Fishermen Sue Big Oil For Its Role In Climate Change

From NPR

December 4, 20188:02 AM ET

Alastair Bland

Dungeness crab like these, caught off the coast of Alaska, have been affected by the neurotoxin domoic acid because of algae blooms in recent years, which makes them unsafe to eat.

Michael Melford/Getty Images

While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere.

That’s what citizens and local governments across the United States are asserting in lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies. Plaintiffs in the cases have alleged that fossil fuel producers knowingly subjected the entire planet and future generations to the dire consequences of their actions.

On Nov. 14, fishermen in California and Oregon joined the legal fray by filing suit against 30 companies, mainly oil producers. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the plaintiff, contends that the fossil fuel industry is at direct fault and must be held accountable for recent warming-related damages to the West Coast’s prized Dungeness crab fishery, which catches millions of the tender-fleshed crustacean most years, and coastal chefs turn the critters into classics like Crab Louie and Crab Cioppino.

The fishermen’s lawsuit appears to be the first time food producers have sued the fossil fuel industry for allegedly harming the environment.

A recent history of heatwaves

Since 2014, the northeast Pacific Ocean has experienced several dramatic marine heatwaves. The higher temperatures have caused blooms of toxic algae that, by producing the neurotoxin domoic acid, can make Dungeness crab and other shellfish unsafe to eat. In the fall of 2015, state officials in California and Oregon delayed the opening of crab season by several months, until testing finally showed domoic acid levels had dipped back to safe levels. Several similar closures have occurred since, including this year.

Noah Oppenheim, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, says the 2015-2016 crab fishing closure resulted in direct financial losses that caused some boats in the fleet of about 1,000 to leave the fishery. Subsequent closures, also caused by domoic acid concerns, have further strained the industry, which in California and Oregon is worth about $445 million, Oppenheim says.

The lawsuit, filed in California’s Superior Court, San Francisco county, chronicles the fossil fuel industry’s alleged role in obfuscating the likely global effects of climate change and demands compensation from companies including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell Oil.

Dungeness crab fishermen in California have been allocated about $15 million, according to Oppenheim, of a $200 million federal disaster relief package, approved earlier this year to help fishermen in the fallout of several fishery disasters, including salmon run failures in northern California. Oppenheim says crab fishermen “appreciate the help” from taxpayers but that the general public should not be on the hook for damages resulting from warming oceans.

“The financial harm should be covered by those perpetrating it,” he says.

Sources within the oil industry would not discuss the lawsuit. Exxon’s corporate media relations manager Scott J. Silvestri emailed The Salt a statement:

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions,” he wrote. “Lawsuits like this – filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life – simply do not do that.”

Sean Comey, the senior advisor of policy, government and public affairs with Chevron Corporation, says in an email that the crabbers’ lawsuit “is without merit and counterproductive to real solutions to climate change.” He says fossil fuel production “has been lawful and encouraged by governments” and is “vital to the global economy.”

Sabrina Fang, a spokesperson with the American Petroleum Institute, said her organization could not comment on the pending litigation.

Local governments pursue legal action

The crabbers’ lawsuit comes amidst a string of court actions by cities against the oil industry. In July, the mayor and city council of Baltimore filed suit against 26 companies, alleging they knew but hid from the public the dangers of fossil fuels. The lawsuit claims the “Defendants’ Actions Prevented the Development of Alternatives That Would Have Eased the Transition to a Less Fossil Fuel Dependent Economy.” Similar suits have come from the state of Rhode Island and several communities in California, including the City of Santa Cruz and Marin County.

Federal judges have dismissed some of these lawsuits. One filed jointly by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, and another from New York City, were tossed out on the grounds that such matters should be handled in venues other than the courts, such as by Congress or the executive branch.

But some climate activists are convinced that the tide will turn. Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, is not involved in the crabbers’ lawsuit but believes a flood of lawsuits like theirs could soon inundate the fossil fuel industry. He says “establishing a firm, highly defensible, essentially incontrovertible link between global warming and the damages that the plaintiff, or industry in question, has suffered” is the key to winning a lawsuit of this nature, and he says he believes the crabbers’ case — and the science supporting it — “appears very strong.”

“This case could signal the beginning of a wave of suits from industries and businesses that have been harmed by climate change,” he says.

Information uncovered by reporters recently suggests that oil, gas and coal interests knew for decades that they were essentially facilitating the alteration of the Earth to build their own industries. As outlined in a recent New Yorker article by Bill McKibben, these companies promoted public relations schemes to misinform the public, discouraged the development of alternative energy sources, and even advertised the notion that more CO2 in the atmosphere could promote plant growth and global crop yields.

The concerns about what climate change means for food are not limited to those of a handful of environmentalists. Hundreds of independent scientists have produced reports outlining the magnitude of damages that global warming and ocean acidification will likely cause. In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a grim 791-page report warning of drastic changes to the planet if average temperatures increase by just 1.5 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels.

