Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Is Fossil Fuel Like Tobacco?

by Lucas Bergkamp

At a Workshop in 2012, a group of scientists, lawyers and advocacy groups discussed what lessons could be learned from the tobacco litigation for launching successful climate change litigation against corporations.

They called this concept “establishing accountability for climate change damages.” Needless to say, the targets they have in mind are fossil fuel companies. A report on this Workshop [1] provides interesting insights into the thinking of the climate action movement.

The report provides a disturbing account of how this movement seeks to manipulate public opinion with a “narrative that creates public outrage” and to deploy “multiple, complementary legal strategies” to solicit assistance from the courts in their efforts to hold companies accountable for a global, public policy issue.

These activist plans are all the more problematic, as they have been devised under the guise of science. As such, this movement results in further politicization of science, thus undermining the public interest in objective, non-partisan science. It uses the courts as an ‘end-run’ around democracy.

Be that as it may, there is also a series of legal issues associated with the comparison between tobacco litigation and climate change, which are not discussed in the Workshop report. Once these differences are exposed, it becomes clear why the report is silent on them.

What does the tobacco litigation have to do with climate change? Is fossil fuel in any way like tobacco? Are the theories employed in the tobacco litigation relevant to climate change? How does the damage caused by smoking compare to any damage that may be caused by climate change?

Below, I explore the differences between the two. Some of these differences are closely related, but I thought it might help the understanding to spell them out nevertheless.

Relevance of corporate scientific investigations: In theory, an individual tobacco company could reliably investigate the effects of smoking on human health. On the other hand, there is very little an individual fossil fuel company could do to investigate and unravel a tremendously complex global problem like climate change and any possible damage that may associated with it; this kind of science has a very strong ‘public good’ character,[2] and an individual company could contribute very little of relevance that is not already known to the scientific community. There is a huge body of publically-funded climate science to which privately-funded science has made an insignificant contribution.

The nature of the harm: The harms associated with smoking are individualized, concentrated on individual victims, and relatively short-term; they are not hypothetical, but actual adverse health effects. The potential harms that may be associated with climate change, however, are as of yet non-existent, generalized (indeed, global), diffuse, and long term (50 to 100 years). If any harms materialize, they are likely to first affect natural resources, not human beings. More importantly, any climate damage would be indivisible and be caused by the cumulative impact of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

Statistical dependence of risks: While the risk of an individual person suffering harm from smoking is statistically independent of another person suffering such harm, the risks of climate-related damage are statistically dependent.[3] This has implications for the role any individual company can play in prevention, and, thus, the role of liability, as discussed further below.

Foreseeability of potential harm: At some point in time, the risks associated with smoking became reasonably foreseeable. The risks of climate change, however, are still unforeseeable, not only because the science and causal links are uncertain and involve future harms, but also because any effects depend critically on the actions of numerous others that are entirely beyond the control of any one corporation, indeed, any one nation.[4]

Failure to warn about addiction and manipulation: The tobacco litigation was based on the theory that tobacco companies knew about the risk of smoking and the addictive effect of nicotine, but failed to provide adequate warnings, denied the evidence, and manipulated nicotine levels to promote addiction.[5] Nobody could seriously argue that fossil fuels are somehow addictive or that that fuel composition has been manipulated in some way relevant to addiction or climate change damage; the chief causal agent in the cause of climate-related damage is an ubiquitous, natural gas called carbon dioxide, also known as the ‘gas of life.’[6] Where a claim of ‘addiction’ is made, it is phrased as a public, societal problem,[7] not an individual or company-specific issue.

Failure to warn about other risks: Under the failure to warn theory, tobacco companies were deemed to be under an obligation to inform their customers because the risks associated with smoking were not only known, but they were also a direct, unmediated consequence of smoking; in other words, the risks were not deemed to be dependent on other, extraneous factors. In the case of climate change, however, any hazards are uncertain, remote, and dependent on the actions of numerous other players, including other companies and foreign governments. It is hard to see how any fossil fuel company could be under any sort of obligation to warn against a risk that is only remotely and to a negligible degree related to its products. Moreover, any such risk is already commonly known (see further below).

