CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER
Sues Major Auto Makers Claiming Global Warming Melted California’s Snow
20 Corporate Crime Reporter 37(1), September 20, 2006
California Attorney General Locker says that California’s snow pack is melting.
And today he filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco alleging that the auto companies should pay damages as a result.
Lockyer is suing General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
The lawsuit alleges that the auto companies created a “public nuisance” by polluting the air with carbon dioxide, causing global warming – thus melting the snow pack, raising the sea level on the coast of California, increasing ozone pollution in urban areas, and increasing the threat of wildfires.
Automobiles emit massive amount of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and “thus cause global warming,” the lawsuit alleges.
Lockyer is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
The lawsuit is the first to seek monetary damages for global warming.
An earlier lawsuit, filed by Boston attorney Matt Pawa, on behalf of California and seven other states, New York City, and some non-profit land trusts, seeks an injunction against a number of power companies – but no monetary damages.
“It was inevitable that at some point, as injuries from global warming mount, that some injured party would seek compensation,” Pawa told Corporate Crime Reporter. “That is what is happening now. It is clear that injured parties aren’t going to stand idly by while they suffer global warming injuries.”
The global warming litigation will be “bigger than the tobacco litigation,” Pawa predicted.
“You are not just injuring people who voluntary chose to smoke and became addicted,” he said. “You are injuring the majority of places on the planet. As time goes on, the injured parties will grow and the lawsuits will multiply.”
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