Various municipalities in California are suing oil companies under common law public nuisance claims for damages they say occur from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The case has gone to the US District Court for the Northern District of California. (In the US Federal Court system, a District Court is below the Court of Appeals and it is where most cases start if they are on the federal level.) The presiding judge, William Alsup, made an unusual and unexpected demand. He ruled that both sides prepare a tutorial for him:
“The Court invites counsel to conduct a two-part tutorial on the subject of global warming and climate change:
“(1) The first part will trace the history of scientific study of climate change, beginning with scientific inquiry into the formation and melting of the ice ages, periods of historical cooling and warming, smog, ozone, nuclear winter, volcanoes, and global warming. Each side will have sixty minutes. A horizontal timeline of major advances (and setbacks) would be welcomed.
“(2) The second part will set forth the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise, and coastal flooding. Each side will again have another sixty minutes.”
Specifically, the court ruled:
“For the tutorial on MARCH 21, please include the following subjects:
“1. What caused the various ice ages (including the “little ice age” and prolonged cool periods) and what caused the ice to melt? When they melted, by how much did sea level rise?
“2. What is the molecular difference by which CO2 absorbs infrared radiation but oxygen and nitrogen do not?
“3. What is the mechanism by which infrared radiation trapped by CO2 in the atmosphere is turned into heat and finds its way back to sea level?
“4. Does CO2 in the atmosphere reflect any sunlight back into space such that the reflected sunlight never penetrates the atmosphere in the first place?
“5. Apart from CO2, what happens to the collective heat from tail pipe exhausts, engine radiators, and all other heat from combustion of fossil fuels? How, if at all, does this collective heat contribute to warming of the atmosphere?
“6. In grade school, many of us were taught that humans exhale CO2 but plants absorb CO2 and return oxygen to the air (keeping the carbon for fiber). Is this still valid? If so, why hasn’t plant life turned the higher levels of CO2 back into oxygen? Given the increase in human population on Earth (four billion), is human respiration a contributing factor to the buildup of CO2?
“7. What are the main sources of CO2 that account for the incremental buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?
“8. What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on Earth?”
“9. Please bring to the tutorial a copy of the full GCC presentation referred to in Paragraph 67 of the Oakland complaint as well as the full GCSCT memo referred to in Paragraph 68.”
Paragraph 67 & 68 of the Oakland complaint refer to internal Global Climate Science Communications including Exxon, Chevron and the American Petroleum Institute.:
Paragraphs 69 and 70 of the Oakland complaint state:
69. Over at least the last nineteen years, Exxon in particular has paid researchers and front groups to create uncertainties about basic climate change science and used denialist groups to attack well-respected scientists. These were calculated business decisions by Exxon to undermine climate change science and bolster production of fossil fuels.
70. Between 1998 and 2014, Exxon paid millions of dollars to organizations to promote disinformation on global warming. During the early- to mid-1990s, Exxon directed some of this funding to Dr. Fred Seitz, Dr. Fred Singer, and/or Seitz and Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project ("SEPP") in order to launch repeated attacks on mainstream climate science and IPCC conclusions, even as Exxon scientists participated in the IPCC. Seitz, Singer and SEPP had previously been paid by the tobacco industry to create doubt in the public mind about the hazards of smoking. Seitz and Singer were not climate scientists. [Boldface added.]
Unfortunately, the late Roger Cohen, who studied the issue for Exxon and was skeptical as the harmful influence of CO2, can no longer help Exxon counter the expected barrage of bureaucratic science similar to what accompanied the EPA’s Endangerment Finding.
SEPP is exploring if, as a party possibly slandered in the City of Oakland complaint, can it file an amicus (friend in court) brief in the case. If so, such a brief would probably focus on the standards of evidence: Direct or Indirect; Physical or Bureaucratic.
The greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere and based on comprehensive atmospheric data, the atmosphere is warming very modestly. Once natural influences such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation and volcanoes are removed, any warming trend in the entire atmospheric record is extremely modest, if existing at all. This is direct evidence. The IPCC and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) use surface temperatures which are incomplete and include many other human and natural influences. They use indirect evidence –is the admittedly flawed surface temperature record "hearsay"?
Physical evidence is hard data showing CO2 is the primary cause of global warming. Increasing emissions, changing climate, etc. are not physical evidence of cause. Bureaucratic evidence includes global climate models that fail basic testing, and group think such as organizations that fail to address the key issue in their reports, etc. The key issue is: do carbon dioxide emissions cause dire warming of the atmosphere? SEPP’s answer is no, and CO2 emissions are beneficial to humanity and the environment.
via climate science
March 13, 2018 at 02:31AM