More On European Climate Change Litigation: These People Are Crazy

From The MANHATTAN CONTRARIAN

Francis Menton

It’s easy to look at “climate change” litigation in the U.S. and conclude that a good percentage of our environmental bureaucrats and judges who get involved in these things are crazy. Thus many courts around the country (mostly state courts) have allowed lawsuits seeking damages against oil companies over greenhouse gas emissions from their products to proceed at least beyond the preliminary stages. And the EPA, early in the Obama administration (2009) issued what is called the “Endangerment Finding,” declaring CO2 and other GHGs to be a “danger to public health and welfare” — a ridiculous determination that the Trump administration nevertheless did not attempt to undo, and which substantially ties the government’s hands in contesting wacky climate-related cases. Not that the Biden Administration can be counted on to contest these cases at all, no matter how preposterous.

But we do have in the U.S. this thing called the doctrine of “non-justiciability.” That is the doctrine under which our courts steer clear of cases that ask courts to rule broadly on matters of public policy that are more legitimately the province of the legislatures. At the federal level, the non-justiciability doctrine arises out of the separation of powers embodied in the Constitution’s structure, as well as by the language of Article 3 Section 2, which describes the jurisdiction of the federal courts only in terms of “Cases” and “Controversies.” The doctrine has been around for a long time, and is well-established in many precedents. As discussed in my most recent post, it was the non-justiciability doctrine that sank the Juliana case, which sought to get a court to order the end of the use of fossil fuels in the U.S. on the basis of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Even two of three Obama-appointed judges on the Ninth Circuit panel agreed with that rationale. Had the case reached the Supreme Court, the 6-3 “conservative” majority, in my judgment, would be highly likely to apply the “non-justiciable” rationale to privately-brought litigation that seeks a fundamental restructuring of the economy through court order. (A different issue is whether the Supreme Court, in the presence of the Endangerment Finding, would try to overrule a restructuring of the economy via EPA or other bureaucratic regulation that claimed some statutory basis, however flimsy.)

But let’s consider Europe. I don’t claim any special expertise on their law, particularly environmental law, or on their court system. But from what I can find out about “climate litigation” over there, there are many judges who don’t seem to feel themselves bound by prudential strictures of a “non-justiciability” doctrine or anything comparable. Plenty of judges, including many at the highest level of the court system, have bought into the anthropogenic climate change religion, and are just itching to get the chance to exercise their powers to “save the planet.”

Sunday’s post covered on case out of the Netherlands (Urgente) where an environmental group asked the courts to order the government to reduce GHG emissions well below the trajectory implied by existing government policy; and the courts went right ahead and ordered that. The rationales given included everything from Article 21 of the Dutch Constitution (“It shall be the concern of the authorities to keep the country habitable and to protect and improve the environment.”) to “principles under the European Convention on Human Rights,” to the “fairness principle” (is that a legal doctrine over there?) to the “precautionary principle” (same), and several more of a similar level of generality. As far as I can determine, this case made it through three levels of the court system of the Netherlands — trial court, court of appeals, and Supreme Court — without a single judge dissenting or even questioning whether it was a good idea for the courts to be ordering the government to coerce the people to reduce their GHG emissions by some 25% within one year. I cannot seem to find how many individual judges weighed in on this at the three levels, but maybe somebody more familiar with the courts of the Netherlands can let us know.

And as I look around today, it turns out that the courts of the Netherlands are not alone in Europe in issuing orders of this sort. This type of litigation is everywhere, and the courts in multiple countries have been only too happy to issue sweeping orders to get the people into line. Herewith a few examples:

  • Germany. ClimateCaseChart.com (CCC) lists seven of these environmental policy cases in Germany. One is Neubauer v. Germany, brought in February 2020 in the German Constitutional Court by yet another group of “youth” plaintiffs. The plaintiffs asked the court to strike down the German Bundesklimaschutzgesetz (KSG, or Federal Climate Protection Law) for violating the plaintiffs’ “human rights” by not setting sufficiently stringent requirements for GHG emissions reductions. What “human rights” were alleged to be violated? From the summary at CCC: “The[] claims principally arose out of the principle of human dignity allegedly enshrined in Article 1 of the Basic Law; Article 2 of the Basic Law, which protects the right to life and physical integrity; and Article 20a of the Basic Law, which protects the natural foundations of life in responsibility for future generations.” And on that basis the courts can usurp the fundamental function of the legislature? Yes. “On April 29, 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court struck down the parts of the KSG as incompatible with fundamental rights for failing to set sufficient provisions for emissions cuts beyond 2030. The . . . Court stated that Article 20a “is a justiciable legal norm that is intended to bind the political process in favour of ecological concerns, also with a view to the future generations that are particularly affected.” Here is a link to an official English translation of the court’s opinion.
  • Belgium. A case called VZW Klimaatzaak v. Kingdom of Belgium, brought in 2014 in the Brussels Court of First Instance by some 58,000 Belgian citizens, bears great resemblance to the Urgente case in the Netherlands; but it has proceeded at a slower pace. Only over the course of 2019 and 2020 did the parties make paper submissions of their claims and defenses (in the nature of a trial). The court heard oral arguments over the period March 16-26, 2021. According to the summary at CCC, “the plaintiffs [sought an] injunction directing the government to reduce emissions 42 to 48% in 2025 and at least 55 to 65% in 2030.” The court issued its initial ruling on June 17, 2021. It “held that the Belgium government breached its duty of care by failing to take necessary measures to prevent the harmful effects of climate change.” However, the court “declined to set specific reduction targets on separation of powers grounds.” That’s at least a little refreshing. Expect the plaintiffs to appeal and to try to get further injunctive relief from the appeals courts. The court’s judgment (unofficial English translation) is here.
  • Ireland. The Irish analog to the Dutch, German and Belgian cases is called Friends of the Irish Environment v. Ireland. The case was brought in 2017 in the High Court of Ireland (trial-level court) by an environmental group, and alleged the usual suite of violations of human rights under the national constitution (here of Ireland) as well as the European Convention on Human Rights; but in this case there was also an allegation of violation of the Irish statute called the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act of 2015 (“Act”)(that was essentially the enabling statute of the Paris Climate Agreement of that year). In this case the High Court in 2019 ruled fully for the government. However, the plaintiff FIE then appealed, and the Supreme Court of Ireland accepted a direct appeal (skipping the normal step of going through a court of appeals). The Supreme Court to its credit has some substantial discussion of issues of separation of powers and justiciability. However, it then found a basis in the Act to rule against the government, finding that the government’s plans to comply with the Act were insufficiently specific as to how CO2 emissions targets would be achieved by 2050. As to rights under the Irish constitution, the court found that FIE (as a corporate rather than human entity) lacked standing to assert them, but went on to state that it was “not ruling out the possibility that constitutional rights and obligations may well be engaged in the environmental field in an appropriate case.” The opinion of the Irish Supreme Court is here.