Earlier this month, a U.S. federal report outlined the economic impacts the nation will likely experience as a result of unruly weather, changing climate and sea level rise. “[Y]ields from major U.S. commodity crops are expected to decline as a consequence of higher temperatures,” the authors wrote. They cited research showing that California’s Central Valley could be too balmy by 2100 to reliably produce walnuts, which require cold temperatures in the winter to properly set fruit.

On the East Coast, the authors of the federal report predicted “declines of species that support some of the most valuable and iconic fisheries in the Northeast, including Atlantic cod, Atlantic sea scallops, and American lobster.”

Read the full story here.

HT/BB

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80 thoughts on “Fishermen Sue Big Oil For Its Role In Climate Change

  1. According to the reasoning behind these lawsuits, every single human on the planet can sue any energy extraction company they want (just pick one or more).

      • Cut em off! Let them find their own diesel.

        The lawsuit should be dismissed before the paperwork is filed in the trash.

        So its children and fishermen then? Similar groups, sharing many characteristics in common.

        • The day its hits court, you stop supplying boats with petroleum based products so they do not harm their atmosphere surrounding them.

    • Yes indeed most CO2 originates from the big four:
      -Saudi Aramco
      -Sinopec Group
      -China National Petroleum
      -Kuwait Petroleum
      -and throw in Gazprom for good measure.
      My best of luck to all current and future litigants . . .

    • Surely their lawyers can see the absurd logic. I guess if I had clients so stupid I’d keep charging them lots of fees until they realized how silly they were. In fact I suspect unscrupulous lawyers are driving this.

    • Dave Fair states:
      “. . . every single human on the planet can sue any energy extraction company . . .”

      The correllary to this is:
      “every single human on the planet will pay higher energy costs to compensate for lawsuit payouts by the oil companies”

  2. While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere.

    AEUHHH

     

    “Elevated their oil rigs”???  Where? That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve read in any of these stupidly written articles about the moronic junk lawsuits against the oil industry.

    Land drilling rigs are set up on the ground, at whatever elevation the ground is at.  Offshore rigs fall into two main categories: 1) Jackup rigs and 2) “floaters” (semi-submersibles, drill ships, etc.).

    The ENSCO 56 is a jackup rig:

    When the legs aren’t deployed, the jackup floats.  It is towed to the drilling location by tugboats.  The legs are lowered to the seafloor and the rig is literally jacked up to a sufficient height to maintain the necessary airgap.  The biggest jackups can work in water depths up to about 400-500′ and drill to depths of about 30,000′.  Sea level rise has no effect on jackup rigs.  They rarely sit in one place for more than a few months.

    The first jackup rig was built in 1954.  At 3 mm/yr, sea level may have risen 192 mm since 1954.  That’s 7.6 inches… 0.6 feet.  The reference elevation for wells is generally the Kelly bushing (KB).  The KB depth is rounded to the nearest foot.  Assuming the first jackup rig stayed on location since 1954 and had a KB elevation of 75′ above sea level, the current KB would be 75.6′ above sea level.  This is essentially an insignificant difference.

    Floaters are even less affected by sea level change.  They float on the surface when drilling.  They are either moored to the seafloor with anchors or dynamically positioned (DP) with thruster motors.  DSS-38 is a DP rig…

    Floaters can operate in water depths from above 500′ to more than 10,000′ and can drill to more than 30,000′ depths.  They would be totally unaffected by sea level rise of even several meters and they rarely sit in one place for more than several months.

    The stupidly written article is probably referring to the elevation of offshore production platforms.  This is totally unrelated to sea level rise and entirely due to seafloor subsidence caused by the extraction of hydrocarbons.  And it’s pretty well limited to very large offshore fields where the platform has been in place for decades, like Eugene Island 330.

    Existing platforms raised to increase storm clearance

    02/01/2007

    A Devon Energy-operated platform with 44 people on board in the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico was raised 4.25 m (14 ft) by 32 synchronously controlled hydraulic cylinders. The eight-leg platform, Eugene Island 330C, in 76 m (250 ft) of water originally was installed in the early 1970s. In 2005, Hurricane Rita passed through the field causing significant damage to EI 330C and claimed connecting platform EI 330S. In order to prevent repeated damage from future storms, EI 330C and neighboring platform EI 330B, which had also suffered significant damage from the hurricane, Devon teamed with Versabar to raise both platforms.

    Due to the size of the hurricanes during the 2005 season and resulting uncertainty in future requalification metocean criteria, Devon Energy decided to have the platforms qualified to meet API RP 2A, Section 17, A-I criteria, even though the platforms were classified as A-2. Analysis showed that by raising the decks 4.25 m (14 ft), the effects of wave-in-deck loading would be removed and a comfortable air gap established. Analysis also showed that the additional leg movements attributable to increased platform leg length would not affect the structural integrity of the platform. The deck-raising was sanctioned by Devon and partners in May 2006, with raising operations for the two decks completed by November.

