Scale of climate damages ‘could dwarf tobacco lawsuits’ 

Posted: June 22, 2016 by oldbrew in Legal

Warm weather - time for an ice cream perhaps. Or maybe a law suit? [image credit: RSPB]

Warm weather – time for an ice cream perhaps. Or maybe a law suit? [image credit: RSPB]

Take an unproven theory, pretend it’s the law, and sue any group that even appears to question it. What could possibly be wrong with that? Er…quite a lot really.
H/T Climate Home – climate change news

Governments will face rising demands for climate compensation unless they crack down on coal, oil and gas companies operating within their authority.

That was the conclusion of a report by Australia-based NGO the Climate Justice Programme on Tuesday. Victims of global warming such as citizens from small island states will increasingly look for redress in the courts, it warned. The scale of damages could dwarf previous mass actions like those against tobacco and asbestos companies.

“Although there is this group of fossil fuel corporations who have been the primary actors in climate change, governments have colluded to allow them to continue to be so embedded in the economy,” Australian lawyer and report co-author Keely Boom told Climate Home. “If governments don’t take action against fossil fuel companies it is likely they will be targeted themselves.”

It is an issue that divides top US public lawyers, who are meeting this week in Vermont. Seventeen attorneys general are investigating allegations that ExxonMobil misled the public about the dangers of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.

Thirteen of their Republican colleagues have hit back, arguing in a letter that renewable energy companies had conversely exaggerated the risks. “Using law enforcement authority to resolve a public policy debate undermines the trust invested in our offices and threatens free speech,” they wrote.

Findings against the oil major could open the door to compensation claims from across the world. Notably, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights is probing corporate polluters’ responsibility for impacts like villages flattened by intense typhoons.

The Paris climate deal recognised that some people will lose their homes or livelihoods as a result of rising sea levels, creeping desertification or extreme weather. Rich countries – responsible for the bulk of historic emissions – insisted on a disclaimer: that “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”

Yet victims of human-caused climate disruption can still sue, said Boom. “It doesn’t rule out state liability under [other] international law and it doesn’t impact on the possibility of private liability.” Litigants can highlight the gap between the Paris aspiration to limit temperature rise to 1.5C and national policies that imply higher levels of warming.

Campaigners have already scored courtroom victories in national jurisdictions. Urgenda forced the Dutch government to deepen its 2020 emissions target (subject to appeal) and a Pakistani farmer won his case for protection against the impacts of climate change.

Future cases could cross borders, becoming more complex and costly, said Boom: “Climate litigation is likely to be global, and with much bigger damages than seen with tobacco and asbestos.”

Full report: Scale of climate damages ‘could dwarf tobacco lawsuits’ | Climate Home – climate change news

  1. Timo Soren says:

    I absolutely enjoy hearing this talk because in 10 years when the CAGW scam is dead, we will raise their own voices to sue them for negligence, squandering billions in cash, billions in subsidies, ruining country sides, killing old people, killing birds, and lost time to get nuclear back up where it belongs.

    The greens have joined the CAGW crowd will regret this as we point out their collusion and complete loss of any integrity allowing us to finally marginalize most of there stupidity (not all their causes are bad) and move forward not backward.

  2. ivan says:

    Does that now mean that those of us that have been forced to pay extremely high ‘green’ taxes can take the green NGOs, pressure groups and climate scientists to court to recover all the money they have wasted in the name of CAGW? Or is it the usual one sided ‘we think we are the best and you had better agree with us or else’ green blob effort.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    We see the possibility of huge settlements / payments to NGO’s and their lawyers from governments and multinational corporations.
    Modern Robber Barons / pirates have law degrees and are planning on how to loot the world through the legal system…pg

  4. Gerry Hall says:

    Instruments like the Paris Accord already feature an intended mechanism for transfer of wealth for this exact reason don’t they? This is already functionally equivalent to ‘charging’ all consumers in those countries for their responsibility. To mount lawsuits against individual companies is a green blob stunt, but if successful all it means is that it will be transferred to consumers while the NGOs fill their bank accounts. And these same groups tend to promote themselves as all about the poor, yeah, sure..

    This trait they have of going after producers and ignoring the consumers is born out of cowardice. On one hand they trump the virtues of democracy and their ‘grass roots’ movements and on the other know that they cannot go on the same war path against consumers because they need them for their political power, and so its all just an attack on producing companies and their staff.

