • Nah. How about, “The dangers raised in the complaint are purely hypothetical, and are not quantifiable.”

    • — Luckily, while this is definitely not true, there were enough legal arguments to make the case go away. A more truthful statement would have been: “The dangers raised in the complaint are real, but massively overstated”. —

      However, if the judge took a stand like that, this is now grounds for the appeal…. the judge is a skeptic that ignores the experts etc. The judge very carefully said that each side, and he, aren’t arguing over global warming. They’re arguing over appropriate remedies, and there are none available via the court system.

        • Mr Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was once abjured to “Do justice, Mr. Holmes”. To which he replied that he did law, not justice.

      • My experience has been that lawyers and judges do not have the technical background required in order to address t he scientific validity of global warming. They fall back on the practice of using expert witnesses. And so we go….

    • They are so massively overstated that in point of fact, they are NOT real. To characterize them as “dangers” is complete nonsense.

  4. Ugh. Correct ruling, horrible legal opinion. Judge posits “facts” not in evidence.

      • I think you need to read the ruling again guys. Facts and Findings of Fact have certain meanings in rulings for future cases. The word “fact” does not appear once in this dismissal ruling.

      • Was this ruling based on applied factualism? I think a limited set of facts, maybe, but nothing approaching the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.

        I think there is one very important, very pertinent question that begs an answer that is still lacking: IS IT GETTING WARMER? Or are the so-called “facts” that indicate that it is getting warmer being derived from “adjusted” temperature readings?

        factualism
        See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
        noun
        emphasis on, devotion to, or extensive reliance upon facts:
        As in “the FACTUALISM of SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT.”

        • Tom: We are still in an interglacial period during which the earth warms, and warms, and warms…until it doesn’t. Then back into another ice age. The question is not whether it is getting warmer, but whether increasing CO2 (which increases seem to follow, not lead increases in temperature) has a measurable and deleterious effect. So far the warmists have not done too well in predicting consequences. As I recall, the Major Deagan Expressway still has not been subsumed with water (as James Hansen predicted).

  5. I don’t like that the judge still talks about “acceleration of sea level rise.” Really? Where? I used to go visit my grandparents every summer when I was a kid – they lived on the coast of Texas. When my grandfather died (at 102 a couple of years ago) the beach still was *exactly the same* as 30+ years ago (isn’t 30 years the magic number?). I think it leaves an out for the cities to try again.

    • I just found out sea level appears to be dropping a small amount where I live, but that’s caused by the ground rising slowly as mountains are built in this area. I bring this up because I wonder if there’s credit for areas where sea level rise reduces costs a small amount because it keeps boats from grounding on rock shoals as they come to the local port and marinas?

    • I read once that the last ice age resulted in sea levels that were hundreds of feet lower than present. I count it as a positive that it is warmer today.

  6. I read the whole ruling, which ends with this:

    “….For the reasons stated, defendants’ motion to dismiss is
    GRANTED
    .
    IT IS SO ORDERED”

    Good for the judge…

    (I wonder if this will end up in the US Supreme Court??)

    • Of course it will end up in the Supreme Court. The fundamental basis of law nowadays is, if the litigants have got the money, keep on litigating until you hit a brick wall. As lawyers, there is no downside to it. Litigation is what you do and what you get paid for, never mind if there is no real purpose to it.

      • No, it is very unlikely that this goes any farther. The plaintiffs may appeal to the 9th Circuit, but to grant the appeal, the 9th Circuit will have to find that Judge Allsup made an Error of Law in his ruling (not just that they disagree with it). His ruling appears very legally sound – I do not think he left open any grounds for a successful appeal.

        • Yes. If its anything like the court of appeal in the UK it is only there to correct errors of interpretation of the law, not to change the law.

          Parliament does that.

          I have a friend whose son was severely brain damaged in a hospital. She brought him in to A & E, where he was not seen immediately, died, was resuscitated and survived a further 12 years or so as a mindless unruly animal.

          She sued the hospital for negligence.

          The ruling was that since no one had actually seen the patient, there could be no negligence.

          The only recourse AIUI would have been to lobby parliament to change the law, but no one wanted that..to be negligent not even knowing that a problem existed was a precedent too far…

          This case seems similar. The judge understands the legal ramifications of result B a million miles removed from action A being actionable. Some Afghani woman sues a US armament firm because her son was killed by a US made rifle?

          There has to be a limit on liability.