    […]

    Offshore

    th_0702off-up1a

    EI 330 C Platform: Before.

    th_0702off-up1b

    EI 330 C Platform: After.

    Regarding the nonsense about sea level rise.  The EI 330 air gap restoration was due to seafloor subsidence, not sea level rise.

    Offshore production platforms and drilling rigs are designed to operate in the oceans.  Oceans have these things called “waves.”  Waves are a lot bigger than sea level rise.  And the industry has steadily improved the survivability of platforms over the past 50 years.

    Changing-Practice-in-Gulf-of-Mexico-Design-and-Operating-Criteria (1)

    Fixed platforms are designed to have a minimum air gap above the crest of 100-yr waves.  The estimated 100-yr waves and air gaps are very large relative to sea level rise.

    002004j-2 Figure 6.  Typical fixed offshore platform.  ASME

    Simply put… 1-2 ft. of sea level rise per century is irrelevant to a platform designed to last less than 50 years, deal with 10 ft. of seafloor subsidence and handle 75 ft. waves…

    Deck height

    Deck height is the vertical distance from the still water surface to the underside of the lowest deck structural element on the platform. It is important to construct oil platform decks high enough above the water’s surface to avoid waves washing over the top, which could overload the platform and destroy it. While deck heights can be too low for several reasons, the two most common are:

    Age — Older platform decks were set low because of available construction equipment at the time and because of a lack of knowledge of wave heights in the Gulf of Mexico and;

    Subsidence — Some areas of the Gulf of Mexico floor have experience several feet of subsidence, or settling, related to production.

    Usually, significant settling is found in older platforms because it can take 20 years to obtain 8 to 12 feet of subsidence. For example a platform installed in 250 feet of water 35 years ago may have been installed with a deck height of 45 feet. But after 20 years of production from multiple wells, there may be 10 feet of subsidence that reduces deck height to, say, 35 feet — leaving the platform more vulnerable to wave-in-deck loads never considered in the original design.

    Whereas it would take a 75-foot wave height to reach the original deck when it was 45 feet above the still water surface, it would only require a 58-foot wave to reach the same point on the deck with 10 feet of subsidence. The chance of a 75-foot wave occurring at a platform site in the Gulf of Mexico in any given year is about 1 percent while the chance of a 58-foot wave is about 6 percent — placing the subsided platform at a significantly higher risk.

     

    • David,

      Although I agree with much of your explanation and comment, I believe you added when you should have subtracted, in the one minor instance, above.

      Re: “The first jackup rig was built in 1954. At 3 mm/yr, sea level may have risen 192 mm since 1954. That’s 7.6 inches… 0.6 feet. The reference elevation for wells is generally the Kelly bushing (KB). The KB depth is rounded to the nearest foot. Assuming the first jackup rig stayed on location since 1954 and had a KB elevation of 75′ above sea level, the current KB would be 75.6′ above sea level.”

      If the jackup rig is resting on a stable bottom, the KB will be closer to the sea level datum after the assumed 7.6 inches of sea level rise since 1954. The KB will be 74.4 feet above sea level in the case you have presented. Or, have I had too much coffee this morning?

    • David

      Brilliant, thank you.

      Twits like me have no idea of the difference in oil rig design and deployment.

      Every days a schoolday on WUWT. 🙂

    • I can see my old home away from home from here!
      (Ensco 56)
      No doubt there will be science-proof fisters this side of the pond who will be tempted leap to the same bogus conclusion about evil big oil having ‘elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level’, having seen a number of old platforms being jacked up in response to sea bed subsidence. The Norsk Oljemuseum has a section of leg and jack used to lift platforms at the Ekofisk field in 1987; so in gullible warming obsessed Norway at least, there is no excuse for science-proof claimants to get that wrong.
      I wonder if this bovine excrement about seawalls to protect against rising sealevel is a case of the uninfomed getting confused about the creation of artificial islands to accomodate cheap land rigs offshore in-lieu of more expensive offshore rigs or platforms in very shallow water? Like the Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea:
      https://www.azernews.az/media/pictures/kash.jpg

      [“science proof fisters”?? .mod]

    • Yeah, oil companies should sue all consumers of fossil fuel — who knowingly, through their demand for civilized comforts and conveniences, FORCED companies to continue raping Earth of its oil and gas, … in effect holding oil companies hostage to consumer demands for comfort and convenience.

      Oil companies were just doing what any threatened entity would do under such severe emotional distress. They were not in their right minds, you see, because consumers relentlessly and ceaselessly kept paying for oil, … relentlessly and ceaselessly demanding that oil companies keep providing the means of comfort and convenience.

      The only logical legal remedy, then, is for oil companies to be allowed to turn off all the pumps, while collecting checks for pain and suffering from all consumers of fossil fuel who subjected them to such horrendous treatment.