    Meanwhile attacks like this Exxonknew campaign seemed ultimately doomed to failure. These companies are not magical, they only had access to the same science as was available at the time. Yep, humans are contributing to global warming, but after that comes the very difficult question of what effect that will have. That depends on multiple feedbacks and sensitivities in the global climate, which are not at all simple or easy to predict. However, the catastophism of the far left green groups (who fund raise using the fear they spread) does look like an outlier. They often quote the most extreme environmental models without telling anyone that the inputs to those models are very unlikely (i.e. the 4.5 degrees, or IPCC RCP8.5, outcome they stick in headlines without telling anyone what the inputs are features a global populaton of 12 billion, a world 50% primarily powered by coal, stalled energy efficiency, and no growth in low CO 2 technology – very far from what is happening today).

    So yeah, sure. It is perfectly valid to ask whether if someone can try and sue a company for not magically knowing what we are not even 100% sure of today with modern supercomputers and climate models (that climate change is real, but that what is actually likely to happen given the different RCP models and their various inputs and adjustable sensitivity factors for the different planetary feedback systems is difficult for us to know today, never mind in the 1980’s), then really, we should all be able to sue green NGOs for doing the opposite and using fear to increase taxes and subsidies for technologies that the people involved are quite often also financially benefiting from by being involved with the companies that are doing it.

  5. Curious George says:

    I thought that only the U.S. legal system is broken. Now it looks like the malaise is spread far and wide.

    What is the difference between a federal judge and God? God knows that He is not a federal judge.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Ivan says: ‘Or is it the usual one sided ‘we think we are the best and you had better agree with us or else’ green blob effort.’

    That may depend on whether the judiciary in any given country is going to come down on the side of climate alarmism without proper assessment of the supposed evidence. Who are the true experts, if any, in climate science?

  7. hunter says:

    The biggest booty call in human history. And the victims are going to be the people left without good energy options. The parasitic greens are the ones who need suing. Actually this situation is the exact opposite of big tobacco. It is the NGO’s and climate kooks who are the parasites hurting society and the world. And using perversions of justice and the law to harm the producers. Ayn Rand was sadly right in far too many ways.

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    The end result of this conspiracy may not be what they have in mind. The facts do not back their premise. Even GOD / nature turns against them. This push to win the argument through actions of law is their last gasp effort to preserve their control of the market place cash flow. Their collusion in word and deed makes them the final target of any action to recover some of the cost, to the rest of us, of their machinations.
    It has already begun. 😉 …pg

  9. Tim Hammond says:

    The basic logic is utterly lacking.

    If this is a global problem, then we all suffer. If we all suffer, we cannot have payments from one group to another.

    You could make an argument for differential suffering, but you cannot claim that only some suffer unless you acknowledge that some are not suffering – which the Greenies have repeatedly said is not true.

  10. graphicconception says:

    I trust that any compensation will take into account any benefits of the use of CO2 that the recipient may have had.

    In other words, if the recipient makes use of air travel but they expended no CO2 to develop it I hope they will be charged for their share.

    If the claimants are using any technology that led to the emissions of CO2 during its invention, development or manufacture they should not be allowed to claim for that.

  11. dennisambler says:

    Gerry Hall says:

    “Yep, humans are contributing to global warming”

    I am not being unkind, but this is where the mistake is made. There has been no global warming due to CO2, the short term data from 1850 merely reflects the recovery from the LIA, which cycled after the MWP and before then there was cooling and before then a Roman Warm Period and a Climate Optimum, all without the benefits of fossil fuels in the volume of modern times. By accepting their paradigm we then argue about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, to quote Joe D’Aleo.

  12. People in this current angle of using US racketeering laws to prosecute ‘deniers’ are the same folks seen in prior efforts to marginalize skeptic climate scientists in the eyes of the public. A case could be made that it is that clique of enviro-activists who are doing the actual racketeering:

    “‘The Usual Suspects’ in the Persecution of Global Warming Skeptics”

  13. Gail Combs says:


    I did not save it but if IRCC Exxon told the idiots to F—- Off! and then counter sues.

    Here is one article:
    Climate Inquisition: ExxonMobil Sues Massachusetts AG for Civil Rights Violations

    This comment is of interest:

    Hilltowntrader • 7 days ago

    I was a little too close to this situation, working with two other oil clients. Its uglier then even described above.

    In November 2015, Exxon attended but did not make its annual near $1million donation to the Clinton Global Initiative Conference. Within two weeks Hillary Clinton was shopping for an enforcer; FBI and SEC turned her down flat. The New York AG signed on, after US AG Lynch suggested that firms that do not sign up for Climate Change be prosecuted under RICO laws, as cigarette manufacturers were. Other state AG followed.

    Shortly thereafter, the two firms I work with were approached by representatives of the Clintons, suggesting a donation and pointing to the Exxon situation. Seeing the writing on the wall, they made significant donations to the Clintons, and issued press releases dutifully nodding in agreement with climate change and condemning Exxon.

    This is Clinton extortion, plain and simple.