In other jurisdictions, cases have been filed, but are too young to have generated significant court decisions. For example, in the UK a case called Plan B Earth v. Prime Minister — brought by an environmental group and several young people and raising the usual issues of violations of “human rights” — was only commenced on May 1, 2021. No decision is yet reported.

Have plaintiffs actually lost any of these cases in Europe? I find one in Switzerland: Union of Swiss Senior Women for Climate v. Swiss Federal Council. The case was brought in 2016, and alleged that failure to reduce GHG emissions rapidly enough violated the usual collection of general constitutional and human “rights” like the right to life and the “sustainability principle.” The case made its way through a series of Swiss bodies, including the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications and the Federal Administrative Court (all of which dismissed the matter) before getting to the Swiss Supreme Court in May 2020. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal, concluding “that the plaintiffs’ asserted rights had not been affected with sufficient intensity, and that the remedy they seek must be achieve through political rather than legal means.” Here is an unofficial English translation of the Supreme Court’s decision. Finally, some judges with a proper sense of their role in a political system! You will not be surprised to learn that the plaintiffs in November 2020 then filed a petition for review of the matter by the European Court of Human Rights. That court has now given the case what they call “priority status,” and directed the Swiss government to submit a response by July 16, 2021. I don’t find that document yet at the CCC site.

Which brings us back to the Duarte case, discussed previously in Sunday’s post, and brought by a group of Portuguese young people as a matter of supposed original jurisdiction in the European Court of Human Rights. Which way is the ECtHR going to go on this issue? There doesn’t seem to be much doubt. In May 2021, Lucas Bergkamp and Katinka Brouwer (of CLINTEL) put together a Report on the subject for something called the ECR Group of the European Parliament. The Report is titled “Climate Politics Disguised as Human Rights at “The European Climate Change Court.” Although the case is new, and has not yet generated a decision on the merits, Bergkamp and Brouwer make a number of telling points:

  • Going through the national judicial process in some country is normally a pre-requisite to filing a case in the ECtHR. However, the Duarte case completely skipped that step, and then “was even given special preferential treatment due to it being deemed a matter of ‘urgency.’”
  • The ECtHR, on its own initiative, added a claim to the claims asserted by the Duarte plaintiffs: “[T]he ECtHR has, on its own initiative, extended the complaint brought by the under-age complainants to include ‘torture.’ According to the Court, pursuing an ‘inadequate climate policy’ can apparently lend itself to being equated with torture or inhumane treatment.”
  • “[T]he ECtHR has rejected an extensively substantiated request for intervention from concerned MEPs without providing reasons for this decision. The same fate befell a group with expertise in constitutional law, as well as an organisation that is critical of climate policy and its scientific basis. However, interventions were allowed by organisations that are clearly sympathetic to the complainants in this case..”
  • And best of all are the extra-judicial statements of “judges” involved in the case, including statements about the “undeniable existence of a climate emergency” that requires urgent action, and the desirability of making the ECtHR a “European Court of Climate Change.”

On the last point, here is a speech made by a guy named Robert Spano, given October 5, 2020. Spano — who is from Iceland of all places — is the President of the ECtHR. The title of the speech was “Should the European Court of Human Rights become Europe’s environmental and climate change court?” I’ll just give you this brief excerpt from the conclusion:

No one can legitimately call into question that we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity. For its part, the European Court of Human Rights will play its role within the boundaries of its competences as a court of law forever mindful that Convention guarantees must be effective and real, not illusory.

I guess we can all see where this one is going.

Read the full article here.

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Zig Zag Wanderer
September 2, 2021 10:06 pm

Thus many courts around the country (mostly state courts) have allowed lawsuits seeking damages against oil companies over greenhouse gas emissions from their products to proceed at least beyond the preliminary stages.

If someone gets an electric shock from some faulty wiring, is it the fault of the electric company or the person who installed the wiring?

Are electric companies to blame for the electrocution of criminals?

Let’s sue all car manufacturers for all deaths and injuries from automobile accidents. There’s a huge class action suit!

Last edited 18 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Redge
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 2, 2021 11:22 pm

The ambulance chasers are already on it

The Last Resort
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 3, 2021 2:09 am

Better still, what about a class action against all drivers of ICE vehicles?

MarkW
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 3, 2021 7:15 am

Leftists have been trying to sue gun makers over deaths caused by guns.

Richard Page
Reply to  MarkW
September 3, 2021 10:15 am

That’s because, to a lefty, people are all victims and corporations are all evil money making criminals. It’s a very odd but simple worldview – the advantage being you don’t have to be very intelligent to understand it; in fact intelligence is more of a hindrance to the left.

michel
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 4, 2021 1:01 am

Not really a good analogy. The issue in the emissions cases isn’t that anything is faulty. The issue is that the demanded action can have no effect on the supposed problem.

