Climate science on trial

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.

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19 Responses to Climate science on trial

  1. stackja

    San Francisco and neighbouring Oakland using taxpayers’ money for this, instead of what? San Francisco and neighbouring Oakland don’t have any other priorities?

  2. RobK

    It seems, for a few decades now at least, big oil is happy to more or less go along with whatever politics is going. They appear to be taking the least troublesome path. Im guessing they can afford to because they are confident their products will be in demand irrespective of which way the political wind blows. This trial, whilst important, is not AGW on trial it is big oil on pre-trial. It might temper the AGW onslaught a little but wont bring it down. Maurice Strong was an oil man. Coal is doomed apparently and can seed the restructure of how we do things.

  3. Rafe Champion

    It is going to reveal in public that AGW is a complete crock when it has to stand up and make its case against people who have done their homework.
    This is a rare event. Of course it might make no difference but it is very different from the one-sided presentations on the ABC and other MSM vehicles.

    Put side by side, the pro and anti IPCC cases create a high-level “climate debate” which warmists have long fought to prevent. “Do not debate!” has been warmist policy ever since their talent was trounced by the sceptic team in a two-hour New York public debate at Radio City Hall in 2007.[7] The audience initially polled 57.3% to 29.9% for a “Global Warming Crisis”, but after the debate that flipped 46.2% to 42.2% in favour of the sceptics.

  4. mh

    As an engineer, the judge will know that ‘theory’ needs to be tested vigorously. Otherwise that bridge is going to collapse. Climate change theorists on the government teat have no such qualms.

  5. Nerblnob

    They will do what all vexatious green litigants do eventually.

    Target smaller companies and individuals who have neither the time nor cash to fight endless legal harassment. Using OPM of course. While still boasting about how they are bravely taking on “Big Oil.”

  6. Wal of Ipswich

    How can you have a local sea level rise? If it has risen in San Francisco then it has also risen elsewhere.

  7. Rafe Champion

    I don’t know about San Fran but there are parts of cities built on reclaimed land which subside slowly as they are built on. There are also parts of the world where there are local falls and rises due to the slow movement of tectonic plates which can take centuries to adjust between ice ages.
    As a matter of fact, or at least detailed study by people who are not alarmists, it seems that the rate of sea level rising has been slowing down for some time, not that it was ever anything to worry about.

  8. Egor

    You silly boys.
    They’ll lose and appeal.
    9th Circuit or equivalent is perfect.

  9. egg_

    As an engineer, the judge will know that ‘theory’ needs to be tested vigorously. Otherwise that bridge is going to collapse. Climate change theorists on the government teat have no such qualms.

    Engineers can be sued/gaoled – not so Science grifters.

  10. Of particular note is that Judge Alsup accepted an amicus brief from a bevy or learned minds led by Lord Monckton. Essentially this brief points out the fundamental error at the root of all of the fictitious “models” and their ever increasing failure.

  11. Robber Baron

    The settled science mantra discourages an examination of the facts. I doubt anything will stop the scam.

  12. Dr Faustus

    It is going to reveal in public that AGW is a complete crock when it has to stand up and make its case against people who have done their homework.

    Popcorn time, actually.

    The majors have played nicely with Climate Science for the past 20 years. However, any legal finding that oil activity = climate change = damages – particularly in a rule of law country like the US – would threaten to bring production of petroleum and petroleum products to a brisk standstill. The immense negligence claims that would certainly arise would prevent any other course of action.

    At that point governments would have to hurriedly reassess their devotion to postnormal science to see if there might possibly be a way to avoid the destruction of the global economy.

  13. egg_

    The settled science mantra discourages an examination of the facts. I doubt anything will stop the scam.

    Gore’s (film’s) UK court case (loss) was likely a precedent – by a truck driver, no less.

  14. Jannie

    Great article, especially this quote:

    Judge Alsup will throw out the San Francisco City’s lawsuit, for sure. But, meanwhile, the case is shedding delightful light on the wobbly warmist case, and putting sceptic science on to the world stage.

    Its good to hear, but its almost too good to be true. The Warmists have never used evidence or reason to advance their case, they have the money and the establishment and the law on side.

    If they fail at this juncture they will surely proceed with their objective of outlawing skeptics and criminalising debate. They can always find another judge, and if that fails they will change the law.

    Its a long march, and they have plenty of time and money. I don’t mean to be defeatist and will continue to support the voice of reason. Just remember they will immediately regroup and attack in other ways. Judge Alsup himself is likely to be a target soon.

  15. mem

    CLIMATE CHANGE GLOSSARY

    PEER REVIEW: The act of banding together a group of like-minded
    academics with a funding conflict of interest, for the purpose of squeezing out
    any research voices that threaten the multi-million dollar government grant
    gravy train.

    SETTLED SCIENCE: Betrayal of the scientific method for politics or money or both.

    DENIER: Anyone who suspects the truth.

    CLIMATE CHANGE: What has been happening for billions of years, but should now be flogged to produce ‘panic for profit.’

    NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Leftist Nutcase Prize, unrelated to “Peace” in any meaningful way.

    DATA, EVIDENCE: Unnecessary details. If anyone asks for this, see “DENIER,” above.

    CLIMATE SCIENTIST: A person skilled in spouting obscure, scientific-sounding
    jargon that has the effect of deflecting requests for “DATA” by “DENIERS.” Also
    skilled at affecting an aura of “Smartest Person in the Room” to buffalo
    gullible legislators and journalists.

    JUNK SCIENCE: The use of invalid scientific evidence resulting in findings of causation which simply cannot be justified or understood from the standpoint of the current state of credible scientific knowledge.
    from comments section http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/29/delingpole-winning-scott-pruitt-bans-junk-science-from-environmental-protection-agency/

  16. egg_

    CLIMATE CHANGE GLOSSARY

    DENIER:

    The very term is proof that it’s a faith based system.
    Hence, sacrifice of something – ‘carbon (sin) taxes’ is a part of the movement/sect.
    Al Gore’s evangelical style notwithstanding.

  17. Mother Lode

    I hope the whole case goes tits up for Oakland and San Francisco – they may well be in it hoping to have the oil companies throw some money at them to stop light shining on other secrets they would prefer did not come out as collateral matters.

    But I can’t entirely sympathise with them because they have been complicit in keeping this stupid scam going for so long – which has cost not only themselves but everyone else.

    Where on earth did they get the stupid idea that going along with the AGW scam meant they would be rendered untouchable? Why didn’t they take AGW on as a myth that was damaging the sales and reputations?

    It is like the retarded Australian banks falling over themselves for SSM – ANZ even had a special rainbow logo. Having secured that victory, knocking one more brick out of the structure that supports society, these same activists agitated for a Royal Commission into banks.

    Listen corporations – these people don’t like you. You can lie on the floor and beg for belly-rubs all you want. You can leap about their feet wagging your tail hoping they will play with you all day.

    They. Want. You. Gone.

    They don’t understand what the results will be once you are gone. They believe it will be a utopia. And they want you dead.

  18. egg_

    Where on earth did they get the stupid idea that going along with the AGW scam meant they would be rendered untouchable? Why didn’t they take AGW on as a myth that was damaging the sales and reputations?

    Using meeja publicists, but only staving off the inevitable confrontation now taking place?
    Looks like they’re doing well in the legal battle.

  19. Empire

    The case will never succeed.

    The oil companies have already made the point that they only produce the fuels. Those responsible for combusting the fuel (releasing CO2) are the plaintiffs and their useful celebrity idiots.

    Thermogeddonism will be totally discredited and burried by the time 45 starts his second term.

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