          • I recall a case in Law School that dealt with exactly that. Can’t recall the style.
            Fire that spread was not attributable to the Railroad because liability has to stop somewhere. I suspect that that case has been overruled or ignored in present tort law.

        • The Judge made it clear that the case was all about Law.

          Appeal lies if there has been an error of law.

          If the trial judge did not grant leave to appeal, the Plaintiff would have to apply to the Appeal Court for leave. At that stage, it is not necessary that the Plaintiff makes good his argument that there has been an error of law. He need only show that there is an arguable case, and the case is one of public importance.

          Clearly, the Plaintiffs will be able to establish the public importance issue, what could be more important than a matter that nearly all the leaders of the free world have hyped as posing an existential threat to mankind, and the Plaintiffs are a governmental/quasi governmental body representing the citizens and people of California.

          So the only issue is whether there is an arguable case of error by the trial judge. Whilst I consider the decision sound, it was effectively a flood gate argument (no pun intended) and flood gate arguments are essentially policy issues, where does one draw a line in the sand, such that a higher Court may consider it worthy that they make a ruling on the flood gate point.

          I can see the possibility that leave to appeal could be obtained, although it would appear to be a futile exercise. At the end of the day, any appeal is unlikely to succeed since the judge’s reasoning appears sound.

          Given the PR success that the Plaintiff has obtained namely that the largest fossil fuel producers agree that AGW is real and causing sea level rise, it is questionable whether the Plaintiff’s position would be improved by the further pursuit of legal proceedings. But it is complex in view of the other actions in the pipeline, and the Plaintiffs in those other actions may wish to see this decision appealed since the decision prejudices the other potential actions. But then again since the decision at first instance is not binding on other Courts, it may be that those other Plaintiffs would not like a decision by the appeal Court, preferring to take their chances with a friendly judge in their jurisdiction. If they were then successful, there would be conflicting decisions of two different lower Courts. If that were to happen, the Defendants in the other actions would no doubt take the matter to the appeal Court which would want to take the case on given that there would then be two conflicting decisions and hence the law needs to be clarified.

          A man with limitless money can be very stupid, so expect to see the State waste as much of tax payers’ money as they can. There are many more good lunches to be dined out on this one.

      • If I were the plaintiffs I would leave well enough alone. The risk of getting a higher court to endorse the decision is a real one. Take the loss and carry on.

        • But they have already won the larger battle, and the decision further isolates President Trump, and one can imagine how the MSM will spin it against him.

        • And therein lies the difference between a sensible person and someone dealing with taxpayer money.

  7. “It is established, and both sides agree, that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic.”

    Now write it out a hundred times.

    • zazove

      What a waste of time and effort! The punishment achieves nothing and, as with many situations in classrooms, is based only on whom the teacher believes to be responsible without any actual hard evidence. And, of course, even if you did write it out a hundred times, that doesn’t make it true! That requires proof……have you got any?

        • It was only because of the bullying by the black jury members forcing the white members off that OJ was found not guilty in his first (criminal) trial. OJ was found guilty in the subsequent civil trial.

          But yes, AGW is just so much crap.

    • Real, beneficial and of unknown origin
      Real, beneficial and of unknown origin
      Real, beneficial and of unknown origin
      Real, beneficial and of unknown origin
      Real, beneficial and of unknown origin

      • CO2 is a resource, not a problem. We are at ~25 monkeys who agree on this. When it is 100 monkeys, this issue and website will have fulfilled it’s calling, and will go on to be a discussion of how to manage it wisely.

    • This was legal wrangling. That both sides agree is a legal stipulation, not a scientific fact. No one has the ability to prove what the relative proportion of anthropogenic forcing is, let alone what fraction fossil fuel combustion is.

      • By emphasizing the unity of thought on the effect of CO2 emissions, without stating the scale of that influence, the judge made it very difficult to say there were errors of material fact when the plaintiffs might try to get an appeal rolling. It is the plaintiffs who claimed it is a global problem. The judge correctly noted that global problems cannot be adjudicated in his court.

        He locked the larder. He didn’t even toss them a bone.

        • Generally, one cannot appeal errors of fact so it would not matter if the Judge made a mistake on the facts..

    • zazove,

      You write that down in your notebook. Oil companies do not deny AGW, or even that it is serious, which is arguable even if the oil companies happen to say so.

      Why is that? Because the higher energy price is, the more income they get. Higher prices means lots of business for them. As long as these litigations and taxing keeps being moderate.

      • Z: A higher price that is due to a tax makes no money for the oil companies. It just hits the consumer.

