Judges tosses cities' suit against oil companies for 'climate change'
A federal judge on Monday threw out a closely watched lawsuit brought by two California cities against fossil fuel companies over the costs of dealing with climate change. The decision is a stinging defeat for the plaintiffs, San Francisco and Oakland, and raises warning flags for other local governments around the United States that have filed similar suits, including New York City.This is a good judgment. The cities were just trying to shake down the energy companies. If they really thought it was a nuisance they should try banning its use within their cities. They will not do that because it would mean those cities would wither and die. Their ports would be empty. The ferries that bring people to work would stop running. The people who lived there would have limited transportation options and have to rely on inefficient alternative energy.
The judge, William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco, acknowledged the science of global warming and the great risks to the planet, as did the oil and gas companies being sued. But in his ruling, Judge Alsup said the courts were not the proper place to deal with such global issues, and he rejected the legal theory put forth by the cities.
Judge Alsup said that climate change was an issue of global importance but that the companies were not solely at fault. “Our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal,” he wrote. “Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible.”
In light of that, he asked: “Would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable?”
A Chevron executive sounded a similar note in response to the decision. “Reliable, affordable energy is not a public nuisance but a public necessity,” said R. Hewitt Pate, vice president and general counsel for Chevron.