The risk of misinformation: In the case of tobacco, one might be able to argue that misinformation causes people to be potentially misled and make decisions they would not have made had they been properly informed. In the case of climate change, as noted below, the public opinion has been dominated for a long time by the IPCC science and doom scenarios of potential catastrophes. Any information that fossil fuel might have provided would not contribute anything to this narrative and thus not be able to affect public risk perception.

Causal link between information and damage: In the case of tobacco, the argument can be made that smokers, had they been properly informed, would have ceased smoking. With respect to fossil fuels, on the other hand, no credible claim can be made that consumers would have ceased using fossil fuels had they received information about climate-related hazards from a fuel company. For one, research has demonstrated that people’s belief in climate doom scenarios is a function of their cultural predispositions, not their level of understanding of the science or information on hazards.[8] In addition, the abundance of exaggerated ‘climate alarmist’ information from sources such as government agencies and NGOs[9] does not suggest that any objective information that could possibly be provided by companies could change anything, except in the direction of less alarmism and more balance.[10] Thus, any corporate climate-related information that might be deemed required would make it even less likely that the public would either change its habits or demand (or at least support) more stringent regulation.

Ability to prevent harm: Arguably, tobacco companies might in some cases have prevented harm by providing full information on the risks associated with smoking. Fossil fuel companies, however, cannot provide any information that would help the public in avoiding possible harms; the public has been extensively informed about the risks of climate change through the public media, NGO campaigns, and government-supported awareness-raising, and these campaigns have gone beyond the science to exaggerate the risks. Any information that a court might find a fossil fuel company was required to provide could only create more balance, making it less, not more, likely that consumption would be reduced or more stringent regulations be put into place. The only theory that could possibly result in liability would have to hinge on a claim that, given what was known about climate change, fossil fuel companies should have ceased selling their products. But that, of course, would have imposed such enormous costs on society that any climate-related benefits would be wiped out many times over.

In short, a careful comparison of the nature of the risks, the related potential harms, and the possibilities for prevention by corporations demonstrates that the theories developed by plaintiff lawyers in the tobacco litigation are irrelevant to possible climate change litigation against corporations. This explains also why the climate action movement does not engage in any such analysis. Instead, it focuses on arousing “public outrage” to “mobilize the public.” And it does not attempt to hide the political objective of its “narrative,” i.e. “to illuminate the collusion and fraudulent activities that prevent us from building the sustainable future we need and our children deserve.”[11] Reality shows a different picture, however: they have been prevented from imposing their view of ‘climate justice’ on all of us, not due to any fraudulent activities, but because politicians have rejected some of their more extreme demands.[12]

Even if they are successful in mobilizing the public, their propaganda will likely not persuade courts of law to ignore their legal mandate and distort the law to establish a new liability program draining resources from corporations. As one participant at the 2012 Workshop commented, “[e]ven if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.”[13] One might begin to wonder who is being injured, who is engaging in collusion, and who distorts legal and political processes.



[1]  See also the blog post by Shub Nigguraths

[2] R.G. Holcombe, A Theory of the Theory of Public Goods, Review of Austrian Economics, 10, no. 1, 1997, pp. 1-22.

[3] L. Bergkamp, Environmental Risk Spreading and Insurance, Review of European Community & International Environmental Law 2003, pp. 269-283.

[4] L. Bergkamp, Adjudicating scientific disputes in climate science: the limits of judicial competence and the risks of taking sides, ENV. LIABILITY, 3, 2015, pp. 80-102.

[5] Cf. A. Schwartz, Views of Addiction and the Duty to Warn, Virginia Law Review, Vol. 75, 1989, pp. 509-560.

[6] For a discussion of the benefits of carbon dioxide, see United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Minority Report, Critical Thinking on Climate Change: Empirical Evidence to Consider Before Taking Regulatory Action and Implementing Economic Policies, Washington DC, September 4, 2014.