    • I got off a parking ticket not because I had in fact paid to park and could prove it, but because the parking authority STARTED by charging me with a failure to pay, and ended up changing the charge to ‘failure to display correctly’.

      This is against the rules. You have to stick to your charge.

      If they had originally said ‘failure to display correctly’ I would still have had to pay the fine…despite having paid to park.

      Judges look beyond the case in hand to see if they are inadvertently setting legal precedents.

      Sometimes the facts are not the issue.

    • Coming from the troll who routinely screams about how anyone who doesn’t have a degree in climate science should be ignored. This is really funny.

    • The plaintiffs will try – but I do not believe that Judge Allsup left open any grounds for a successful appeal.

      • We’re talking the 9th here. If they can’t find what they want in existing law, they’ll just invent something.

  8. Wow just wow.
    A very enlightening read, well worth your time.

    Two things stand out to me,
    1) the judge seems to think the benefits outweigh the nuisance (pg 8, line 17 and down)
    2) he argues (and then rules) that global warming is an issue that needs to be resolved by the other branches of government not the courts.

    The second seems a bit of a cop out but i think the first point will put a stop to many potential claims in the future.

    Now if we can only find such a wise judge in every country where the greens are playing this suing game the world would be a much better place.

    • 2) he argues (and then rules) that global warming is an issue that needs to be resolved by the other branches of government not the courts.

      The second seems a bit of a cop out but i think the first point will put a stop to many potential claims in the future.”

      The legal term of art is that it is a “non justiciable issue” and that has a very long heritage. It used to be applied much more widely until the Court system started to chip away at the authority of the various Legislatures. The idea, simply put, is that there are some issues that are so politicized that they should only be handled by the legislature.

    • “2) he argues (and then rules) that global warming is an issue that needs to be resolved by the other branches of government not the courts.”
      _________________________

      He seems to be suggesting that what we really need is a global, intergovernmental scientific body dedicated to providing an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts. Where would we get one of those?

      • “He seems to be suggesting that…”

        I think that you are going way beyond what the judge actually said. In fact, I think there are a number of things he very deliberately didn’t say, if for no other reason than that they would have become the subject of an appeal. He very sensibly limited his ruling to just those issues that justified his decision.

    • “The second seems a bit of a cop”

      It’s not a cop out, it’s just the judge doing his job properly.
      The courts aren’t there to make the law. If something isn’t covered under current law, then it’s the job of the legislative branch to fix the problem.

  9. I cringe when he calls carbon dioxide “pollution”, but otherwise he took a tack I have used many times myself, “Even if everything said by the warmunists is 100% correct, you might as well just get used to it, because it has taken the entire Industrial Revolution to get us to this point, it would take at least that long to unwind it again, and I don’t think we can unwind it without killing us all first.” It’s recognized as reasonable by all who have any reasonableness left.

    • He used ‘pollution” to make it difficult to claim he made a material error. The plaintiffs are the ones claiming it is pollution. They cannot now say he was unconvinced. They said it was global, which proved to be the undoing of their case.

      The rebuttal is complete. A local court could have ruled in favour if there were claims of local causes and effect, like an oil spill. The plaintiffs made no such claim. They went after all oil and gas sales. Their intention was to cause disproportionate harm to the companies. Spend a little, hurt a lot, declare the court supports CAGW.

      It didn’t work.

      • It extracted the most sensitive (political) concession one can get, and the case now further isolates President Trump. So much for Climate Change being a hoax, AGW is now accepted across the spectrum as real and causing Sea Level rise. It will enbolden Governments to pursue would be projects that supposedly mitigate the harm

  10. Inherently the judge points out the good that fossil fuels do for mankind.

    ‘This order fully accepts the vast scientific consensus that the combustion of fossil fuels
    has materially increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has increased the
    median temperature of the planet and accelerated sea level rise. But questions of how to
    appropriately balance these worldwide negatives against the worldwide positives of the energy’
    [There is no evidence of an increased rate of change of sea level rise]

    Then kicks the issue upstairs to the politicians.
    Practically many countries have done the cost benefit analysis, the latest Japan, and are burning more fossil fuels.
    Perhaps even Australia will decide to keep manufacturing while keeping the lights and a/cs on also.

    • ‘This order fully accepts the vast scientific consensus that the combustion of fossil fuels
      has materially increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has increased the
      median temperature of the planet and accelerated sea level rise.”

