Oil companies, energy producers, car manufacturers and customers who depend upon all three, are finally experiencing an overheated man-made climate threat truly worth worrying about. It is arriving in the form of expensive and irrational anti-fossil legislation and litigation.
On March 7, a three-judge panel in the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied a petition to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust, an anti-fossil organization which claims that the Trump administration is violating future constitutional rights of future generations by ignoring climate dangers. The claimants are fronted by Earth Guardians, a group of young children and teenagers they organized and sponsored expressly for this purpose.
Craig Rucker, of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, aptly opines that the lawsuit "serves the narrow interests of green elites, Our Children’s Trust and their ilk, who are really undermining the future of today’s children."
Rucker believes that in doing so, the children are being cynically exploited to pursue goals that condemn future generations to lower living standards in a world of energy scarcity and poverty.
Our Children’s Trust executive director, Julia Olsen, stated, "It’s very exciting. It will be the first time that climate science and the government’s role in creating its dangers will go on trial in a U.S. court."
Perhaps, but that’s not the only national climate science legal case. The cities of Oakland, California, San Francisco, and affiliated environmental activist groups are also suing oil producers for dangerous climate change impacts, including damage from rising seas.
William Alsup, the presiding judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, has given both sides 60 minutes to back up their arguments with a historical tutorial on climate change. Each will have an additional hour to discuss the best available science on climate change, melting ice, sea level rise, and coastal flooding.
Chevron, the only oil company which has offered to participate in the tutorial, is basing much of its case upon information from a most remarkable source . . . the very same U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represented by climate alarmists as the holy grail of scientific authority.
IPCC’s reports admit to myriad data uncertainties, expose badly failed climate model temperature predictions, and present disingenuously misleading summary conclusions. Furthermore, there is no IPCC consensus that any human contribution to global warming either have been, or will be, net-harmful.
Chevron observes that "the plaintiff’s own words contained in municipal bond offerings, admit future sea level rise cannot be predicted." The company also notes that the plaintiffs and their constituents (cities and their businesses and residents) — not oil companies — are using the fossil fuels that produce most of the greenhouse gases.
We can expect to see a raft of California-led lawsuits against the Trump administration in the event that EPA follows up with proposed relaxation of stringent Obama climate-based Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards. Current rules mandate that auto makers approximately double present total average model year gas mileage efficiencies to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
California has had a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act that allows it to set higher standards, and the state’s Attorney General Vavier Becerra has threatened to sue EPA over the new policy. The fight could end up splitting the U.S. car market by creating a separate set of rules for cars sold in California and a dozen other states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Those futile climate control wars come at a very high cost. Many automakers have been forced to meet EPA’s CAFÉ targets by selling small and electric cars at a loss, and some have shifted production to Mexico. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has estimated that his company loses $14,000 on each Fiat 500e.
CAFÉ also costs lives by causing cars to be made smaller and lighter . . . less crashworthy. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which measures crashworthiness says "Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer."
If lawsuits over CAFÉ standards don’t percolate interest, how about regulations over coffee standards? California’s Council on Education and Research on Toxics has sued Starbucks and 90 other companies under a state law that requires warning labels on a wide range of chemicals that can potentially (not provably) cause cancer.
The coffee lawsuit which has been brewing over past eight years will determine if civil penalties can be levied of up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over a period of eight years. Attorney Raphael Metzher who brought forth the suit, is himself a presumed caffeine-addicted victim who admittedly drinks a few cups of coffee daily.
So if the CAFÉ standard doesn’t kill you, costs of violating a new California-legislated coffee standard might do so by keeping you less alert at the wheel. In any case, my life wouldn’t be quite the same without that last temporarily legal non-narcotic early morning high.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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