Someone below makes the analogy of suing car manufacturers over traffic deaths. Again, not really a good analogy. That is analogous to suing the oil and coal companies over global warming, which has failed over and over.

The correct analogy would be if they were to sue the government to ban cars in order to eliminate traffic accidents. Which, it would be argued, are a breach of human rights – this, it would be argued, is a government running an unsafe transport system whose intrinsic unsafety breaches human rights.

Its an argument that at least makes logical sense, whether its policy sense or not is another matter. And if you consider it you see the absurdity of the present suits. Banning cars really would eliminate traffic accidents.

Banning local emissions will not have any effect on global emissions and therefore not on global warming, and therefore cannot be even a partial remedy for the human rights violations alleged.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  michel
September 4, 2021 4:52 am

Per passenger mile trains are 3 times more deadly than road transport.
That’s in the UK, where roads are very safe.

niceguy
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 6, 2021 9:27 pm

Once more, I ask why the US has a law to protect the firearm industry in particular, and no other laws for any other industry or activity.

(The Q isn’t why these manufacturers shouldn’t have to bother with activist parent’s victims. And they actually are bothered so it isn’t working at all.)

John
September 2, 2021 10:33 pm

The legal profession is one of the biggest businesses in the developed world and they are ever looking for big pots of money to pilfer i.e. tobacco, pharma, and now big oil.

Alba
Reply to  John
September 3, 2021 3:53 am

The legal profession is one of the biggest businesses in the developed world.
You bet they are. I recently received a bill for over £4,000 from my lawyer for doing some work which involved her in writing a few letters.

Nick B
Reply to  Alba
September 3, 2021 9:23 am

Call to a lawyer:

  • How much it will cost me to ask you two questions?
  • 8 hundred dollars. And what is the second one?
Prjindigo
September 2, 2021 11:31 pm

Well, all that AND that in the US we have laws that require facts be used in court, unlike the EU where facts are immaterial to law. Law is seriously retarded over there on the continent, I’m glad England is bailing. Hope to be able to buy stuff direct from them soon.

Ron Long
Reply to  Prjindigo
September 3, 2021 3:35 am

Good to call for facts to be used in court, but the litigation appears to have skipped over the actual trial of whether CAGW is correct or whether the normal climate cycles override all possible Anthropogenic signals. So, I am waiting for a version of the Scopes Monkey Trial, but waiting without much expectation as the CAGW movement is about wealth redistribution and political advantage, not Science.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  Ron Long
September 3, 2021 5:48 am

They have avoided the Scopes Trial equivalent with the statement “No one can dispute…”. It is a declaration only and whatever follows is subject to correction.

I have seen an ISO/IWA document of test methods that has in the first line “The xxx test method is not the only acceptable method of determining ….” implying without examination that it was in fact a method with some value. In reality it was an unpublished, unreviewed method with no custodian or legitimating authority.

The parallel is remarkable, hence my remark. The unproven, wild-eyed claims of impending climate doom have no custodian or legitimating authority. Say what you want then claim no one can challenge the legitimacy of the assertions. This is Alinsky in courtroom robes and a wig.

It is the environmental equivalent of asking in court if you have stopped beating your wife, adding as unchallengeable the sub-text that you did.

Matthew Sykes
September 2, 2021 11:43 pm

Let the EU destroy itself with this BS religion, we are out of it!

old engineer
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 3, 2021 4:34 pm

Matthew-

You only think we are out of it. Note that the Supreme court’s “endangerment finding” found CO2 and other GHGs to be a “danger to public health and welfare.’

According to an article in the Sept. 1-7, 2021 Epoch Times, the Biden Administration has created a new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) within the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Quoting the Epoch Times “The new office’s responsibilities include supporting the establishment of new regulations on green house gas emissions by the health care sector.”

The article also extensively quoted Jay W. Richards, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. The take away sentence: “I would expect this new office to start promoting COVID-like restrictions on ordinary activities that involve the use of energy and Hydrocarbons. In fact, that seems to be the very point of the office.”

There you have it. No longer do you have to go to court in the U.S. The HHS will simply
dictate what the rules are in order to protect “public health and welfare.” Game Over. 1984 fifty years late.

DJ in De
Reply to  old engineer
September 3, 2021 6:21 pm

You said “Note that the Supreme court’s “endangerment finding” found CO2 and other GHGs to be a “danger to public health and welfare.’”

As best I recall that is not exactly correct.
 I understood at the time, that the US Supreme Court ruled that the EPA could make a ruling on CO2.
The actually endangerment finding was made by the EPA after the court ruling.

old engineer
Reply to  DJ in De
September 3, 2021 8:47 pm

I was repeating the idea expressed at the start of the post. But you are correct, the court said the EPA had the authority to rule on CO2. It was the EPA that actually made the endangerment finding.

I still think this new administration emphasis on climate danger to public heath will lead to some Draconian regulations. Just imagine “sue and settle” not only for the EPA but also for the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Art Slartibartfast
September 2, 2021 11:52 pm

The Dutch activist group is named Urgenda, not Urgente

Willem post
Reply to  Art Slartibartfast
September 3, 2021 6:00 am

Urgent agenda becomes urgenda.
Those RE folks are pure geneouses

Brent Qually
Reply to  Willem post
September 3, 2021 9:17 am

Sounds like a laxative.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Brent Qually
September 4, 2021 12:09 am

That would be an appropriate explanation for the name as they are so full of sh….