      Is this a factual statement that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

      If it is getting warmer, why do the temperature records of the National Weather Service office in Atlanta, GA the office that is nearest to where I live have a history of temperatures that says that the hottest local temperatures for the months of June and July were during the 1950s — More than half a century ago?

      What is the difference between ‘skepticism’ and ‘factualism?’
      Factualism definition, emphasis on, devotion to, or extensive reliance upon facts: the factualism of scientific experiment.

      Does it make sense that local National Weather Service measured temperatures would decrease during a time when global mean temperatures are increasing?

      Can you pronounce malarkey?

      • The judge avoided statements that would allow the plaintifs grounds for appeal. Not malarkey, but I agree that at some stage, we need to settle the issue of the science once and for all.

    • “Perhaps even Australia will decide to keep manufacturing while keeping the lights and a/cs on also.”

      Sorry, I see no sign of our politicians coming to their senses.

    • The judge has an engineering background as MoB pointed out. I like to think that helped! That and the obvious insanity of in effect suing the whole of the world.

  11. Election of Trump just in time. Im only a geologist/ engineer but I, and most here could see such obvious gaping illogical holes in the suit, that if shreds of logic still survive the onslaught of Liliputian progressives, the judgement had to go this way. Nevertheless with what we’ve seen done in climate science in a post normal world, the rise of Luddite social justice warriors, activist lefty judges in the deep state and governments “dissolving their people” as Mark Stein likes to describe it, I wasnt one to bet on this obvious outcome. It would have gone the other way had HRC been crowned.

    • The Solution – Poem by Bertolt Brecht

      After the uprising of the 17th June
      The Secretary of the Writers Union
      Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
      Stating that the people
      Had forfeited the confidence of the government
      And could win it back only
      By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
      In that case for the government
      To dissolve the people
      And elect another?

      This brilliant work is from 1953 following the East Berlin uprising but feels very contemporary. The uprising probably influenced the coup in USSR that led to the fall of the monster Beria nine days later and the rise of Khrushchev.

  12. I didn’t see the words “with prejudice” or “without prejudice”. Can someone expound on those meanings and why it wasn’t appropriate in this ruling. TY

  13. Hot Damn!
    Another shining beam of truth spotlights the senseless stupidity of these ‘intimidation leads to money thieving’ SLAP lawsuits!

  14. Terrible ruling! Sets a precedence that oil companies ‘admit’ to culpability!
    This is foolish on their part.
    Better to take the blame for ending the last ice age.

    • Big oil deserves everything it has coming to it.
      Unfortunately it’s you and I who’ll ultimately pay for it (as their customers).
      All big oil executives are now left leaning (the institutions have made certain of this).
      Shell and BP in particular are run by hard-left puppets beholden to the big fund managers and their UN handlers.

    • “dicta” is the extraneous verbiage in a decided case. A whole lot of nonsense language happens in the “dicta” in cases at all levels. However, the only words in this case that have any precedential value are “Case Dismissed”.

    • Well, in their filings the oil companies did admit as such. This gets them off the hook for the stipulation that they’re trying to mislead people. Whether they would admit behind closed doors that there’s any real problem is immaterial. As a public face, they’re non-skeptic despite what the greens try to tar them with.

  15. I guess this goes to show that lawyers and judges are not into key issues like scale or statistical relevance. They gravitate to the declarative statements.

  16. Oil companies would have had the same decision had they walked into court and said nothing but “AGW is BS”. Why do you think the oil companies will never say AGW is BS?

    You want me splain it to you again? 🙂

  17. They needed a convenient excuse to shut the case down, as they were all being exposed as frauds.

  18. It’s good that the bad guys lost. It’s a rotten shame, though, that the judge ignored the expert testimony in this amicus brief:

    http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Happer-Koonin-Lindzen.pdf

    The claim that anthropogenic climate change is a significant cause of sea-level rise is simply wrong. Sea-level is rising no faster now than it was nine decades ago, when the first Model A rolled off Henry Ford’s production line.

    Sea-level is rising in some places, and falling in others, and there is evidence in some long measurement records (esp. Brest, France) of a slight acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise coincident with the Earth’s emergence, in the mid-to-late 1800s, from the Little Ice Age. But despite substantial global warming, most long, high-quality, sea-level measurement records show no significant acceleration since the 1920s or before.