  3. An issue is that current legal doctrine makes it impossible to sue Bill McKibben for making inflammatory claims with depraved indifference as to their truth, or to their consequences.

  4. So how do these pious fishers of crab get out to their crabbing grounds?
    One hopes it is by sail or oars as otherwise the idiocy of their lawsuit just might become obvious even to them.
    Most commercial fishers are diesel powered ,for all the obvious reasons, yet these participants in lawfare are expecting a pass on their own contribution?
    Of course I did scan for the evidence of fact,damages caused by warming ,said warming caused by CO2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels,said fossil fuels provided by the named defendants…
    I’m guessing should this farce proceed,that civil court and judge shopping are it’s only hope.

    • F/V Northwestern is an Alaskan crab, Pacific cod, and salmon tendering fishing vessel featured in the Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch. The vessel is owned and operated by the Hansen family of the state of Washington with Sig Hansen serving as the vessel’s primary captain.

      […]

      Installed power: 1,280 hp (950 kW)
      Propulsion: Diesel engine (Caterpillar 3512 V-12), single propeller. Additionally a 3304 (4CYL) Hotel Engine. Caterpillar 3306 (2) for Electric & Hydraulic Power.
      Speed: 12 kn (14 mph; 22 km/h)
      Capacity: 195 crab pots (Pre-Rationalization was 250 Pots)
      Crew: 6

      […]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FV_Northwestern

      • And let’s not forget the frequent travel by air between home (wherever that may be) and Dutch Harbor, AK. Then there is the petroleum consumed by air and sea units of the U.S. Coast Guard.

  5. While we are at it, we should sue the USERs of all that energy. After all, the oil companies don’t produce “Greenhouse Gasses”, they just produce the oil. It’s all those Global Warming USERS that don’t know how to burn the oil properly and are the REAL problem!

    • Excellent point. We should all sue ourselves in a class action lawsuit against ourselves because we all knew for quite some time now but kept on jetting off to vacation lands and going on pleasure cruises.

      • We should all sue ourselves in a class action lawsuit against ourselves

        Careful, that sounds a lot like communism! 🙂

      • Just like people who began smoking after 1964 suing tobacco companies. That was the year every pack of cigarettes had to have the Surgeon General’s health warning; smoking these things will result in lung diseases and kill you early.

  6. “Let’s see, who can we get to sue. Kids? Sure.. oh, they lost. AG’s, sure… they lost too.. Fishermen? Sure, why not.”

    Who is funding the lawsuit of these firshermen?

  7. RE: The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the plaintiff, contends that the fossil fuel industry is at direct fault and must be held accountable for recent warming-related damages to the West Coast’s prized Dungeness crab fishery,….

    Pray tell, what powers the fleet of ‘plaintiff’ California and Oregon fishing boats? Gasoline and diesel fuel! Surely these fishermen ‘plaintiffs’ must immediately cease and desist from using ‘fossil fuels’ to power their boats and must be held accountable for recent warming-related damages to the West Coast’s prized Dungeness crab fishery their fishing fleet has been knowingly complicit in causing? Forked tongue hippocrits!

  8. What about the damages crab fishermen are causing by burning diesel in their boats? They cannot claim they are not harming others becausevtheir lawsuit is evidence they are knowingly causing harm.

    It is high time the crab fishermen of California and Oregon paid the rest of us for the harm they have caused.

    A good place to start would be the $15 million check. Just sign that over to help reduce taxes.

    • And it’s not just the oil to power their boats. It takes a lot of energy to get their product to market. Packaging, transport and cooking all require more burning of fossil fuels.

      Hence, these folks should be sued for participating in an industry that by its simple existence has been responsible for large emissions of greenhouse gases.

  9. “…they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere”

    Really?

    According to the principles of the UNFCCC, which leads to the Global Environment Forum (GEF), which leads to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the beneficiary of a CO2 offset program is the one who does the saving/reduction, not intermediaries. The reason for that arrangement is they are the ones who are making the actual point-of-emission (POE) reductions. The financing arrangement (carbon trading under CDM finances) make that change at the POE possible if additionality and real reductions can be demonstrated (the rules are not simple).

    Oil companies sell oil products for many uses. They do not burn the oil. As a percentage they do not emit much of the total emissions related to the oil industry. It makes no sense to have a different “standard of cause” for CDM project funding (or responsibility) and emissions. The emitter is responsible. That’s you and me.

    Why they do they sue the providers of unburned fuel? That makes no sense. If the UNFCCC has it that emitters are benefitted if they reduce emissions, the emitters should be penalised for excess emissions?

    The points above about “benefits” in terms of who benefitted from the emissions produced from fossil fuels is apropos. There are positives and putative negatives about fuel use. Unlike the negatives, the benefits are tangible and have already been realised. For example, oil well drillers have been paid and sent their kids to college. Fuel was used to deliver baked bread to the supermarkets.