Duker
September 3, 2021 12:18 am

As I can understand it, the court is an advisory body only to rule of breaches of the ‘Convention’ on Human Rights for the EU.
This could be why it’s judicial principles can be very wobbly
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/165/human-rights#:~:text=While%20not%20legally%20binding%2C%20the,Dialogues%20on%20human%20rights

So you have an advisory body which rules merely on a convention with all the trappings of a court when it really has the gravitas of Small Claims Tribunal…the judges aren’t appointed for life either as you would expect for a real court. It’s well to remember that European judges are more like career civil servants who work up the career ladder, rather than the Anglo_American type of independent system.

John McCabe
September 3, 2021 12:20 am

Funny that these idiots don’t understand that the “human rights” they currently enjoy exist substantially due to the availability of relatively cheap and reliable energy supplies; the same energy supplies they appear to be seeking to destroy. It is substantially due to this availability that life expentancy has increased; infant mortality has reduced; numbers in extreme poverty have reduced; life, in general, has become easier and safer. If judges are incapable of recognising this, there is no justification for them to be allowed to continue in the rôle.

DD More
Reply to  John McCabe
September 3, 2021 6:48 am

Sounds like most of the targets are “GHG emissions reductions.”

So get the list of all the plaintiffs and cut their power and take away their cars.
Let the lead from the front on the reductions.

Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 12:40 am

The long march through the institutions (German: der lange Marsch durch die Institutionen) is a slogan coined by Communist student activist Rudi Dutschke around 1967 to describe his strategy for establishing the conditions for revolution: subverting society by infiltrating institutions such as the professions. The phrase “long march” is a reference to the prolonged struggle of the Chinese communists, which included a physical Long March of their army across China.

–Wiki

In the 1970s communist doctrine, as told me by a fellow student, who was a communist, was to infiltrate all public institutions – expecially those funded by the taxpayer – with the express intention of replacing the whole thinking of the public by one based on a ‘them and us, victim and oppressor’ narrative.

That process is almost complete: 40 years on the issue is not whether ‘victim or oppressor’ is a valid or useful way to interpret society, it is whose side are you on?

The same people have found a use for the climate change narrative. And as with any other pulic institution staffed with second rate brains, the judiciary is full of Marxist thinkers as well.

More social conflict means more work for lawyers.

“It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since…it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought.”

The late Sir Roger Scruton

There are three broad institutions in the world today for whom power trumps truth, and lies are not only permissible, but utterly moral tools in pursuit of the objectives. They are Marxism, where the goal of replacing society and democracy by one run ostensibly on behalf of the people by ‘the intellectually superior and more moral people’ , Radical Islam, where the goal is of establishing moral and religious ‘Caliphate’ across broad swathes of the world and lying to the Infidel is not just an option, it is a duty, and of course the corporate world of mass marketing, funding of the media and so on, where the only morality is profit on behalf of shareholders. Try and think of any advertisement recently they informs a truth, rather than constructs an emotional narrative based around a product.

All of these are now natural allies, as they all seek the same end – an indoctrinated uneducated public, dominated by what amounts to a theocracy, where democracy has been castrated to become simply the choice of meaningless puppets from a single elite, and the people are told what products they must consume, in order to maintain moral validity.

And those second rate brains – the useful idiots of intellectual Marxism, are trampling all over each other in the rush to validate their credentials and be significant warriors in the struggle to overthrow democracy and create new antidemocratic repressive power blocs to rival the Chinese for sheer cruelty and authoritaranism.

Tinfoil hat conspiracy theory? Perhaps. Look around and see whether this viewpoint makes more sense of what is happening…

In the mediaeval feudal system, the plebs only had value for their (agricultural) labour. In todays post industial world, their only value is as consumers, and if consumption is denied them, they have no further use whatsoever.

The chilling thought is that today’s population are less than slaves. Slaves had value.

Alba
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 4:08 am

In the 1970s communist doctrine, as told me by a fellow student, who was a communist, was to infiltrate all public institutions 
An example was their attempted infiltration of the Catholic Church.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/School-Darkness-Bella-V-Dodd/dp/1621382923
The Communist Party was one of the organisations which had come to the conclusion that the only way to defeat the Catholic Church was to infiltrate it. The Freemasons is another such organisation.

huls
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 5:44 am

Radical Islam is a tautology

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 3, 2021 12:44 am

This is what happens to lawyers who trespass into politics:

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

Leo Smith
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 3, 2021 2:22 am

Never heard of that incident before. Well you live and learn. Sadly most political leaders ARE lawyers..

Barrack Obama
Kamala Harris
Tony Blair…

Duker
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 3:30 am

So was Pence.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 5:41 am

Sadly most political leaders ARE lawyers..

Have you not noticed that politicians are now being referred to as ‘lawmakers’ by the MSM? This is not coincidental.

Last edited 18 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Coeur de Lion
September 3, 2021 12:53 am

Surely it could be arranged to pull the electric plug out of the courtroom during the hearing?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 3, 2021 5:44 am

You don’t need to. Just hook the power up to wind turbines, you’ll get the same effect.

Robertvd
September 3, 2021 1:01 am

Bureaucrats and Judges are just people who can be corrupted by those in power behind the curtain.

If you can print all you need it is easy to corrupt/buy every system.

Mike McMillan
September 3, 2021 1:07 am

If altered temperature records (and we know they are) are used in court, would that be a fraud on the court?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 3, 2021 2:15 am

In a criminal hearing under UK law it would be perjury and contempt of court to willingly and knowingly supply false ‘facts’ .

EU law is somewhat different.

But the get out clause – the ‘Blair Defense’ used by the British PM to exonerate himself from false information given to parliament over the Gulf war – is that ‘he didnt know it was false, he believed it to be correct’ – which merely makes him totally incompetent, rather than criminally liable, for lying.

Various eco-groups have got away with criminal damage because they ‘believed that the gravity of the climate crisis overrode other considerations of law’.

