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As Two Cities File Lawsuits, U.S. Supreme Court Will Have To Rule About Claims (And Counter-Claims) By Climate Scientists

September 22, 2017

By Paul Homewood


GWPF report:.



The suits, filed by San Francisco and Oakland in state Superior Court, are among the first in which plaintiffs are seeking to force companies to pay for infrastructure to protect coastal cities from potential damages caused by rising sea levels. The cities are asking for the oil companies to pay for sea walls and other infrastructure projects, the cost of which aren’t yet known, according to the cities, but are expected to be in the billions of dollars, they said.

Scientists have linked rising sea levels to the burning of fossil fuels and warming global temperatures.

The cases open a new front in a years long effort by environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and municipalities to hold big oil companies accountable for the societal costs of climate change.

Plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits or investigations have argued companies knew or should have known about the potential impacts of burning fossil fuels, but instead made efforts to sow doubt about the science behind global warming.

The companies dispute those allegations.

City attorneys reiterated those complaints Wednesday, with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera saying large oil companies “copied a page from the Big Tobacco playbook.”

“These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk,” Mr. Herrera said.

Matthew Pawa, an attorney who participated in a 2012 California conference that dealt with the potential for seeking climate change damages from oil companies and compared the effort to tobacco-company litigation, is part of the cities’ legal teams, according to court documents.

The San Francisco and Oakland suits allege the companies are a “public nuisance” and ask courts to force the firms— BP PLC, Chevron Corp. , ConocoPhillips , Exxon MobilCorp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC—to create a fund for each city to pay for infrastructure projects likely to cost billions of dollars.


In fact, sea levels have been rising steadily at San Francisco since 1850, long before  Big Oil came along:



Worse still for the con merchants, the rate of rise peaked in 1945, since when the rate of rise has slowed to 1.43mm/year:




Still, if San Francisco is so concerned, why don’t they stop using fossil fuels completely? They could start tomorrow.

  1. dave permalink
    September 22, 2017 10:16 am

    Just another wheeze by the lawyers’ mafia. As the old saw has it:

    “One lawyer in a town will starve; two… become rich.”

  2. September 22, 2017 10:22 am

    this is yet more evidence that the lunatics have taken over the asylum that is known as California.

  3. Athelstan permalink
    September 22, 2017 10:47 am

    “Plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits or investigations have argued companies knew or should have known about the potential impacts of burning fossil fuels, but instead made efforts to sow doubt about the science behind global warming.”

    Hmm, well SCOTUS is not full of green beholden, EUrophiliac Orxford tainted gimps like our own supposed supremely inept court.

    It is an interesting suit, trying to prove a non existent threat exists and that big bad oil knew about it all along.

    However what may play against ‘big oil’ is the very fact that these massive corporate giants in order to placate the interanti, illiberal Brussels empire and UN et al……..also play creative with the green agenda even toy with the idea that man is by somehow warming the planet by emitting carbon dioxide via usage of fossil fuels not least oil.

    Perhaps, a decent attorney might nail ’em. Well whatever you know who’ll pay for it in the long run – consumer……And note well that, the big lawyers will be on ‘team oil’ and ‘team oil’ will be throwing bombardment after bombardment onto ‘big coal’ – doubtless.

    I have no horse in this race but one thing you can bet on – over here in EUrope they’ll be looking on and rubbing their hands, shouting and cheering on the San Francisco snotty greentards.

    • Ian permalink
      September 22, 2017 10:55 am

      On the other hand, they may have overplayed their hand. The experts hired by the oil companies will be able to force the plaintiffs to look at real evidence instead of models. Isn’t his what’s needed?

      • RAH permalink
        September 22, 2017 12:34 pm

        Yes one would think so. However, never forget that we’re talking about California where the courts system is every bit as wacked out as the politicians bringing the suit are. Even the federal circuit court out there is nuts. The 9th circuit is the most overturned federal court in the country. So this thing may have to migrate up the legal chain before sane justices rule on it to get the results one would think would get at a lower level.

