Heartland Institute Experts Cheer Dismissal of ‘Climate Shakedown Lawsuit’ in San Francisco

On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup threw out a lawsuit brought by the California cities of San Francisco and Oakland attempting to hold five of the world’s largest oil companies financially liable for rising sea levels and other aspects of future global warming. The cities sued BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, and Royal Dutch Shell in September for “billions in expenditures to abate the global warming nuisance.”

Heartland Institute policy advisors joined an amici curiae brief in the case in response to Alsup’s call for a “climate tutorial” in March and recently submitted a Heartland Policy Brief titled “The Social Benefits of Fossil Fuels” in response to Alsup’s statement in court that “we need to weigh in the large benefits that have flowed from the use of fossil fuels.”

The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] or by phone at 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“Judge Alsup did the right thing by tossing out this climate shakedown lawsuit, a surprising result considering the venue – a city filled with powerful people deluded into thinking humans are causing a climate crisis. It was particularly satisfying to read the judge’s ruling that ‘the scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking.’ It is not often that the eco-Left gets such a public spanking and that common sense prevails in today’s federal courts.

“As Judge Alsup noted in his decision, the benefits of fossil fuels far outweigh the costs put forth by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. This should put an end to other ridiculous and wasteful lawsuits, which essentially stand against modernity.”

Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

 “As expected, Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit filed by cities in California alleging that oil companies should be held liable for flooding and other imagined damages caused by ‘global warming.’ It was the right decision, and we hope taxpayers in other cities and states around the country will take note and punish lawmakers who are behind similar frivolous lawsuits.

“Along with reaching the right decision on the basis that difficult trade-offs concerning national energy and environmental policies are best left to elected officials, Judge Alsup showed an admirable interest in the science of climate change and the benefits as well as the costs of using fossil fuels. The Heartland Institute came forward with scholarly research on both matters.

“From his decision, it appears Judge Alsup learned a little about climate science, but not enough. He seems to think the causes and consequences of climate change are known with certainty, that ‘the dangers … are very real,’ while the best available science says they clearly are not. On the benefits of fossil fuels, he appears now to be better informed, writing in his decision ‘our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted.’ On that key point, we should all agree.

“Judge Alsup’s decision is one more sign, among many, that the global warming hysteria is coming to an end. Its advocates are shouting louder, making more outrageous claims than ever before, and even resorting to threats and violence, but that is the nature of a dying movement. It’s time to move on to other issues, time to end the war on fossil fuels.”

Joseph Bast
Director and Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The dismissal of the ‘global warming’ lawsuit by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco was a huge victory for reason and common sense, increasingly all too rare these days. Judge Alsup’s reasoning was based on narrower grounds of law, not the science, which definitively shows there is no-significant threat posed by catastrophic, human-caused global warming. That is clear to anyone paying attention to all sides of the robust science debate going on today.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

 “Judge Alsup’s decision was the right one. These climate lawsuits are brought by cities with dirty hands – if you think humans are causing climate change, since their police, fire, emergency, and sanitation vehicles all burn fossil fuels. In addition, it attempts to dictate interstate commerce – forcing the nation as a whole to follow California’s energy path – a power delegated specifically to the U.S. Congress in the Constitution. Alsup saw through the cities’ climate fiction.

“Oakland and San Francisco were wrong on the science and on the policy. One can only hope the judges in lawsuits against the industry by other cities, states, and interest groups follow Alsup’s lead.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 34-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.