My impression is that they would get away with false data so long as they ‘believed it to be true’ .

Proving it false would destroy their case, but not render them criminally liable, sadly, unless it could be proved that they knew it was false.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 5:46 am

unless it could be proved that they knew it was false

That’s very difficult to prove against ‘know-nothings’

Last edited 18 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
whiten
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 3, 2021 8:16 am

In consideration of International law for crimes against humanity;

The clause “one did not know the wrong the one committed”, does not clear one from the crime.

I think.

cheers

Willem post
Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 3, 2021 6:02 am

Oh, no!
The judge likely asked for those false records, so he could rule with A POLITICALLY-CORRECT CONSCIENCE

Robertvd
September 3, 2021 1:12 am

Wouldn’t it be great to see all those who come to Davos for their annual meeting with their private jet now go there on a bicycle or walking.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Robertvd
September 3, 2021 1:46 am

I wonder if they could fly over Afghanistan?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
September 3, 2021 7:27 am

It would be best if they could route all flights to the “climate conference” over North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, and Ukraine on their way…

zee
September 3, 2021 1:26 am

But let’s consider Europe. I don’t claim any special expertise on their law, particularly environmental law, or on their court system. But from what I can find out about “climate litigation” over there, there are many judges who don’t seem to feel themselves bound by prudential strictures of a “non-justiciability” doctrine or anything comparable. Plenty of judges, including many at the highest level of the court system, have bought into the anthropogenic climate change religion, and are just itching to get the chance to exercise their powers to “save the planet.”

Peta of Newark
September 3, 2021 1:31 am

Quote:”No one can legitimately call into question that we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity.”

Never a truer word.
Shame you’re all barking (mad) Up The Wrong Tree

Here’s an absolute lovely for Original Thinkers and Enquiring Minds
From the Grauniad of all places

Now ain’t that a crazy thing, sunshine panels that work in reverse

Dig deeper
(Really rather rides a Coach & Horses through the GHGE but never mind that for now)

It seems they use Emissivity to achieve cooling – iow: high emissivity cools

Take that out into the big wide world and look for things/stuff with high emissivity.
2 particular things I see:
Water
Black Things e.g. Asphalt

Water: Found most everywhere, oceans, plants are made of it and damp/wet dirt
Can’t do much about oceans though it is notable that water can achieve very high and very low solar absorbance. It’s seems to have a lot in common with these panels.

What would happen if large areas that were previously ‘wet’, were dried out? If the water was removed? As happens on the nearly 10% of Earth’s total surface area (Farmland plus cities)
Assertion: The emissivity figure would fall
Question: Would the temperature rise as a consequence?

And we know that ‘places‘ have dried out – sea-level has and is rising.

Black Things:
This is a crazy one..
Asphalt is black, is found in large amounts in cities and is always touted as a major player in the Urban Heat Island effect
Think;
By being black, of high emissivity and getting extremely hot under the sun, is it a net accumulator of heat energy or a net radiator?
(Recall Stefan’s Law, esp the 4th power bit)

Also recall the barefoot walk in the local(city centre) park you took. How asphalt is very hot when the sun is up but within the hour after sunset, is as cold as the grass or the wet area round the kiddies’ paddling pool

Is asphalt actually cooling the city? (##)

Some people know it is – the folks who choose to wear black robes as they ride-upon and otherwise escort camels and each other across hot sandy deserts.

Back to the Grauniad with a question.
“How many feet do Warmists have, or used to have. They keep blowing another one off almost daily”

## Similarly, why does open (ocean) water never get above 31° Celsius?

David Stone CEng
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 4, 2021 12:52 am

It would probably help if they studied a little thermodynamics. Black items have high emissibility but at the same and inseperable time very high absorption. Black things absorb a lot of radiation, get very hot ans then radiate exactly the amount for their temperature. There is no “energy gain”, the black thing simply comes to a balance at a high temperature, energy in = energy out (although this may be at a different frequency!). There is thus NO increased heating of anything.

September 3, 2021 2:03 am

These climatechange priests are as crazy as these prohibiting any other treatment as questionable vaxxes against COV-19:

It’s open war on Ivermectin now

Word about Ivermectin is spreading in Australia, so much so that our Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, and “news” outlets felt the need to fire shots across the bow. As predicted the drug was labeled as a horse dewormer used by fringe people and crazies.  If the drug didn’t threaten sinecures and profits, it could have been called a Nobel Prize winning Wonder Drug used by 200 million people.
In an extraordinary turn, the Chief Medical Officer staked his reputation on something that is obviously flat out wrong and easily shown to be so. In another remarkable move, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia advised pharmacists to refuse legal prescriptions if the patient didn’t answer in a politically correct manner. (Who needs doctors?)

Last edited 18 days ago by Krishna Gans
pochas94
September 3, 2021 2:57 am

Our sins are a terrible burden. We must be made clean.

Philip
September 3, 2021 3:31 am

Not one of these people ask, at what cost to them, and the next generation. They have no grasp of history, and so they have no grasp of the future they are demanding. They just have feel good buzz words and way too much time to navel gaze.

Alba
September 3, 2021 3:51 am

I might be tempted to be thankful that we do not have a written Constitution in the UK but I suspect that that is no protection against activist judges.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Alba
September 3, 2021 6:15 am

That’s exactly what we have now in Switzerland. A judge ruled that “international treaties” are to be considered above the Swiss Constitution (thus, above the people). With one judgement, this guy factually disempowered the electors of our country. The people voted against the energy law but the government more or less ignored it, and will not step down from the Paris agreement. In march this year, a large majority voted against E-IDs. Now we’ve heard that they’re planning to introduce it in 2022…

whiten
Reply to  Alba
September 3, 2021 10:52 am

And yes Alba,
you must be thankful of not having a proper Constitution scribed in UK rule.