      • September 22, 2017 12:53 pm

        This is a court that struck down President Trump’s immigration plan. Not on the basis of any evidence presented in court but on their assessment of President Trump’s motives based on campaign rhetoric they had heard during the election. Whether or not you agree with the plan, it was struck down on the basis of statements not introduced in court.

        What is and is not admitted as evidence is irrelevant to the Ninth District Court in highly political cases like this.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 22, 2017 1:06 pm

        It has been warmist policy to avoid taking to the courts since they would ask for evidence and facts – not something they are familiar with. They weren’t happy on super-thin-skinned Mann taking to the courts to defend his fragile ego. So it could be a mistake as suggested.

    • HotScot permalink
      September 22, 2017 12:38 pm


      The problem as I see it is, US courts are politically influenced. Courts in the UK are entirely independent and can force governments, as they have done, to abide by the law of the land.

      And the worry is that the Californian court will have a judge who is entwined with the politics of the moment, and that’s not good in California right now.

      And there is little doubt that the issue will be politically driven, not scientifically driven.

      • Athelstan permalink
        September 22, 2017 4:08 pm

        “in state Superior Court”

        Hmm but either way the loser will appeal and then it goes up to the supreme court, or does it not?

  4. September 22, 2017 11:00 am

    Anyone expect such a court case to end in our lifetimes ?
    Meanwhile whilst ongoing it has propaganda value.
    and blame deflecting ..look we are acting we drove our petrol car to the court to sue the oil companies.

  5. September 22, 2017 11:29 am

    I’m of the opinion this is a good thing provided the oil companies and their Lawyers play it properly and don’t come to some sort of revenue sharing arrangement, which could be the ultimate aim of this action.

    There is every possibility of the oil companies being happy to be seen as the bad guys but trying to show they are now good guys by paying up big time provided they can get every oil company to agree and share the burden. That way they just pass on the costs to the consumer and in that way make themselves even richer. At the same time they use this to polish their image.

    Of course if they were honest they would fight the case and that would be the best outcome for the people. But I don’t think either politicians or the oil companies are interested in what is good for us.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 22, 2017 1:04 pm

      I agree with your fear that the oil companies may not kick the hell out the plaintiffs to stay in with government to keep the cash rolling in for renewable crap.

  6. Alaskan Sea permalink
    September 22, 2017 11:31 am

    Whatever happened to the Ball Versus Mann lawsuit?

    • HotScot permalink
      September 22, 2017 12:40 pm

      Mann is apparently in contempt of court for refusing to provide his research data. It seems Ball has won this round.

      • September 22, 2017 12:59 pm

        I just read an article by some nut case claiming that sea levels had risen in New York by eighteen inches in the last few years.. WhenI looked to see who was writing such nonsense, it turned out to be Mann. I am amazed to see this guy still getting press in the mainstream media.

      • Old Englander permalink
        September 23, 2017 10:10 am

        Looked for confirmation of this report when the story broke, but didn’t find it. Seemed to me that the originator was credulous and hasty. The thing about Court judgments (at least in free societies) is that they are public domain.
        Links to actual Court papers are what one needs. They will be perused with interest.

    • RAH permalink
      September 22, 2017 1:39 pm

      Alaskan Sea permalink
      September 22, 2017 11:31 am
      Whatever happened to the Ball Versus Mann lawsuit?
      Moving as the usual pace in the court systems which is the about the same speed at which of frozen molasses progresses over sand paper.

      • Athelstan permalink
        September 22, 2017 4:09 pm

        that quick – huh?

  7. Dung permalink
    September 22, 2017 11:39 am

    Logically this trial could last for centuries and be a huge money spinner, I think it will indeed be centuries before man can say he fully understands all the factors which affect our climate.

  8. September 22, 2017 1:02 pm

    They will have to present evidence in court that fossil fuel emissions cause sea level rise

    • September 22, 2017 3:58 pm

      They could ask if the absence of fossil fuel emissions caused the Little Ice Age 😉

  9. RAH permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:07 pm

    It won’t happen but a guy can dream. Would it not be just juicy if all the companies proclaimed to be a “public nuisance” announced that they would stop all operations and shipments to the cities that filed suit and followed through? Yes, the innocent would suffer. But I suspect it would only be for a short while. When the pumps dry up and the shelves get empty people tend to get pretty ticked off at the politicians.

