Keep an eye on the Federal Court in San Francisco where Judge William Alsup is presiding over a confrontation between climate alarmists and Big Oil. Tony Thomas reporting on Quadrant on Line.
The big excitement last week was the so-called “Exxon knew” lawsuit brought by the cities of San Francisco and neighbouring Oakland against five oil majors. The two plaintiffs claim the oil producers conspired Big Tobacco-style to conceal the climate harm of their products. The majors are supposedly responsible for the local sea level rise and should therefore pay billions of dollars for sea walls, dykes, whatever.
This is a very interesting situation because mainstream climate scientists have avoided public debates like the plague after some bad experiences years ago. He cited instances where leading alarmists literally fled the studio when they arrived and found they would have to meet an opponent face to face.
The Oilers are playing a canny game, after all they have gone Green and it is over a decade since they put any money into the Heartland Institute or any such organization. They are not directly taking on the IPCC but they are drawing evidence from the genuine scientific reports which can be found among the little-read volumes which support the heavily massaged summary IPCC reports for the press and the politicians.
Judge Alsup sounds like the real deal despite being a Clinton appointment. He was an engineer and he has a B.SC. in mathematics. He has a history of probing complex non-legal issues, for example in Oracle v. Google, he taught himself some Java programming to follow the technical details in the case. He asked the contending parties to give him tutorials on the science of global warming and he handed down a list of nine questions.
The warmists’ top academic presenter was Oxford physicist Myles Allen…When the five-hour tutorial unfolded in court last Wednesday the Judge had done such massive homework that he could correct the experts. At one point a discomfited Myles Allen confessed, “You may know more of this history than I do.”
The judge had a good grasp of climate issues: “Nuclear would not put out any CO2, right? We might get some radiation as we drive by, but maybe, in retrospect, we should have taken a hard look at nuclear?” Alsup asked plaintiffs. “No doubt solar is good where you can use it, but do you really think it could be a substitute for supplying the amount of power America used in the last 30 years?” Alsup also created a flurry by commenting from the bench that the “conspiracy” of oil companies (to disguise the climate harm of their products) looked far-fetched: “From what I’ve seen, and feel free to send me other documentation, but all I’ve seen so far is that someone [from an oil major] went to the IPCC conference and took notes. That’s not a conspiracy.” He hasn’t dismissed the lawsuit (as often misreported) but the plaintiffs now have an uphill battle.
Reporter Phelim McAleer reports that Alsup also mocked the numerous times IPCC predictive models got the current climate trends wrong, the judge saying to Chevron’s lawyer: “So your point is that [IPCC] models overstate the problem. Instead of doom and gloom, it’s just gloom”.
Bonus. Freeman Dyson on climate change hysteria. In brief, more good than harm from extra CO2 due to global greening.
Freeman Dyson heretical thoughts on science and society.
Review of Rupert Darwall on Green Tyranny.