    If the fuel had not been burned, humanity would have suffered. If these green group law suits succeed, then all the negative fallout (which will be easily quantified and summed) will be the responsibility of those who prevented fuel reaching market. Are they ready for that? Quid pro quo and all that. Good for the goose, good for the gander.

    They are suing the wrong people. They should have as respondents anyone who ever burned an oil product or purchased a plastic item – say contact lenses, shoes, a TV, a smart phone or a vinyl window frame, and anyone who ever summoned an ambulance, a police car or a fire engine.

    • The real question is who will pay for the multi-Trillion dollar judgments against oil companies? Future consumers of oil-based products?

      • They could double the price of oil… climate lawsuit risk and all that. Who would stop them? They could do that now if the investment climate were bad enough. The thinkers behind suits seem to oblivious of how the world works. Money comes from somewhere. If the cost of providing oil doubles, then the price doubles. Duh!

  10. lance

    Yes….they ‘rowed’ out onto the Oceans and used “manpower” to lift up the crab pots…….NOT

    My initial reaction was “How Stupid”–I have a campground in Alaska and spend every summer there. Then I carefully read the article and my considered reaction is “How Stupid!!!!”

    I hope the oil companies can reverse sue for harassment…this is ludicrous.

  11. What about all the extra cold beer bought every summer to fight off the ravages of global warming. How is that any different than the crab claim.

    Shouldn’t the oil companies buy us all free beer every summer? Let’s takes this to trial and see what the jury decides. Given the evidence I expect the jury will vote in favor of free beer.

  12. You always have to read the always more complex fine (farther down) print. (https://fisherynation.com/archives/tag/noah-oppenheim)

    Like this one—- https://www.klfy.com/news/local/shrimpers-affected-by-dead-zones_2017120111223970/872628199

    “Sauce says this is not the number one problem that shrimp hunters face. The first priority dealing with the amount of rainfall that has hit the area as of late. The shrimp just not going to grow anyway. Once they get a lot of the rain they tend to drive further into the Gulf before they mature in size. They leave prematurely,” Sauce explained”

    Shrimpers and others have long known about hypoxic area, know how to exploit it. Got to blame somebody. Oil industry gave in with the small stuff to too many environmentalists and fishermen and now they got big stuff to deal with.

    • Yes, that’s the real problem. The oil industry was too quick to appease the snake oil salesmen in the past. They just painted a target on their own backs.

    • As the Moderator of fisherynation, I appreciate your linking of that page to your comment. You must understand, not all fishermen are behind this lawsuit, or behind the organization behind the lawsuit. Some of us were quite surprised, actually. Not all fishermen are aligned with the enviro groups, nor could they be. There are too many divisive issues to fall under a “one size fits all” classification. I noticed in one of the comments reference to the F/V Northwestern, and the fuel she consumes. I can assure you, you won’t find polar opposites when it comes to this lawsuit, I’m willing to bet. As far as the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, You can’t ignore the facts of nitrate pollution from agriculture are causing it.

      • This sounds like what goes on in some scientific societies nowadays, top management makes moves thinking they know what’s best. The fishermen I referred to are those in the Louisiana oyster business who get more revenue, last I checked, from the oil industry than from oysters. They still produce great oysters despite biologist claims of their demise.

        There is no denying that hypoxic to anoxic areas are much more measurable and real than the demon carbon dioxide, which is what the late oceanographer Scott Nixon, who studied these worldwide, called nitrogen in a scientific publication that showed the positive relationship between nitrogen and fisheries production. (Nixon, S. W. And B. A. Buckley. 2002. “A strikingly rich zone”–Nutrient enrichment and secondary production in coastal marine ecosystems. Estuaries. 25(4b):782-796). Such language is rare there, except is becoming more common, mostly trying to shut down discussion, like “We seek to end the debate” found in a formerly respected Royal Society of London publication.

        Commercial fishermen have been more demonized than environmentalists in the press and elsewhere and unfortunately complex issues are easy to misuse, as in environmentalists, and even some professional biologists, unfairly scapegoating them. The Mississippi River situation was blamed on agriculture, but has been challenged to be more the result of development including extensive golf courses, but that is way beyond my abilities to analyze. I have seen corruption of science associated with it and I do know that there has been a one-sided negative crisis attitude about the zones, which are not all either technically dead or permanent, and have long been known to be associated with very productive areas, as off the west coast of Africa, fertilized by upwelling. When you kill lots of fish, it requires lots of production. There is evidence that they may have improved pelagic fish production and that some critters eat the nasty looking stuff that they cause. This doesn’t mean things can’t be improved or commercial fishing regulated.

        Also the Missisippi River floods of the early 70s, which I studied some, were correctly first identified (not by me) as causing the problem by stratification which isolated whatever quantity of nutrients were present. It turned into only the nitrogen demonization which the press is still pushing, but got eventually corrected back properly in the scientific literature. There are old records of collecting fish from upwelling so the claim that it is new in the Gulf needs historical research.