[7] ‘Our addiction to fossil fuel is taking us on the road to nowhere,’

[8] D.M. Kahan et al., Cultural cognition of scientific consensus, 14(2) Journal of Risk Research, 2014, pp. 147–74 DOI:10.1080/13669877.2010.511246. D. Kahan, Why we are poles apart on climate change, Nature, 488, 2012, pp. 255-256. D M Kahan and others, The tragedy of the risk-perception commons: culture conflict, rationality conflict, and climate change, SSRN 2011,

[9] B. Lomborg, The Alarming Thing About Climate Alarmism: Exaggerated, worst-case claims result in bad policy and they ignore a wealth of encouraging data, WSJ, Feb. 1, 2015,

[10] L. Bergkamp, Informed Consent to Climate Policy (2015, forthcoming).

[11] Union of Concerned Scientists and Climate Accountability Institute, Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control. Summary of the Workshop on Climate Accountability, Public Opinion, and Legal Strategies, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, June 14−15, 2012, pp. 28-29.

[12] L. Bergkamp, J.C. Hanekamp, Climate change litigation against states: the perils of court-made climate policies, European Energy and Environmental Law Review, 24/5, 2015, pp. 102–114.

[13] Union of Concerned Scientists and Climate Accountability Institute, Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control. Summary of the Workshop on Climate Accountability, Public Opinion, and Legal Strategies, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, June 14−15, 2012, p. 13.

JC note:  As with all guest posts, keep your comments civil and relevant.

202 responses to “Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Is Fossil Fuel Like Tobacco?

  1. Pingback: Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Is Fossil Fuel Like Tobacco? | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Nice overview. Thank you.

  3. It is implied in the article, but might also be worth stating explicitly, that fossil fuels have enormous benefits. Also worth stating explicitly is that a warmer planet and increased levels of carbon dioxide also have great benefits and are on virtually any measure net beneficial.

    • Which, if Exxon-Mobil’s lawyers have any ability, will get a full set of facts into the public record without media and political filtering.

    • What would be really fun is if this were to uncover support for alarmism or at least decision to not counter it to boost subsidies for their alt energy development and promote regulations that prevent competition.

  4. Why limit litigation to corporations? Couldn’t nations sue other nations because their citizens willfully used oil thereby contributing CO2 into the atmosphere? Then again I bike to work whenever possible and maintain a modest house. Could I sue David Suzuki for owning an 8million dollar energy blaster of a mansion? Could I sue my neighbors for using their cars? How do you separate the guilt of a corporation which produces a product from the guilt of a consumer that uses the product? I’m glad I’m not a lawyer but an individual who models systems for a living. Moreover I’m especially glad to not have to model climate systems because in my neck of the woods, regardless of the controversy over a result – and I have been the bearer of bad news – nobody calls me names the way they call Dr Curry names – the patience of Job that lady has.

  5. It is a good overview of the issues. Thank you. Here is some more background on climate and the courts.

  6. “…the theories developed by plaintiff lawyers in the tobacco litigation are irrelevant to possible climate change litigation against corporations.”

    Yes, but the “theories developed by plaintiff lawyers” were also irrelevant to the progressive jihad against the tobacco companies.

    If the tobacco jihad were about health, tobacco would have been outlawed. If it was about evil capitalists making money off killer tobacco, tobacco farmers would have been targeted as vociferously as the tobacco companies. If it was about anything but power, the government would not have strong armed its way into a partnership with big tobacco to share their profits.

    “Big tobacco” was targeted because the tobacco companies were big contributors to the Republican Party. Tobacco farmers were given a complete pass because they primarily contributed to democrats.

    The anti-oil jihad is a completely different animal, but the underlying motivation is the same. Power.

    In fact, big oil saw the cattle cars coming decades ago when Ayatollah Hansen first issued his anti-oil fatwah. Their contributions to Democrats are now very close to their contributions to Republicans, if not larger. BP in particular is desperate to show its fealty to progressive greenism, like one of those poor legislators in Saddam’s parliament during his fascist coup.

    But their political contributions are not the target, as was the case with tobacco. Their industry as a whole is.

    Energy is probably second only to healthcare as a target of opportunity for progressives seeking power over their fellow man. It is also more amenable as an industry to global central control.