    Here are two of the highest-quality sea-level measurement records, each with well over a century of continuous data, from tectonically stable locations, on opposite sides of the globe, and also two high-quality measurement records from locations where local sea-level is falling because the ground is rising:

    http://sealevel.info/Wismar_Honolulu_Oslo_Stockholm_vs_CO2_annot1.png
    https://sealevel.info/Wismar_Honolulu_Oslo_Stockholm_vs_CO2_annot1.png
    http://sealevel.info/MSL_graph.php?id=Wismar&boxcar=1&boxwidth=3
    http://sealevel.info/MSL_graph.php?id=Honolulu&boxcar=1&boxwidth=3
    http://sealevel.info/MSL_graph.php?id=Oslo&boxcar=1&boxwidth=3
    http://sealevel.info/MSL_graph.php?id=Stockholm&boxcar=1&boxwidth=3

    The trends are obviously very different between the first two and last two graphs. But they all show the same lack of acceleration, and the same indifference to CO2 level.

    All the highest-quality, long, sea-level measurement records show the same lack of significant acceleration over the last nine decades or more:

    http://sealevel.info/MSL_global_thumbnails5.html
    https://sealevel.info/154_thumbnails.png

    When someone tells you that sea level rise has accelerated significantly in response to rising CO2 levels, he is either confused or untruthful. I’ve seen several common errors:

    ● He could be relying on too-brief time periods. Because the ocean sloshes up and down on decadal time scales, the literature indicates that 50-60 years of coastal measurements are needed to establish a robust trend. Or,

    ● He could be using too-long periods, e.g., by averaging in the 19th century measurements (when CO2 levels changed little, but sea-level rise accelerated slightly). Or,
    He could be using cherry-picked studies, or cherry-picked locations, with unusual trends and/or low data quality. Or,

    ● He could be making a mountain out of a molehill. E.g., the other day there was a flurry of articles about a supposed huge increase in Antarctic ice melt — which actually amounted to just 0.3 inches in 25 years. Or,

    ● He could be a non-scientist, deceived by cherry-picked news stories. E.g., at about the same time that there was reported an apparent uptick in Antarctic ice melt, the opposite happened in Greenland. Greenland usually loses much more ice than Antarctica, but it actually gained ice in the 2016-2017 glaciological season, according to DMI — and that news got almost no press. Or,

    ● He could be omitting or botching statistical uncertainty calculations (beware of graphs with no confidence intervals!). Or,

    ● He could he could be using apples-to-oranges comparisons; e.g., satellite altimetry spliced onto coastal measurements

    That last mistake is perhaps the most common error made by people who claim sea-level rise is accelerating. They use data from different locations for different times, sometimes even data measured by entirely different means. Since sea-level trends vary considerably from one location to another, that blunder can create the illusion of acceleration, even when none of the locations studied actually experienced any sea-level rise acceleration.

    The “mountain out of a molehill” error is also very common, not just about sea-level, but for almost everything having to do with climate change. E.g., do you remember the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak? A WaPo story about it (one of many) was entitled, “California gas leak was the worst man-made greenhouse-gas disaster in U.S. history.” They surely used up most of the apocalyptic terms in their thesaurus: “massive,” “worst,” “historic,” “disaster” and “huge.”

    Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well, that massive, worst, historic, huge disaster caused a temporary, unmeasurably tiny 0.002% increase in atmospheric methane.

    And, of course, the WaPo refused to run a correction, or even a Letter to the Editor about it:

    http://sealevel.info/Rejected_letter_to_the_editor_about_Aliso_Canyon-WaPo.html

  19. Great news but given the huge dollars and rich families and foundations behind the green movement, this isn’t the end of these lawsuits.

    They are just going to try different tactics and/or shop for judges favorable to their points of view.

    • They shopped for this judge. In other cases, he’s had a reputation of being fairly liberal. Another reason this is an important ruling.

  20. The most crucial excerpt and the most obvious to all of us from the outset:

    “Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded?”

  21. Well, at least the Judge recognized the long long reach of the complaint and smacked it down. He went with the most recognized authorities, and I had to laugh when he said something to the effect that all this panic and San Francisco hasn’t even built a seawall. Good ruling though. Our governor here in Washington State has his own lawsuit going, I believe. (Must be thousands of lawyers with their eyes on the supposedly deep pockets of Big Oil) I don’t know whether Inslee has actually filed a suit, or is just talking big about it.

  22. “The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.”

    That’s what the judge said. The oil companies cheered.

  23. It is unfortunate that the judge cannot discern that CO2 has risen but temperature not for 18 years. In fact there seems to have been a bit of cooling indicators. But he may have wanted to weigh the scales against the base legal argument.