But that is only a case for cheering if the UK ‘master’ stands… Tall.
If the Monarch and the Monarchy not dispersed of their power of ruling!

cheers

george1st:)
September 3, 2021 5:15 am

Seems like many judges think they are politicians and want public approval rather than doing the job of adjudging the law as is required for their salary .
They are in the wrong profession .

observa
September 3, 2021 5:29 am

Same political lawyering going in Oz and we’ll see if there’s an appeal to this-

“The federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, has granted her first approval to a coalmining project since the federal court found she has a duty of care to protect young people from the climate crisis.
In a decision published late on Friday, Ley approved Wollongong Coal’s application to expand existing underground coalmining at its Russell Vale colliery north of Wollongong.
The project will extract approximately 3.7m tonnes of extra coal over a five-year period”

Sussan Ley approves first coal project since court rules she owes children duty of care (msn.com)

ResourceGuy
September 3, 2021 5:53 am

Why teach the Constitution or the Bill of Rights if it all comes down to a Doctrine behind the curtain and periodic political over reach moves on endangerment maneuvers?

Jeffery P
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 3, 2021 9:38 am

This is Europe we’re talking about, so the Constitution does not apply. Also, that’s exactly why the education establishment in the USA does not teach about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, etc.

fretslider
September 3, 2021 6:07 am

 litigation

I say that climate law suits should be placed before Judge Judy Scheindlin – on TV

Why not have a good laugh?

ResourceGuy
September 3, 2021 6:20 am
Thomas Gasloli
September 3, 2021 6:32 am

Another example that, as bad as things are currently in the US, things are far worse in Britain, the EU, Australia, and New Zealand.

Olen
September 3, 2021 6:57 am

Human rights, they have it backwards! The right to prosper, if you can achieve that, is a human right because prospering is related to health, happiness and security. A small panel of appointed judges with the power to demand that which is not reasonable cannot be the function of the courts.

ResourceGuy
September 3, 2021 6:58 am

This is actually how things are done in the EU behind all the bluster.

German carmakers reject environmental groups’ climate demand – ABC News (go.com)

MarkW
September 3, 2021 7:15 am

Socialists have been using the courts to get what can’t get through the legislative process for at least 50 years. One of the earliest cases was Roe v Wade.

markl
September 3, 2021 7:28 am

So far proclamations from courts and litigation haven’t changed anything but reduced energy availability and raised living costs. The “Yellow Vests” were just a harbinger of what a fossil fuel free world would bring. All the virtue signaling by governments, courts, businesses, and people are nothing more than hand waving hysterics without thought to consequences. Unfortunately we have to wait for the consequences to see how the people react. And they will when it touches home.

Antonym
September 3, 2021 8:20 am

Most Dutch judges are D66 members or voters: a liberal party gone Green gaga, as are most MSM. Don’t expect any sense from them. On top most Dutch politicians have supported all kinds of Green laws, including the Paris collective suicide pact, so the outcome will be a California v 2.0.

Antonym
September 3, 2021 8:24 am

\Now they are eying their only steel plant, Tata steel for closure. After many decades under |Dutch management some Greens have suddenly noticed some dust, so close it and lose thousands of others jobs.

griff
September 3, 2021 8:26 am

Plenty of judges, including many at the highest level of the court system, have bought into the anthropogenic climate change religion

Or rather accept the science and the evidence of their own experience.

Climate science is science, not a religion, nor some leftist ‘plot’

Nigel in California
Reply to  griff
September 3, 2021 5:18 pm
  1. ‘Climate science’ is not infallible.
  2. ‘accept the science’ does not mean that the science is correct (see my first point).
  3. People have different ‘experiences’. This is not the same as objective ‘evidence’ for climate science.
  4. ‘…is science’ is a fallacious appeal to authority.
  5. ‘not a religion’, this is true. It has the traits of a cult.
  6. ‘[not a] leftist plot’, this is also true. But, it is being used by many unthinkingly, unwittingly and shamelessly.
michel
Reply to  griff
September 4, 2021 1:14 am

Climate science is certainly one of the sciences. The theory of global warming however is just one of the many theories that many climate scientists accept.

Denying that this theory has merit is not denying that climate science is a science or rejecting climate science itself. Its a bit like phlogiston, or the miasma theory of some illnesses, back in the day.

You could be, and increasing numbers became, skeptical about phlogiston without rejecting either physics or chemistry. You could reject the miasma theory and think that mosquitoes or polluted water were causing the diseases attributed to it, without rejecting medical science. You could reject bleeding as a remedy without refusing to accept medical science, it was just a mistaken medical theory.

So your last point is typically wrong.

But the real point is, if you approve these suits, you have to believe that granting their claims would remedy the human rights breaches they complain of and seek to stop. Otherwise they are a nonsense.

Lets hear you explain, then. If the Netherlands reduces emissions by 25% or whatever, how is that going to remedy the specific human rights harms complained of? Lets see the explanation.

ResourceGuy
September 3, 2021 8:36 am

Another add-on cost of doing business for consumers

Our major projects | Shell Global

Brooks H Hurd
September 3, 2021 8:42 am

Switzerland is not in the EU. This may explain the more rational approach of the Swiss judiciary. EU states have not only national laws, but also EU laws that plaintives can use to craft lawsuits.

TonyG
September 3, 2021 9:21 am

I wonder if this is why we have never encountered evidence of any extraterrestrial civilization: maybe all civilizations implode and destroy themselves when they reach a certain level of technological sophistication. We’re certainly trying.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  TonyG
September 3, 2021 9:54 am

I think all the civilizations out there take one look at us and decide to blockade the Earth.

