De alom tegenwoordige ‘hockeystick’ Michael Mann.

Reeds een aantal malen eerder schonk ik aandacht aan de vele rechtszaken op het gebied van klimaat en klimaatbeleid. (Zie bijvoorbeeld hier, hier, hier en hier.)

Onlangs zijn de Amerikaanse steden San Francisco en Oakland een rechtszaak begonnen tegen de olieindustrie, waaronder Exxon, BP en Chevron. Zij werden ervan beschuldigd hun rol in de opwarming van de aarde bewust te hebben willen verbergen.

Onder de titel, ‘Federal court will hold first-ever hearing on climate change science’, schreef Stuart Leavenworth onlangs voor ‘McClatchy’:

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered parties in a landmark global warming lawsuit to hold what could be the first-ever U.S. court hearing on the science of climate change.

The proceeding, scheduled for March 21 by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, will feature lawyers for Exxon, BP, Chevron and other oil companies pitted against those for San Francisco and Oakland — California cities that have accused fossil fuel interests of covering up their role in contributing to global warming.

“This will be the closest that we have seen to a trial on climate science in the United States, to date,” said Michael Burger, a lawyer who heads the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

Experts on both sides say Alsup’s call for a climate change “tutorial” is unlike anything they’ve heard of before.

Steven Koonin.

“I don’t know of any judge who has asked for a tutorial like this,” said Steven E. Koonin, a physicist and former Energy Department undersecretary known for his contrarian views on global warming research. “I think it is a great idea. Anybody having to make a decision about climate science needs to understand the full spectrum of what we know and what we don’t know.”

(Voor meer over Steven Koonin, zie hier en hier.)

Alsup ordered the tutorial as part of his ruling last week that the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit would be heard in federal court, as opposed to California state court. The cities had hoped their lawsuit would be heard in state court, since California has an established “public nuisance” law that hasn’t been developed in the federal court system.

Supporters of the oil industry seized on Alsup’s ruling as a victory against what they call “sham lawsuits.” But the judge didn’t completely rule in the industry’s favor. His ruling created the possibility that oil companies could be liable under federal common law for causing a “nuisance.” Environmentalists applauded that part of his ruling, as well as his decision to hold the March 21 tutorial. …

In the upcoming climate change tutorial, Alsup told lawyers he wants a two-part presentation from both sides over roughly five hours.

“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,” the judge wrote in his order.

“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,” he added. …

“At the core of the plaintiff’s lawsuit is the idea that these companies have long known about risks of their products … yet they took a course of action that resisted regulation and sought to keep them on the market as long as possible,” said Burger, the Columbia climate law expert.

By contrast, the fossil fuels companies will likely emphasize the uncertainty that existed as climate science evolved, and how they needed “to act in the best interests of their shareholders,” given the uncertainty, he added.

Koonin, who worked for two years in the Obama administration and now teaches at New York University, has long called for a public debate on climate change science. While he agrees that human-caused carbon dioxide has warmed the atmosphere, he takes issue with some computer models about future impacts, and disagrees with calls for drastic changes in energy use. (Meer over Koonin zie hier en hier)

Writing in the Wall Street Journal last year, Koonin called for a “Red Team/Blue Team” process to debate and test assumptions and conclusions about climate change. That idea was picked up by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, who proposed the same thing for his agency, an idea he has apparently put on hold.

Lees verder hier.

Marjan Minnesma.

In de Urgenda-zaak bleef een ‘spoedcursus klimaat’ achterwege en heeft de rechter zijn inzichten eenzijdig ontleend aan pro–AGW–opvattingen. Dat is geen waarheidsvinding. Het is verleidelijk te speculeren hoe het oordeel in deze zaak zou zijn uitgevallen als men wèl plaats had ingeruimd voor een representatieve voorstelling van de stand van de wetenschap, waarbij ook de klimaatsceptische visie zou zijn betrokken.

Maar goed, deze zaak is nog in behandeling in hoger beroep. Het zou mij verbazen als de uitspraak daar stand houdt. Maar wat de uitkomst ook zal zijn, dat zou dan mosterd na de maaltijd zijn. De politiek heeft in de regeringsverklaring inmiddels reeds verdergaande stappen gezet. Getuigenispolitiek in optima forma! Want: ‘All pain and no gain.’