Big Oil Won’t Be Responsible for Global Warming
SAN-FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – June 28, 2018
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against five oil companies filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland that alleged that the oil companies were responsible for global warming and should be forced to pay billions to mitigate the effects of climate change, Reuters reports.
The cities and municipalities that are attempting to argue that oil and gas companies created a public nuisance by producing fossil fuels they knew would result in harmful emissions. Companies were required to create a compensation Fund from which they could pay the damage caused by floods and other natural disasters triggered by global warming.
New York City and several other local governments in California, Washington and Colorado have also sued on similar grounds.
U.S. district judge William Alsup, a Clinton appointee, dismissed the suit largely on jurisdictional grounds, agreeing that global warming is a problem but that the courts are not the place to address it.
It’s look like this decision is in the overall trend of the Trump administration's policy on the climate change issue. Climate and conservation efforts were core priorities for the Obama administration, but things seem to have changed. The Climate change agenda is now, itself, on fire. Some conservative lawmakers like Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) have criticized the Obama administration’s global warming policy in the past. Under the Trump administration, such attacks have been mounted, with encouragement from the president and key cabinet members. Last week, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced the end of three committees: the Ecological Processes and Effects Committee, the Environmental Engineering Committee, and the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee.
In an email sent Thursday, SAB acting director Tom Brennan told researchers that the three EPA committees would be retired, leaving only four in existence. The committees slated for shuttering traditionally house experts, including academics, who provide advice and input on policy decisions.
A recent presentation by the acting head of the United States’ top weather and oceans agency suggested removing the study of “climate” from its official mission statement, focusing the agency’s work instead on economic goals and “homeland and national security.”
Critics say this would upend the mission of the $5.9 billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But the administration disputes that interpretation, saying the presentation did not intend to create a change of direction at a vast agency that tracks hurricanes and atmospheric carbon dioxide, operates weather satellites, manages marine reserves and protects endangered ocean species, among other functions.
Nevertheless it looks like climate change issues have been moved into the background of the Trump administration’s agenda. It’s bad news for the scientists and experts who will now be replaced with industry insiders.