Robert of Texas
September 3, 2021 9:48 am

The Europeans are used to having to live under the dictates of a few powerful “lords”, which in this case are really the elite power-brokers of a new religion. The judges should be rebranded as Bishops and Cardinals to make this more clear.

Think about it – if the “harm” were really so obvious then governments would be taking stronger actions. Since there is no obvious “harm”, the only way forward is through the centralized and powerful Church of Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC).

Rick C
September 3, 2021 9:55 am

It seems rather obvious that the flow of oil and gas from Shell’s GOM holdings will continue in spite of what a Dutch court ruled. The assets involved will just be owned by some other entity beyond Dutch jurisdiction.

Beta Blocker
September 3, 2021 10:41 am

Let’s take a look at the past history of efforts by the climate activists and their lawyers to use the Clean Air Act (CAA) to its maximum possible effectiveness in reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions.

* The Climate Activist’s Legal Strategy from 2005 through 2012 * 

Between 2005 and 2012, the environmental law community pursued a strategy of using lawsuits filed in the courts to force the EPA to regulate our carbon emissions as hazardous air pollutants. In 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide can be regulated as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. In 2009, Obama’s EPA published a CAA Section 202 Endangerment Finding for carbon which was later successfully defended in the courts.

By 2012, the climate activists had established a strong legal foundation for directly regulating America’s carbon emissions through the aggressive application of the Clean Air Act. Starting in 2013, the Obama administration could have begun the process of building upon that strong legal foundation by extending the CAA in the following ways:

— Publish a Clean Air Act Section 108 Endangerment Finding for carbon which complements 2009’s Section 202 finding.
— Declare carbon emissions as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) under CAA Section 112.
— Establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon pollution.
— Use the NAAQS for carbon pollution as America’s tie-in to international climate change agreements.
— Defend the Section 108 Endangerment Finding, the NAAQS, and the Section 112 HAP Declaration in the courts.
— Publish a regulatory framework for carbon pollution under Clean Air Act sections 108, 111, 112, 202, and other CAA sections as applicable.
— Establish cooperative agreements with the states to enforce the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations.
— Continue to defend the EPA’s comprehensive system of carbon pollution regulations in the courts.

* In 2013, the Climate Activists abandon their 2005 – 2012 Legal Strategy *

President Obama didn’t follow through with using the legal foundation the environmental law community had created for him to extend the Clean Air Act. What happened instead was that Obama’s EPA published the Clean Power Plan, a program focused on eliminating coal as a major source of electric power. But that transition was already well underway as cheaper and cleaner natural gas began replacing coal as the preferred source of our carbon generated electricity.

If one is of a mind to regulate our carbon emissions down to Net Zero levels, then all major sources of our GHG emissions must be targeted with equal force, not just against coal. The burdens of the Net Zero transition must be spread equally among all affected socio-economic groups and among all affected economic sectors. IMHO, by targeting coal exclusively, the Clean Power Plan was consciously designed from the get-go to fail in the courts.

The climate activists never held Barack Obama to account for not following up on their 2005-2012 efforts. The environmental law community could have used the EPA’s ‘sue and settle’ process to force Obama to use the Clean Air Act to its maximum possible effectiveness in a direct and fully transparent application of the law. But no such sue-and-settle lawsuits were ever filed by the climate activists.  

* Chris Horner’s February 23rd 2021 Article concerning ‘Sue and Settle’ * 

Let’s revisit Chris Horner’s February 23rd, 2021, WUWT article, The Return of Sue and Settle

The gist of Horner’s article is that climate activist lawyers are now attempting to use sue and settle as a back door tactic for compelling the EPA to impose greatly more stringent anti-carbon regulations on the American public.   

However, in contrast with their 2005-2012 legal strategy, these 2021 lawsuits don’t request a direct and transparently visible application of the CAA. Rather, their argument strategy employs a highly wonkish technical approach which seeks to avoid the more knotty problems of using the Clean Air Act as a means of quickly decarbonizing America’s economy.

These problems include how to successfully defend the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations in the courts; and more practically, how to quickly reduce America’s carbon emissions without directly regulating the many millions of individual emission sources, large and small.

* Front Door strategies versus Back Door strategies for Employing the Clean Air Act *

The Democrats in Congress are now in the process of passing massive new spending programs for climate related projects. But the Congress itself will not likely grant new regulatory powers to the Executive Branch over and above what exists today. On the other hand, the Congress doesn’t need to.

Grace Weatherall, then a student at the Harvard Law School (JD 2021), wrote a white paper dated 07/27/2020 which explores the question of how the Clean Air Act could be used to quickly control America’s greenhouse gas emissions. What she has written in this recent white paper squares closely with my own past research concerning this topic.

Immediate Executive Action: Unexplored Options for Addressing Climate Change Under the Existing Clean Air Act 

Weatherall argues for a fully transparent front door means of employing the Clean Air Act for GHG regulation.

She argues that the use of the CAA for quickly reducing America’s carbon emissions is fully justified on its own legal and technical merits. If her approach was to be adopted, the use of a back door means such as sue and settle, one which uses a thoroughly wonkish legal and technical justification, wouldn’t be either necessary or even advisable.

She presents two alternative pathways for consideration. One pathway is to employ Section 108 of the CAA to identify carbon emissions as *criteria pollutants* and to establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon. The other approach is to use Section 115 of the CAA to establish regulatory controls based on international agreements which enforce carbon emission regulations. 

She recommends that an approach relying on the Section 108 NAAQS process be attempted first. 

* The Difficulties of Employing the Clean Air Act for GHG Regulation *

The EPA has traditionally been the primary agency of government assigned the difficult job of balancing long-term economic interests against short-term and long-term environmental protection goals.

GHG emissions are ubiquitous throughout the American economy. Two key issues must be addressed by anyone who expects the Executive Branch to carry the full burden of quickly reducing America’s GHG emissions through taking immediate executive actions which are fully within its existing legal authorities.