    • While this point was made by those who supplied amicus briefs to him. Neither party were arguing this point, so the judge didn’t need to identify it, defend it, bring it up, or comment on it. He smacked down the ruling while not opposing their agreement.

  24. It will be interesting to see how the multitudes of other lawsuits against fossil fuel companies turn out; will they consider this precedent, or will the plaintiffs change their tactics, and apply other sections of the law to bring suit?

    The fact that they want payments now for future damages, and not actual damages is quite aggravating to me.

  25. This feels like a pyrrhic victory. I have to trust those that are more cognizant of the machinations of interpreting law that I should feel good.

    • This is not a pyrrhic victory, this is just a plain old fashioned Victory. Trust us – you can feel good.

  26. When we start cooling they will need another lawsuit stating that CO2 is causing cooling and maybe the same judge will say both parties agree that fossil fuels now cause cooling.

    • Well, given that the additional “back” radiation occurs above the water vapor controller, there’s more Earth to not hit than to hit. Just get out that model globe that your Aunt gave you for Christmas when you were eight.

  27. I would have tossed them out on one reason only: hypocrisy.
    The plaintiffs use fossil fuel themselves, and by their own actions exacerbate the “problem” they purport to try and solve.

    • Yeah, I bet they didn’t even take BART over from Oakland. ….. or carpooled.

      Show your ticket stubs, hypocrites.

  28. The judge said the premise of the case was irrelevant, it was up to the legislatures of the world to weigh good and bad consequences of modern civilization. The argument is not what oil companies do, it is what civilizations have chosen to do. The liability falls to governments who made the oil company processes legal and is not a legality therefore of oil companies to argue.

  29. “… courts must also respect and defer to the other co-equal branches of government when the problem at hand clearly deserves a solution best addressed by those branches.”

    Better make sure that other court judges are aware of this.

  30. Sounds like the judge actually believes otherwise about global warming and sea level rise, but is reluctant to say so for fear of attacks from the militant Left.

    • No so much the militant left, as not creating grounds for appeal. Often, it is more about what you don’t say.

  31. I find a deeply disturbing precedence has been set by alleging that all parties admit AGW that is a function of fossil fuel burning.

    He has tossed it on a legal nicety, not on the fact its plain wrong

  32. But there is no consensus. Scientists have never registered and voted on the AGW conjecture. But even if they had the results would have been meaningless. Science is not a democracy. The laws of science are not some sort of legislation. Scientific theories are not validated by a voting process or because some judge deems it so. The reality is that despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is really zero. The judge may have standing to rule on matters of laws but not matters of science.

  33. The Judge: “(…) it is true that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels has caused (and will continue to cause) global warming.”

    WR: The initial (!) warming of the atmosphere after absorption of surface radiation by CO2 as measured in the laboratory, is not the final warming. Cooling processes are instantly (!) activated after any warming.

    Secondly, natural cooling processes – as caused for example by the changing orbital circumstances or by a cooling behaviour of our very cold oceans – are not weighed. On a decadal and longer scale these cooling processes could very well outnumber any warming that eventually (!) could remain after cooling processes followed any initial (!) atmospheric warming effect.

    As usual, the word ‘initial’ in regard to ‘warming effect’ is forgotten. An important omission.

  34. Judge Alsup’s court is in California, but he is not a California Judge. He is a Federal judge.

    Does this Federal ruling preclude any such cases in California state court?

    • Those oil companies engage in cross state (intra-state) commerce and international commerce. The nuisance behavior alleged is beyond a state court jurisdiction.

  35. Huge win for Hydrocarbon use. The importance needs to be clearly understood… Despite any and all damage that CO2 emissions from hydrocarbons may cause to Climate systems…. We can go right on using them and never fear being prosecuted for it, whether we be an oil producer, a fuel refiner or a car owner producing those emissions.

    It was better that the judge “accepted” the hypothesis of Global warming because it allows no wriggle room in his ruling. He is absolutely clear… It matters not.

    As for the judge’s acceptance of the science of climate change? It’s actually unimportant to the case and he says as much…. So the only bit pertinent to anyone, is the ruling that Hydrocarbon use cannot be held responsible for the “damage” that its CO2 emissions causes to the environment.

    Fantastic ruling. It couldn’t be better. Viva la coal fired power stations.