        Commercial fishing is a tough business, tried it once one summer with my father-in-law, fortunately we had a hurricane. Some great biologists came out of such families including my major mentor. I may have too much sympathy for them which biologists should avoid. I do recall a California complaint that all they want is a “Blue Zoo” when they made large areas off limits to fishing.

  13. Another climate lawsuit that the “victims” were conned into and will never hit the court docket. None of these suits will ever see a trial and the perpetrators not only know it but are counting on it. All they want is media attention.

    • It is the governments and organizations that are willing to shell out money to the green ambulance chasers that is the attraction. Who cares who wins as long as the money flows to the attorneys.

  14. West coast crabbers are suing oil companies, saying that their fisheries are being harmed by the oil industry….

    (I think a settlement is in order. A $40/gallon fee should be attached to crabbers commercial marine fuel use; the crabbers can pay half and the oil industry can pay the other half. The proceeds of the fee can go to the enforcement of the fee; a commercial fishing (crabbing) permit surcharge can be implemented for the administration of the enforcement department.)

    When there was an oil spill in California waters a few years ago, some of the crabbers tried to get all of the crabbers to not fish (to bolster their lawsuit earnings). It didn’t work, some fished anyway. Seems the California crabbers are at it again … give me money for not working … scumbags … Scumbag association leadership & scumbag members for not standing up to the corrupted leadership .

  15. Merely another of what may be an endless stream of such cases , given the size of the bags of money the lawyers are hopping to get .

  16. I’m of the same mind as many on this thread. Seems counter-intuitive to sue an industry that you rely on for your livelihood. Seems as though someone hasn’t thunk this all the way through.

    As well, as mentioned in the article, I’m in the Baltimore Area and we have solved all our other problems (unless you watch the news, as we are infamous for our murder rate and high crime rate) so now we have plenty of money to spend suing oil companies, creating bike lanes (who rides a bike in the winter when it’s 32 degrees) and changing tables in men’s rooms!!!

    The people in charge of Baltimore are certified morons!

  17. Have you seen the damage fishing has done to the oceans. From Somalia to the the North Atlantic, short term thinking, maximum profit trawling have trashed the sea bed. Lophelia Pertusa anyone?

    I detest the ManBearPig cabal for taking the focus off real issues.

  18. Alfred Hitchcock’s horror flick, The BIrds, was based on domoic acid poisoning of sooty shearwaters off the coast of Monterrry in 1961. Those shearwaters breed around New Zealand and then fly to the northern Pacific to take advantage of the abundant food produced from upwelling along the California coast. That upwelling generates tremendous productivity which includes an algae that produces domooic acid, and domic acid passes up the food chain from algae to birds. The affected birds became disoriented and were flying into buildings, pavement and people. Hitchcock turned that natural event into a scary nature against man movie, just like unscrupulous climate scientists do.

  19. This is rich. But, while a bit off track, it does raise an important point. If an enterprise damages the product of the producers, and the “enterprise” is liable, as is claimed in this case, what does that mean for the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, and Ted Turner’s wolf reintroduction project? It is more than obvious that these organizations are promoting, and falsely claiming, that the reintroduction of wolves, and the spread there of, is a benefit. I can assure them there are plenty of Cattle Producers and Wool Growers who would hold that they are damaged by the presence of wolves and have solid evidence in the form of depredation payments to substantiate that claim. If successful, while I think it won’t be, the petard they have laid might hoist the unintended. And yes, that could be a rich one indeed.

  20. Sea Food

    A very long time when I still owned a TV, a comedian came on and discussed seafood, Briefly.
    The joke went:
    We don’t eat Land Bugs so why the eff do we eat Sea Bugs?

    Which school did these fishing muppets attend?

    ..the higher temperatures have caused blooms of toxic algae th….

    High temperatures alone do not cause ‘stuff’ to grow right out of thin air, thick dirt or (whatever) seawater. And their claim should be summarily dismissed on that basis.

    If anything is gonna grow anywhere, it needs a food source – one *really* would have assumed that sea *food* catchers like them would have known that.

    In actual fact, the algae blooms were caused by the rotting and decompostion of ‘rejected catch’ that they themselves were throwing overboard – things like dolphin, baby whales, big whales, undersized tuna, turtles, lesser spotted greater titted californian dulta smellies etc (need I go on?)

    Let them prove otherwise.
    They can also explain the GHGE while they’re about it

  21. I am waiting for any of the Defendants in these frivolous lawsuits to Demand Scientific Proof that CO2 has anything but a beneficial effect on life on Planet Earth! Not Fake Computer Models, but ACTUAL VERIFIABLE PROOF! And if Arrhenius is mentioned, remind the Court that the Earth is NOT enclosed in a glass bottle, which is the ONLY way that experiment works!