The first key issue is how to avoid the massive complexity of regulating each individual source of carbon. The other key issue is how to structure the GHG reduction strategy so that it survives the many legal challenges certain to be brought against it in the courts.

Grace Weatherall points out that taking the approach of developing a NAAQS for carbon pollution under CAA Section 108 has the greatest potential for employing the Clean Air Act in a way which makes it both powerfully effective for controlling GHG emissions and legally defensible in the courts.

In her 2020 paper, Weatherall isn’t breaking new ground. She is saying something which the environmental law community has known for more than a decade, but which it now refuses to acknowledge. The question is, why?  What is different today in comparison with 2012?

* The SSCECP — a Fully Transparent ‘Front Door’ Approach to Anti-carbon Regulation *

Here in the United States, a number of lawsuits have been filed against the oil companies seeking environmental justice for their alleged actions in disrupting the earth’s climate system.

I’ve been arguing for some time that the Executive Branch of the US Government already has all the legal authority it needs to unilaterally impose a fossil fuel lockdown on the American economy.

That authority can be enabled in practice by combining elements of the Clean Air Act with elements of national security law as it applies to the declaration of a national emergency.

Repeating what I said earlier here on WUWT, I’ve created the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP) as an example of an energy policy plan for how a quick reduction in America’s GHG emissions might be accomplished in response to President Biden’s highly ambitious GHG reduction targets.

The full text of it is posted here on WUWT for reference: the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP)

Would a highly coercive and exceptionally aggressive GHG reduction plan like the SSCECP stand up in court?

Each element of the plan has a historical precedent in the application of either environmental law or national security law. The way the SSCECP is constructed, the Clean Air Act component and the national security law component lean on each other and keep each other stable in the face of shifting litigation winds.

It’s my opinion that the SSCECP as now constructed would probably survive review in the current US Supreme Court. Moreover, it would almost certainly survive review in a 12-judge packed Supreme Court, one which the Democrats are likely to install before this Congressional term is finished.

* What kinds of games are the climate activists and their lawyers playing? *

Climate activists now control the US Government and they already have all the legal authority required to go as far and as fast as they might want to go in reducing our carbon emissions. They don’t need litigation against the oil companies to get the GHG reductions they say they want. And they don’t need a word of new legislation from the Congress.

So why isn’t the Biden administration moving forward with a plan like the one I’ve described above, the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP)?

Resetting America’s economic, cultural, and social order in accordance with President Biden’s social justice agenda is as much of an objective, if not more of an objective, of the Green New Deal as is the quick reduction of our GHG emissions.

But here’s the rub. If we are to achieve Biden’s GHG reduction targets, Americans must do with the Green New Deal what the Germans have done with their Energiewende: double the cost of energy for the average consumer and reduce the average person’s energy consumption to roughly half of what we consume today.

The transition from here to there will be an exceptionally painful experience for the average Joe and Jane energy consumer on Main Street, USA.

It’s obvious that by not doing what is clearly necessary to achieve their GHG reduction targets, the climate activists are avoiding the kind of severe political blowback which would threaten their social justice agenda.

Rhs
September 3, 2021 10:51 am

Although not government specifically, this article sums up a rejected Greenpeace demand by German auto makers:
https://www.ctvnews.ca/autos/german-carmakers-reject-environmental-groups-climate-demand-1.5572215

Spetzer86
September 3, 2021 11:59 am

A little off-base, but not much. CDC is getting into the gun rights discussion using similar concepts and ranking gun violence a health issue.

niceguy
Reply to  Spetzer86
September 7, 2021 5:02 pm

And now, disinformation as a pandemic issue…
They really are after opposite speech.

John in Oz
September 3, 2021 4:25 pm

Using the precautionary principle, all of the people making claims against fossil-fuels should be isolated in their homes in case they are struck by lightning, in a vehicle accident, stung by a bee and all other possible dangers.

If they feel the state has a responsibility to protect them from all of their imagined dangers, they should be fully protected.

Of course, while isolated, they must not use any product requiring fossil fuels.

Gyan1
September 3, 2021 4:42 pm

“MASS PSYCHOSIS – How an Entire Population Becomes MENTALLY ILL”

Exactly what we are witnessing.

michel
September 4, 2021 12:52 am

Yes, the legal basis is absurd.

The completely mad thing however is that even if the suits were legally properly based, they would have no merit.

Because what they are demanding would not fix or even address the problem. If the theory of global warming is correct, what matters is only the total global tonnage being emitted.

None of these suits, even if granted, can have the slightest effect on that. All of them taken together will have no material effect on it. They might as well sue to have the entire population stand on its head every Tuesday, because Global Warming. It would have just as much effect on global emission levels.

In any rational jurisdiction, if you sue to stop A on the basis of B, stopping A must have some substantial effect in remedying B. To give an example, you can imagine suing on the basis of road traffic deaths, arguing that the level was a breach of human rights, and demanding the remedy that car use stops.

Whatever you think of the merits of the argument, it at least makes logical sense. It really would stop road traffic deaths almost entirely. You can argue if it falls within human right, if it makes policy sense, but at least its logical.

The present suits demand countries take action on a global problem which can have no material effect on it.

The right thing for them to demand would be something like, governments to act in concert to increase their pressure on the biggest emitters by such measures as sanctions, banning imports… etc. In short, governments to act more effectively to bring about effective global action on the alleged global problem.

Now ask yourself the interesting question. Why do the greens demand action on this issue which can have no material effect on it?

Now you are asking!

niceguy
September 6, 2021 9:23 pm

Now imagine a group of concerned citizens enjoining a country to militarily invade some other country. I would make more sense to start a war on Iran, than on “carbon”.

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