  36. The Oil Companies badly handled this matter, but no doubt this was because of PR implications.

    From a legal perspective, the Oil Companies ought to have argued that they do not accept that the case for AGW is proven, but even if Claimants are correct on AGW, then the Claimants cannot recover damages from the Defendants, as a matter of law, and for that reason the Defendant abstains from putting forward any evidence on AGW, and is content for the purposes of this trial only, that the Court proceeds on the basis that AGW is real etc.

    It was obvious that the case was going to turn on the law itself, and it was necessary only to argue the law. The Defendants should have stuck to that only.

    A dangerous precedent has been set by their admission on AGW. Governments, across the globe, are more likely to advance the green agenda if the largest fossil fuel industries accept AGW is real, and of concern.

    We will now hear that not only do 97% of scientist agree that AGW is real etc, but so too do the large fossil fuel companies. The force is strong and with the consensus, and it will now be more difficult for the Jedi Knights to return.

  37. The oil companies should file a petition with the court for their legal costs against plaintiffs. Just to make those ambulance chasers and their cities squirm.

  38. This decade is going to be a bunch of fun & entertainment for us at the expense of big oil (but ultimately the consumer will pay all).
    Big oil accepts the IPCC’s AGW science without reservation and as a consequence they’ll have to accept the new reality of living with endless litigation.
    No carbon-trading (desperate desire) for big oil.
    The only thing big oil will be be trading over is legal costs agreements and plaintiff settlements . . .
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/climate/climate-change-lawsuit-san-francisco-oakland.html
    John Coté, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney, said the city was considering its options. “This is obviously not the ruling we wanted, but this doesn’t mean the case is over,” he said. “We’re reviewing the order and will decide on our next steps shortly.”
    Mr. Coté added that the city agreed with Judge Alsup on one important point. “We’re pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute,” he said. “Our litigation forced a public court proceeding on climate science, and now these companies can no longer deny it is real and valid. Our belief remains that these companies are liable for the harm they’ve caused.”

    • The Claimants might have lost this particular battle, and indeed putative similar battles, but they have secured an immense tactical advantage, which no doubt will be much lobbied, by NGOs, before Governments across the globe, and which will be yelled by MSM..

  39. Amazing that the judge could get some of the alleged facts either partially or completely wrong, yet get the law – and the legal conclusion – correct.

  40. I don’t even see how it got this far. The first question I’d ask is how did you arrive at the court and (if by petroleum-driven vehicle) the second question I’d ask is why did you arrive that way? Since it would be obviously for their own convenience the logical conclusion is that even the plaintiffs accept that the established benefits of petroleum still outweigh the potential risks.

    But ‘we’ didn’t win. Everyone won! Imagine the chaos if suddenly petroleum products had to be banned due to the decision of one less-than-capable judge. It was everyone’s luck perhaps that he had an engineering background. If he was more of a romantic he might have accepted the argument already put forward by some well-educated but highly-irrational academics that industrialization was a price not worth paying.

  41. Maxine Waters Once Said She Wants To “Socialize” America’s Oil Companies (VIDEO) Progressive socialist have to win in court first.

  42. getting really pedantic
    mother nature is the maker of it and so lets see them sue her;-)
    mankinds the middleman/ end user.
    curious they dont seem to want to have a go at the mideast suppliers too?

  43. The defendant attorneys were very smart choosing not to attack the “science”. In the words of Mick Jagger
    “You can’t always get what you want
    But if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need”

    • They certainly were not smart.

      They should have adopted a neutral position arguing that it is unnecessary to consider the science, since irrespective of the science, as a matter of law no loss has been sustained and no recoverable damages can be awarded against them, and of course, also rely upon the policy flood gate argument, and the argument that the benefit of the use of fossil fuels outweighs the harm, even if the Plaintiff is correct on the extent of harm alleged by it.

  44. Why sue the producers of the oil? Oil in itself does does create CO2, the users of the product do.

  45. This was an epoch-making process, however if we remain so stupid to expect a solution from the court then we can have a great fall in the end.

  46. I’m curious, just how do the plaintiff attorneys travel to the court house without becoming part of the “public nuisance” themselves ?

  47. As I said in another thread, all the lawyers have to do is:

    1) find out the world’s temperature (somehow)
    2) compare it to previous year’s temperatures to get a difference
    3) find out how much of 2) man was responsible for
    4) find out how much an oil company was responsible for 3)
    5) find out how much much damage 4) caused worldwide
    6) find out how much damage in 5) took place in California

    Easy peasy.

  48. The total silence about this in the Guardian and in Ars Technica is quite remarkable. Especially Ars, who covered the suit in several pieces….