  10. Tom O permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:18 pm

    Well let’s see, a law suit costs money, thus the oil companies will use this as an excuse for raising prices. As the saying goes, never let a crisis stop you from gouging – well, maybe it really doesn’t go that way, just seems to. Ultimately, I believe the “intent” of the law suit is to force the cost of car user-ship up to the point where it isn’t economical for the working poor, thus driving them to public transportation and giving up mobility. I see a good part of the attack on petroleum using vehicles to be to reduce mobility and confine us to city life, where we still will be able to move a bit with poor public transportation.

    Another “benefit” of locking down the population and taking the mobility away, is that we can then be compartmentalized and have the MSM as our only window into what actually is going on, even in our own country. If you can’t go and observe for yourself because you have lost your capacity for mobility, you have no real choice but to accept what you are being told – another reason why you will see more and more censorship on the internet. You will just “live your life” like a good little cog in the machine and have no awareness of what the machine does.

  11. Coeur de Lion permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:29 pm

    Bring it on!

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:36 pm

    Why does the Left hate the poor of the world so much?

    • dave permalink
      September 22, 2017 8:32 pm

      “Why does the Left hate the poor of the world so much?”

      It is because Marxism was always about increasing the power of a mere part of the lower class – namely a supposed “working-class natural aristocracy.” The simply poor, the slow-witted, the “lumpen proletariat,” the benighted peasants – these are all condemned to hell in the Marxist wet dream.

      Further, any one is who stubborn enough NOT to accept having their “consciousness raised” is doubly damned. If you think about it, you may come to a view, that the spleen and bile of warmists is especially reserved for intelligent non-believers, precisely because the warmists are typical Marxists (even if their teachers were cunning enough never to call their class “Marxism 101”).

      • September 23, 2017 4:43 am

        Think Khmer Rouge reeducation farms. They are still digging up bodies.

  13. keith permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:55 pm

    I said this on another blog. I don’t know why the oil companies don’t completely withdraw the sale of all their products in California. Then let’s see how the state gets on with no petro chemical products.

    • September 23, 2017 4:49 am

      Why stop at oil companies? The coal-fired power stations should stop supplying energy to these cities. Then they can rely on just the bird-chopping windmills.

  14. Bitter&twisted permalink
    September 22, 2017 3:19 pm

    Pass the popcorn- this case could be very interesting!

  15. daveR permalink
    September 22, 2017 10:39 pm

    Slightly O/T, but a recent 2017 Scottish Natural Heritage (entire budget met by Scottish Government in exchange for ‘advice’) report states –

    ‘For the mapping purposes of this study the 1 in 1yr and 1 in 200yr water levels for 2080 are
    selected, as the SLR estimated to occur over the next 30-40 years is lower than 0.25m before rising more rapidly towards 2080. Under this scenario, by 2080, SLR is estimated to be 0.47m in the Firth of Clyde (base year 2008).’

    … or about 6-8mm/yr SLR from current to 2050 then accelerating to a near doubled rate towards 2080, or five to eight times current exhibited Scottish wide rates.

    • dave permalink
      September 23, 2017 12:54 pm

      The fixed and non-negotiable convention in science is that when you give a number without a caveat you are claiming accuracy to the LAST DIGIT of that number. These people, by writing “estimated to be 0.47m”, are claiming that their forecasts for a time sixty-three years in the future are accurate to plus or minus one two-hundreth of a meter. Of course, they do not really understand what they are claiming – because they are just rubbish as scientists.

  16. Broadlands permalink
    September 23, 2017 12:45 pm

    Both attorneys should be required to explain to the judge what can effectively and practically be done about the future, how long it will take and how much it will cost. Capture and store technology? Many hundreds of years and trillions of currencies.

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