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The problem is, no matter how courts rule, it is not currently possible, politically, economically or physically, to transition away from fossil fuels. Right now, if every oil company in the world just said, okay, we won’t sell you any more oil, human civilization would collapse. If there were suddenly no more oil hundreds of millions of people would die in the next twelve months, from starvation and the inevitable wars. The huge leap forward in prosperity during the twentieth century (think how primitive life was in the United States in 1900) has been possible because of the harnessing of energy from fossil fuels.
Any movement that relies on wind turbines and solar energy to replace fossil fuels can only fail. Within ten years this will be obvious to everybody, and it is become quite obvious to the citizens of Germany right now. So suing the oil companies, who are the guarantors of continued prosperity, is immoral.
But won’t the planet become uninhabitable if we continue to burn fossil fuels? Why would anyone think such a thing? What would happen if, this year, all of a sudden, the average annual temperature in your hometown increased by two Celsius degrees? Would you even notice? And, no matter where you live in the United States, there is somewhere else with an average annual temperature that is two degrees warmer than where you live. If you live in Vermont, the average temperature in Georgia is two degrees warmer. Are the people of Georgia now living in a climatic hellscape, or cowering in fear about extreme weather? No? Then why should you be worried if the area you live in now become warmer (on average) by two degrees? It doesn’t make sense.
I wonder why the oil companies don’t turn around and point the finger back at the governments that are suing them. The oil companies are not burning fossil fuels, but customers, such as local governments are. Do local governments have fleets of gasoline burning cars? Do they purchase electricity generated by fossil fuels to heat and cool government buildings? Couldn’t the argument be made that the governments have a greater responsibility for releasing greenhouse gases by burning them, compared to the fossil fuels companies that merely sell them? And how many citizens suing their governments arrived at court in gasoline burning cars from their homes that are heated/cooled by fossil fueled electricity? Contributory negligence?
Exxon knew more than 40 years ago that their own research paralleled that of other climate scientists and that AGW is an existential threat to human life. Let that sink in for a minute. Now, how long should we delay saving this planet for our children?
MR JUSTICE BURTON
– and –
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
(now Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families)
Mr Paul Downes and Miss Emily Saunderson (instructed by Malletts) for the Claimant
Mr Martin Chamberlain (instructed by Treasury Solicitors) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 27, 28 September, 1, 2 October 2007
Juliana is more relevant. Lawyers could not raise their hands in court and deceive. A small problem for the deniers on twitter. Criminal in a courtroom.
It should give anyone with a science background pause that they take comfort in courts deciding what science is – and whether or not it is correct.
This is why I am skeptical. Despite what the left says, their are many scientist who dispute global warming. I for one would like to decide for myself if this is indeed a life threatening event or a political power grab.
The so called climate change debate is a scan to see distract from the truth that EPA regulations were put in place because of AIR QUALITY and WATER QUALITY. Pollution is poisonous to breath. EPA regulations need to stay in place until someone can disprove that pollution pollutes.
Judges are meant to decide the law, not the science: if a court of law decides the science then you are open to any manner of chicanery, authoritarianism and plain old jiggery-pokery.
Legally speaking, this is not correct, at least not in the United States.
Appellate courts, such as the US Supreme Court, are charged with deciding matters of law.
Lower courts, such as a US District Court or a state trial court, are charged with deciding matters of fact. The classic factual question that we’re all familiar with is the guilt or innocence of a defendant: Did Person A murder Person B? This is not a legal question, but a factual one.
Legal questions do arise in a trial court, but wherever possible the court must apply the precedents set by their superior courts.
In 1932 Humble Oil Co. was testing different things about the rising of temperature and what effect it would have on the earth. What they saw when they raised the temperature 1 degree Centigrade must have alarmed them because I read that they decided that they couldn’t let this be known and they decided to just lie. I wonder how many times that happens? 😉🎶