  49. if the premise of the claim is that AGW -> rising sea levels, as opposed to harm of just warming, then one would think that the people directly harmed are owners of coastal property. Affected owners could then claim expenses necessary to protect structures against this. However, CA specifically has a law against taking such actions? or just coastal alterations (big rocks to prevent erosion?)

  50. I dont like the way this has gone in as far as the recognition of CO2 causing AGW! He was correct to recognize the legality of this issue as a Worldwide problem and the repercussions of allowed by the Alarmists. It would surprise me if the Alarmists appeal this. Guess well see…

  51. What a wimpy conclusion. The lies behind the scam all were merely strengthened, while the legal definition of “nuisance” got clarified.

    My word, “wimpy”, is too weak. “Piss-ant victory” better captures it, I think.

    • Wishy washy, ambivalent, double talk transforms into a verbal gymnastics act that evades truth and pushes lawmaking out of the judicial branch, when it comes to climate issues. That’s the message I’m getting.

      What a bunch of crap that wasted a bunch of money and time to merely reshape the crap into a different pile !

      This is NOT law at its best.

      I’ll be back. I’m not done yet on this farce of a “resolution” to this case.

    • I’ll end my rant by saying that this was a clever, but NOT noble, resolution. It was a precise legal judgement.

      … lots of words used to arrive at an outcome that was inevitable based on common sense.

      Next up, a case about how the voluntary inhalation of atmospheric air containing oxygen is an illegal act of committing slow suicide, since oxygen causes free radical damage of aging, which leads to death. We all KNOW this, and yet we keep breathing the air. This is a grave matter of international law. Something needs to be done !

  52. Next up we have the case of who caused the big bang and did they know about it beforehand.

    • The universe caused the Big Bang, and the Big Bang caused Gaia, and Gaia caused human existence and human civilization. If Gaia can be viewed as a living organism, then she can be sued as one too. I hereby place all blame on Gaia.

  53. Now, how about the public nuisance created by the Climatists? Hoist them with their own petard.

  54. The Bay Area cities could have built a lot of waterfront housing for low income families with the proceeds. /sarc

  55. In time the oil majors will regret not arguing about carbon dioxide’s role in global warming. Have they not heard it is a bad idea to feed the crocodile, hoping it will eat them last? Appeasement never works.

    • I suspect a number of them were happy to invest in ‘green energy’ – basically owning any new energy technology that would theoretically replace fossil fuels.

  56. I’m probably more surprised by this decision that the Greenies were – basically because I assumed that any judge operating out of California would simply rule as a partisan hack, regardless of the law.
    This judge was apparently just a partisan, but still responsible enough to follow the law.
    So… sort of kudos. I guess. Could have left out all the pro-greenie damage control, but I guess in Cali you gotta CYA.

    • I wonder if Maxine Waters will add this judge to her list of people who need to be harassed by her righteous followers?

  57. The Judge’s findings of fact have no value as precedent. He ruled on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In doing so, he as to assume that all of the factual allegations in the complaint are true, whether there is any evidence to support to prove them. He is not allowed to look at evidence until later in the proceeding, which will not happen, because he dismissed the case.

    • That is so, but the Judge did not have to consider the evidence, since the Defendants accepted the Claimant’s case that AGW is real, is caused by the use of fossil fuels, and is leading to Sea Level rise. That is why the Judge notes that all parties are agreed on that.

  58. Those oil companies sure did waste a lot of money paying us skeptics to deny CAGW for all these years, and then they go and side with the Alarmists!

    Does this mean we should no longer expect a paycheck from the oil companies in the future?

  59. Global warming is everything the alarmists say it is, rules the judge. It’s not just law that’s an ass.

  60. According to the judge, everything alarmists say about global warming is true. It’s not jus law that’s an ass.

  61. The projections of doom and gloom are also based on events which are, allegedly, going to happen in the future. This is based on fossil fuel consumption that is, allegedly, going to happen in the future.

    They are trying to claim for a harm that hasn’t yet happened, caused by actions that also haven’t yet happened. Quite a legal precedent that would be, I am thinking.
    And you thought Minority Report was just a Sci-fi movie.

  62. Interesting that the judge chose to use the word “median” wen talking about temperatures.
    Since he is technically educated he will, presumably, be well aware that it is not the same as the mean. Did lawyers from either side also use the word in their submissions?

  63. It is not the producers or sellers that make harm. It is us who use the “harmfull” substance. Stop using it and it will not be produced, how simple can it be.

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