  22. The complaint is mind boggling in its idiocy…

    133. A key strategy in Defendants’ efforts to discredit scientific consensus on climate change and the IPCC was to bankroll scientists who, although accredited, held fringe opinions that were even more questionable given the sources of their research funding. These scientists obtained part or all of their research budget from Defendants directly or through Defendant-funded organizations like API,
    116 but they frequently failed to disclose their fossil fuel industry underwriters.117

    Reference 116 is Soon & Baliunas, 2003, which supported the significance of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age.  Reference 117 is the Smithsonian’s 2015 announcement that they were looking into a complaint that Dr. Soon failed to properly disclose his funding sources.  Of course, they neglect to mention that the Smithsonian found no improper behavior on the part of Dr. Soon and that he followed their procedures.

    Then they shift to the tobacco lie…

    136. Defendants borrowed pages out of the playbook of prior denialist campaigns. A “Global Climate Science Team” (“GCST”) was created that mirrored a front group created by the tobacco industry, known as The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, whose purpose was to sow uncertainty about the fact that cigarette smoke is carcinogenic. The GCST’s membership included Steve Milloy (a key player on the tobacco industry’s front group) for Exxon; an API public relations representative; and representatives from Chevron and Southern Company that drafted API’s 1998 Communications Plan. There were no scientists on the “Global Climate Science Team.” GCST developed a strategy to spend millions of dollars manufacturing climate change uncertainty. Between 2000 and 2004, Exxon donated $110,000 to Milloy’s efforts and another organization, the Free Enterprise Education Institute and $50,000 to the Free Enterprise Action Institute, both registered to Milloy’s home address.121

     

    This bit is priceless…

    137. Defendants by and through their trade association memberships, worked directly, and often in a deliberately obscured manner, to evade regulation of the emissions resulting from use of their fossil fuel products.

    So… The fishermen would have been happier with a $240/gal tax on diesel fuel?

    Then then hit escape velocity…

    141. Defendants could have contributed to the global effort to mitigate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions by, for example, delineating practical policy goals and regulatory structures that would have allowed them to continue their business ventures while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting a transition to a lower carbon future. Instead, Defendants undertook a momentous effort to evade international and national regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to enable them to continue unabated fossil fuel production.

    We couldn’t “continue unabated fossil fuel production” without unabated demand for fossil fuels… Some of that demand coming from crab fishermen, whose boats tend to have diesel engines.

    They’re basically suing “Big Oil” because they didn’t come up with regulations that would enable them to “continue their business ventures while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  So… “Big Oil” was supposed to do what?  Remove the carbon from hydrocarbons before refining it into gasoline?  That would be a neat trick because octane wouldn’t be octane without 8 carbon atoms.

    • All of this just reinforces the fact that “climate change” = “wealth transfer.” Somebody has some money, someone else wants it, and climate change–no matter how nebulous the link–is the only possible reason the money grabbers can come up with. Governments tax Peter and send the money to Paul to install rotary bird-and-bat killers and energy thingies that only work the day shift.

  23. Whaaa! I find it hard to feel sorry for US based fishermen. I even have two younger cousins who are commercial fishermen. It’s because almost all of what they catch goes to China, Japan and Asia! Why should we rape our waters for mostly export to those countries who’ve strip mined their own waters? Sorry. Not feeling sorry

  24. The organic black blob is natural, and delectable in some ecosystems. Perhaps the fisherman should sue the consumers who create a market for Nature’s tonic.

  25. The extraction, sale, and use of fossil fuels is all legal. The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. The party to sue is really Mother Nature. Lots of luck collecting on a judgement against Mother Nature.

  26. Lets put all the oil companies out of business. Shut them all down. Go to Wind and Solar!

    What does an Electric Boat look like?

    INTERESTING – IF ELECTRIC CARS DO NOT USE GASOLINE, THEY WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN PAYING A GASOLINE TAX ON EVERY GALLON THAT IS SOLD FOR AUTOMOBILES, WHICH WAS ENACTED SOME YEARS AGO TO HELP TO MAINTAIN OUR ROADS AND BRIDGES. THEY WILL USE THE ROADS, BUT WILL NOT PAY FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE!

    In case you were thinking of buying hybrid or an electric car:

    Ever since the advent of electric cars, the REAL cost per mile of those things has never been discussed. All you ever heard was the mpg in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity to run it. This is the first article I’ve ever seen and tells the story pretty much as I expected it to

    Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power things yet they’re being shoved down our throats. Glad somebody finally put engineering and math to paper.

    At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, a BC Hydro executive. I asked him how that renewable thing was doing. He laughed, then got serious. If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, he pointed out, you had to face certain realities. For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service. The average house is equipped with 100 amp service. On our small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla, each. For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.

    This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles. Our residential infrastructure cannot bear the load. So as our genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged to buy these things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive, new windmills and solar cells, but we will also have to renovate our entire delivery system! This latter “investment” will not be revealed until we’re so far down this dead end road that it will be presented with an ‘OOPS…!’ and a shrug.

