Global Warming Goes to Court

Attorneys general from multiple states have filed lawsuits against energy companies in an effort to force them to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions immediately, stating that global warming has become an immediate threat to the environment, lives and economies of various states - - - the story is here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5474504/
 
We have to start somewhere, and since this country uses over 20% of the world's energy, and generates more electricity by coal than any other country in the world, it is time to make our industry as efficient as possible.

The current Administration has been working to destroy 40+ years of gains in environmental improvements in air and water quality.

I am not a person that subscribes to the "Humans are the cause of all global warming and we are headed for total disaster", since the world is a big place and there are lots of things that can be involved, but it is embarrasing to see our goverment's "this is the proper science because we say it is" approach. I hope this lawsuit forces the hands of a few people and agencies.
 
I dunno. I hope this doesn't get me back on the RNC's mailing list, but IMO dumb, laughable lawsuits like this one give environmentalism a bad name and make it more difficult to focus attention to practical change.

A much more practical approach is to tax GG emissions and limit the degree utilities are allowed to pass the tax through to energy consumers. But that approach would pass legal muster and would work. Thus it would be politically suicidal for the politicians involved.
 
Such approaches have been suggested, attempted, and blocked by the power companies and their pet congress critters and then the retro policies of the current administration.

Sometimes a court is the only method to bring about a resolution - and as big as these companies are, they have a hard time outspending the agencies and states they face, when the states already have the lawyers on payroll. How do you think Big Tobacco was finally forced to face its facts.
 
It seems the only thing this lawsuit is good for is to bring the topic back into the general public's eyes. Where does it say that the companies had to abide by any regulations that were presented to them that the states are suing them for? As long as the companies are following federal regulations, there's not much the states can do unless they pass regulations of their own and THEN sue the companies if they do not comply. In all seriousness, I'm not even sure this kind of publicity is wanted for the cause. The suit just looks silly.

CO2 emissions have been thought to be a ause of global warming for some time now, and there have been guidelines that have been agreed to in the world's view. If something is surely to be done about these companies it has to be done through the legislative system and that may mean some representatives will have to "OH NO" make a stand on an issue. I am all for trying to preserve the planet as much as that is feasible, but I am not about to dive off into the rainforests and live completely off the land.

In short, the group mentioned that is suing the companies should spend more of their effort on legislation than cheap tricks at publicity.
 
I think that this is a very smart move. The key term in a case like this is precedence. If you can get a federal judge to agree with the argument, and it holds up in Supreme Court, the justices have set a precedence that lower courts have to uphold. So, you can start small and force five companies to reduce emissions, and if the lawsuit succeeds, there is a precedence to use in future cases against other companies. So, basically, what I think this does is cracks open the "can of worms" so to speak of responisibility, proving that industry is responsible to a point for global warming.

I would like to see this succeed but the little part of my brain says "wait, these companies have billions of dollars and there are a lot of corrupt judges". I think that will win out.
 
CO2 emissions have been thought to be a ause of global warming for some time now, and there have been guidelines that have been agreed to in the world's view.

Are you reffering to the Kyoto protocol, which the U.S. (ok, GW) decided was too costly to the industry to abide by? Here is a biased but informative read:

http://www.vexen.co.uk/USA/pollution.html

I'm all for some kind of action against the power industry - you know this type of initiative isn't going to come from Washington under the current administration.

Glen
 
I'm just sick to death of all the politics being played with serious environmental issues. The lawsuit may have moral merit, but it's legally ridiculous. If there're specific measures available to limit GG emissions then legislate them in the public interest. The politicians won't do that because that would require real commitments to energy conservation, public sacrifice, and large cost pass-throughs to consumers.

BTW I think it's far more likely that bringing the issue to the USSC this way would result in limiting the states' regulatory powers rather than the other way around.
 
Many of these types of suits are actually politically-motivated - veiled to appear in the public interest. It is difficult for a lay person like me to judge whether or not it may or may not ultimately work for the good of the environment, particularly without hearing all the facts. It's true that similar policies put in place in the 70s have pretty much done their job when it comes to air pollution ... Los Angeles, formally the world's smog pit - has some pretty dang good air quality these days. Who knows if it would work the same with global warming.

Iowa joined the action because they state that crop damage as a result of the effects that stem from global warming has already reached epic proportion and the state is now losing billions in agricultural revenue as a result. Large energy producers may or may not be a place to start - but ultimately the entire system has fallen into a state of disfunction. There are contributing elements at nearly every level of society, no doubt.

One other argument against the suit is that the courts are being forced into an arena typically handled by other arms of government. Judges may not go for the idea that they are being relied on so heavily to dictate public policy normally put into place by executive and administrative branches of government ... normally a policy like this will come from an environmental agency - but the argument is that the president has rendered such agencies incapable of taking action. Hence the politics of it all rears its ugly head.
 
Mike, I think the example of the NAQS and how that has played out in reducing CO and HC pollution is a good example why the lawsuit route isn't the way to go. In fact almost all of the pollution reduction had nothing whatever to do with lawsuits by the Center for Law in the Public Interest, "enforcement" of AQ conformity requirements developed by AQ districts, etc. It came from technology and fleet-efficiency requirements mandated by Congress. All the other stuff -- carpool lanes, public transit, oxygenated fuels -- followed along as window dressing to make people feel good, promote various special interests, and promote a political environment that gave Federal government enough cover to maintain pressure on the industry.

FWIW, I'm writing this as a transportation planner/modeler who has been involved in various phases of air quality conformity analysis, and transportation planning and modeling for many years.
 
We're all posting these calls for legislation against the power companies on solar-powered computers made out of hemp...right?
 
LOL, David. Acutually it's on a utility-powered computer made out of various chemicals, mostly petro, expecting the lights to dim at any moment when the voluntary power-cutbacks start for the afternoon. The electric utilities are strained to capacity threatening rolling blackouts in the Phoenix area. Since we're also the home of the biggest-baddest nuclear plant in the country, Palo Verde, we're doing our part to reduce catastrophic environmental pollution (at least the last time I looked out toward where the nuke plant is!) :angel12:
 
I may be in the minority but I dont buy the global warming theory as a man-made disaster. the planet has been warming continally since the end of the ice age. Ofcourse the climate is changing. It always has. That is why we had an ice-age. We haven't been measuring the planet long enough to know if this is normal or not. We only have about 100 years of climate data which is not even a speck of the age of the earth which is millions of years old.

I have a feeling we make our impact seem more substancial than it actually is and no environmentalists screaming about how bad we all are will help sway me.
 
Heed this warning.. These environmental changes are designed specifically to tax the piss out of you..

They will put into place unrealistic expectations. ie. Scale back energy usage to that of levels of 1992.. Of course we will not be able to comply so the next thing to do is to assess penalty taxes..

Example.. City of Philadelphia.. sets new standards of vehicle emissions.. so we need to get cars registered and tested.. 100$ to test vehicle.. everyone must comply.. If vehicle doesnt pass inspection .. Tax payer must pay 4 or 500$ to have their car fixed.. In other words must pay 4 or 500$.. True story.. Same deal here. and thats why Bush wont sign on to Kyoto etc..
 
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