Suing into Submission

Published April 11, 2016

According to Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Now six state attorney generals (AG) have banded together to do something about it by initiating governmental legal prosecution. Can a modern “Reign of Terror” be far behind?

These AGs claim a climate conspiracy implying that investors are unaware that climate changes may impact corporate investments, and have committed to using the power of the state to solve it. In early November 2015, Exxon Mobil was targeted by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman pursuing a legal case based on claimed similarities to the way tobacco companies of the 1950s and 1960s were eventually found guilty of suppressing their own research showing tobacco being both harmful and addictive. Their advertising served to minimize such health risks, and they funded scientific studies to provide reassuring data. In 2006, the companies were found guilty of “a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public.”

Last month, Virginia AG Mark Herring joined five other AGs and former Vice President  in the goal of determining “whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses.” AG Herring is also a supporter of the EPA’s Clean Power Plant plan.

When valid scientific argument fails its cause, the heavy fist of governmental legal prosecution becomes Plan B. “Attorneys General and law enforcement officials around the country have long held a vital role in ensuring that the progress we have made…” according to Gore. That becomes the “inconvenient truth” of governmental dogma.

The Minoan (3440 YBP), the Roman (2400 YBP), and the Medieval (1000 YBP) warming periods occurred before the current uptick in atmospheric CO2 which commenced around 1850 AD with the advent of the modern industrial age and large scale use of fossil fuels. Global temperatures during these three earlier periods were warmer than present even though atmospheric CO2 was much lower, and fossil fuel use miniscule. Although global temperature is an imperfect metric of climate change, it is the measure that makes the alarmists’ headlines. The public is repeatedly subjected to a faux alarm over the fact that since 1850 global temperatures have risen about 0.8º C, which is less than the sunrise-to-sunset daily temperature swings mankind experiences worldwide.

Claiming disastrous climate change related to human activities, they disregard eons of natural climate variations before human existence. Climate change itself remains a vague term and undefined. No student of history denies that the climate changes. These legal determiners of scientific truth join the current vogue to label any variation in some idealized concept of an unchanging “normal” climate (the Goldilocks Climate) as a harbinger of impending disaster. The evidence is otherwise: sea level rate-of-rise remains about 7 inches per century, there is no long-term drought, tornadoes are less frequent and less deadly, there are fewer hurricanes hitting the U.S., even the polar bears are thriving in number, and global temperatures have not risen for 18 years even as CO2 levels have increased 10% (the recent El Nino caused an expected spike).

Droughts are cyclical on some time scale. From California: “Rain and snow returned in March (2016) to boost the state’s two largest reservoirs – Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville – to slightly above their historic levels for the date…”

In 2007 Georgia officials warned that Lake Lanier, a 38,000-acre reservoir that supplies more than 3 million residents (Atlanta, GA) with water, was less than 3 months from depletion. Smaller reservoirs were dropping even lower. This drought became a prime example for Gore’s inconvenient truth traveling show in which a gullible public is bombarded with the environmental panic de jour by a media which thrives on scare stories.

Unsurprisingly, a December 2015 report on Lake Lanier has not received the same attention of the media and/or environmentalists. “The Army Corps of Engineers canceled massive water releases planned for Lake Lanier Thursday because of downstream flooding. Lake Lanier is currently at 1075.3. That’s more than 4 feet above full pool. The lake is expected to peak at 1075.7 over the next week after rising more than 4 feet in the last several days.” Environmentalists fret not, there is an environmental crisis awaiting your discovery, out there, somewhere. Move on and never look back; never say you were wrong.

Virginia’s AG Herring is committed to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal even though it is estimated to offset only 0.01º  C of global warming. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, when asked if she considers 0.01º C to be a significant contribution to halting climate change said, “No…” It is the righteous feeling and thought that counts, not the actual change achieved. Progressives base their actions on emotional satisfaction, not scientific analysis.

The tidewater/Hampton Roads/Norfolk coastal areas of Virginia are a constant source of justification for climate control advocates, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Rising sea levels are targeted as the driving force for flooding concern. From there it is a short leap to global warming driving climate change and sea level rise.

Such dogmatic political posturing ignores the scientific findings of local scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, part of William and Mary College. Coastal marine scientist Dr. John Boon, reported that “the good news is that absolute sea level in Chesapeake Bay is rising only about half as fast as the global average rise rate. The bad news is that local subsidence more than makes up for it.” Coastal flooding is a disaster, but it is the result of the land sinking as a consequence of ongoing geological forces, not climate change.

According to folklore law strategy for the lawyers: “1. If the facts are against you, argue the law. 2. If the law is against you, argue the facts. 3. If the facts and the law are against you, yell like hell.” To which one can now add forget the facts, forget the law, and “sue into submission.”

[Originally published at CFACT]