    If you want to argue with a green person over cars that are eco-friendly, just read the following. Note: If you ARE a green person, read it anyway. It’s enlightening.

    Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors and he writes, “For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.” Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.

    It will take you 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.

    According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned, so I looked up what I pay for electricity. I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

    • “16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56”

      How did you come up with this number for the price of electricity? This kind of information you provided for the price you pay for electricity can’t be correct. In British Columbia, the base price for electricity is as follows: Under the Residential Conservation Rate, customers pay 8.58 cents per kWh for the first 1,350 kWh they use over an average two-month billing period. Above that amount, customers pay 12.87 cents per kWh for the balance of the electricity used during the billing period.

      • Thank you in advance for clarifying this possibly dumb question, as I see a huge difference. According to your figures, do I understand well that the use of electricity would actually be at least 8 times more expensive than Codetrader exposed?
        .-

        • LOL..no..8x cheaper. Not sure what Codetrader was thinking. Even if it was the Chevy Volt gas engine generator running charging the batteries, the cost of the gas to generate that electricity would not even be that expensive. Probably less than 1/2 of the $1.16 Kwh for gas for that. And his statement “Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power things yet they’re being shoved down our throats” is also out to lunch. Electricity is about as efficient as you can get, depending on your application and the cost comparisons etc.

  27. This is legal reductio ad absurdum. I can’t see how this would be any different from any one of us suing the auto companies for the idiot driver who crashes into us. The maker of the automobile isn’t guilty of anything, so how can the oil company be responsible for something that a host of permits were all approved and they delivered a product to all of us to enable our fossil fuelled economy? The Gov’t even collected a royalty. This includes the crab fishing boats who also used fossil fuels to catch their crabs. These cases have no legal foundation in law against a primary producer.

    All of these nuisance suits should never even be allowed to file, or if they are allowed, when they are dismissed, it should be with costs against the group who files the suit. Until the fossil fuel companies are ruled criminal with a cease and desist order, they are acting legally within the law for the benefit of civilization. If any of these cases in the USA were successful at the lower court level, I can’t see how SCOTUS could ever uphold them. Perhaps in some other country with a judicial activist court bent on shaking down an oil company, but then that country would be on thin ice internationally.

  28. “While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere.”

    This position assumes that the oil companies knew the danger and concealed it but ignores the fact that if the oil companies “knew” that , they were wrong. We now have several independent proofs that the atmospheric CO2 content is independent of human emissions. Rapid increases(2002) and abrupt leveling off (2013) of human emissions had no effect on the growth rate of atmospheric CO2. Because this fact has been hidden, derided, and censored within the climate science community, and ignored by the press we are still being subject to meaningless law suits and endless droning about our destruction of the planet. In my opinion it is time to force the climate consensus community to address this fact and either falsify Salby, Harde, Wallace, Berry and others that have tried to bring this information out into the open or accept it and move on to some other focus.

  29. A couple of moral rules to follow would include:
    -Get in/out of Alaska by electric aircraft instead of the actual prosperous fleet
    -Use sailboats (as already mentioned further up, hat-tip)
    -Refrain distress calls until CG adopts sailboats and electric quadra-copters
    -Stop systematic use of substances that have to be flown from far down south

    Talk the talk, walk the walk.

  30. So….the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, initially discovered from ship records on salmon migration patterns leading to waxing and waning fisheries, can now be blamed on climate pollution, not natural processes. Okee dokee!

  31. What is the link between the diatoms and the oil rigs? I can’t find it in the article or the supplied link?
    Elsewhere in the world, this would be blamed on either 1> natural cycles, or 2> run off from fertilizers on the mainland.

  32. Reminds me of a similar court case in Indonesia. Gas companies moved into a near uninhabitable swamp in Indonesia. A gigantic LNP was built around a harbor, land was filled in. A city built around this along with a methane plant and other industry, hospitals, schools, and so on.
    Anyway, LNG plants, as part of the refrigeration process, generate huge amounts of heat. This plant heated up the bay by a few degrees. Fish numbers, and coral exploded. Fish bread better with a bit of warmth. So did the number of fishermen, to feed the ever growing population in the city.
    Anyway, the area was over-fished. The owner of the indentured fishermen came up with a new way to make money, he partnered with NGO’s from the USA to sue the oil companies for the reduction in fish stocks. Failed in the courts.

    The NGO’s also tried this pollution thing. Seawater was analysed for any sort of toxin worth suing over. Problem was, the surrounding seas were clean, with a gradient in water toxins demonstrating that Jakarta had a big problem. That was a long long way away. I understand the NGO’s became quite frustrated. Nothing to sue over.

    The NGO’s did have success in Myanmar. They forced the US companies to stay out of a similar area in Myanmar. Similar deal, but with a giant power station, roads, hospitals, schools to be supplied as part of the package. So the are was developed by the French and Chinese instead. The US NGO’s were happy.

    This happened around 20 years ago.

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