In using a state’s executive branch to sue six automotive companies for causing global warming, former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the current AG, Jerry Brown, sought to use public nuisance laws against companies, for which — even if anthropogenic global warming is occurring — it is impossible to assess the amount of responsiblity. From U.S. District Court Judge Martin Jenkins’ ruling:
[The] cases cited by Plaintiff do not provide the Court with legal framework or applicable standards upon which to allocate fault or damages, if any, in this case. The Court is left without guidance in determining what is an unreasonable contribution to the sum of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, or in determining who should bear the costs associated with the global climate change that admittedly result from multiple sources around the globe. Plaintiff has failed to provide convincing legal authority to support its proposition that the legal framework for assessing global warming nuisance damages is well-established.
In this case, Plaintiff’s global warning nuisance tort claim seeks to impose damages on a much larger and unprecedented scale by grounding the claim in pollution originating both within, and well beyond, the borders of the State of California. Unlike the equitable standards available in plaintiff’s cited cases, here the Court is left without a manageable method of discerning the entities that are creating and contributing to the alleged nuisance. In this case, there are multiple worldwide sources of atmospheric warming across myriad industries and multiple countries.
Lockyer and Brown are not stupid men. They understand these clear matters of cause and effect. They simply believe the law can be expanded almost infinitely for public policy purposes if the cause is just, and they, as men, are the arbiters of that justness. Truly it displays an arrogance, one that, unfortunately, is often rewarded by the courts.
P.S. Lots of good background links at The Jurist.
Latest posts by NAM (see all)
- Manufacturers Win Several Website Design Awards - June 15, 2011
- China Makes Commitments on Trade, Intellectual Property - December 16, 2010
- ITC Details Widespread Theft of Intellectual Property in China - December 14, 2010