Claiming that laying blame for so-called climate change is a political issue and not a legal one, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a frivolous lawsuit brought forth by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco against Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell.
While accepting the science of climate alarmists, which insists that man is responsible for global warming, Alsup believed that the scope of the case was beyond his purview.
“This order accepts the science behind global warming,” Alsup wrote in his ruling. “So do both sides. The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But these dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury.” Alsup contended that, given the global nature of so-called anthropogenic climate change, the issue was just too big for a district court to decide. The judge called the plaintiff’s theory — that the combustion of fossil fuels created a public nuisance — “breathtaking.”
“It would reach the sales of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming,” the ruling read. “While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with the knowledge of the problem would be liable.”
Both cities are looking to continue the fight against the oil companies. “We are carefully reviewing the order and considering all options, including an appeal,” said Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker. “We believe our lawsuit presents valid claims and these defendants must be held accountable for misleading the American people about the catastrophic risks to human beings and all forms of life on this planet caused by fossil-fuel driven global warming and sea-level rise.”
The suit was originally filed in state court, but was moved by the defendants into federal court. Alsup ruled that the case belonged in federal court because of the larger scope of the alleged problem. At that time, Alsup also ruled that the cities had standing to make such claims against the oil companies.
The Oakland and San Francisco lawsuit was simply the first in a long line of frivolous lawsuits brought forth against Big Oil by municipalities that claim to be injured by man-made global warming. In California, Imperial Beach, San Mateo, Marin County, Richmond, Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz County are suing more than a dozen oil companies along similar grounds. New York City; Boulder, Colorado; and two Colorado counties, San Miguel and Boulder, are also suing Big Oil companies.
While the decision is a win for the oil companies, the acceptance of the supposed science behind anthropogenic global warming by a federal district judge is irksome and possibly troublesome. Such acceptance in a court decision gives credence to the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming, which is far from proven at this point.
This was brought home in a statement by John Cote, communications director for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera: “We’re pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute. Our litigation forced a public court proceeding on climate science, and now these companies can no longer deny it is real and valid.”
And maybe that was the whole point of this frivolous suit, as well as all the others yet to come: to get judges and Big Oil companies on record admitting that the half-baked science is a fact. This could set up future suits arguing that the oil companies knew exactly what they were doing based on their acceptance of the climate alarmists’ theory.
It’s ironic that neither Oakland nor San Francisco has insisted that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) shut down any of its fossil-fuel plants that produce electrical power for the area. At this point, only about 33 percent of California’s power comes from so-called renewable sources. Perhaps, if the good people of the Bay Area stop using all of the evil fossil fuels they claim to despise, they could make a small dent in this so-called global-warming crisis.