    So niceties like law and justice will be even more irrelevant than they were in the tobacco jihad. If progressives maintain political power in the US, the law suits will inevitably lead to the same results; oil, gas and coal companies giving a substantial share of their industry, and complete control thereof, to their progressive government balcmailers.

    • That sums it up very well, Gary.

    • You nailed it GaryM.

      Like I said in another post I am fed up and ready to sign up for Mosomoso’s revolution. Naomi Oreskes and her eco-fascist buddies need to be held accountable for this BS.

    • Gary, you need to take a bit longer look at history. Big tobacco contributing to Republicans would have been a waste of money for decades. Take a look at tobacco states like North Carolina and Virginia. Republicans didn’t control much of anything from Reconstruction until recently. North Carolina has had 4 Republican governors since Reconstruction. “Big tobacco” was quite an industry. It supported small farms,large farms, industry, provided jobs and livelihood for a high percentage of the tobacco states. Take a look at the major colleges in North Carolina like Duke, NC State and Wake Forest. Hell, Wake Forest moved from Wake Forest, NC, to Winston Salem because of contributions from Reynolds (tobacco) family. Want to guess how the Duke family had enough money to get Trinity College to change it’s name? Look at the growth and economy of Richmond, VA, from “big tobacco.”

      Tobacco growers and companies contributed money to those in political charge. In the case of NC and VA, until recently the Democrats were in charge and got the “big tobacco” money. Tobacco money was contributed to state ag schools. The (democrat) legislature voted funds for tobacco ag research. It was the major cash crop and industry in my state. You could support your family with the few acres of tobacco allotment you got from your 100 acre farm.

      I might have a bit of a different from what seems to be the tobacco urban legend of today. My family were tobacco growers for generations. I started working in tobacco at 5 years old (made $0.25/day, big money!) and worked in tobacco until I went to college. My hometown billed itself as the world’s largest tobacco market for decades ($1 billion in sales).

      Big tobacco’s contribution to Republicans? I love the way the Dems keep rewriting history and people keep believing them. Remember the “Solid South”? It was a term used for states that voted reliably Democrat every year for a century.

    • Gary, you said
      ““Big tobacco” was targeted because the tobacco companies were big contributors to the Republican Party. Tobacco farmers were given a complete pass because they primarily contributed to democrats.”

      The suit was started by a Democrat (Mississippi) during the Clinton (Democrat) administration. Your link proves nothing other than those elected get money and, migosh, some are bought totally for a total of $8,000 from multiple sources. Obviously a big tobacco or big oil payoff.

      I like the way history keeps being rewritten.

      • Um, Bob, you seem to not have read Gary’s post. Your evidence:

        The suit was started by a Democrat (Mississippi) during the Clinton (Democrat) administration.

        supports his contention, rather than being evidence against it.

      • Bob,

        Not sure why you think your point contradicts mine.

        OF COURSE the suit was started by a progressive, during a progressive administration, before progressive judges.

        The litigation was led by progressive/Democrat state attorney generals. The collusion between government progressives and lawer progressives was precisely my point.

        Thanks for making it, again, for me.

      • Oops, wrote before I read fizzy’s comment. He already said it.

      • Stop the clowning and think before you shoot your mouth off, bobbie. We get enough of that from the usual suspects. I won’t mention any names, but the worst of the anonymous jokers have pseudonyms starting with J. Whoever controls them doesn’t have much imagination. You must come from a different cabal.

      • It’s interesting that a major part of the revolution was made possible by slave owning big tobacco farmers:
        “The image of debtors as slaves was a common one before the revolution, although almost exvlusively in thr tabacco regions of the Chesapeake … they (planters) clearly felt enslaved, both by their Briyish creditors whose duns thteatened yheir personal liberty, and by Parliament, whose duns threatenrd their political liberties. Hense the spectacle, so anomolous to modern sensibilities as well as to contemporary British observers, of slaveholders denouncing British conspiracies to reduce thrm to slavety.”

        –Historian Bruce Mann in Kevin Phillips Book 1775

        I think the Democrats know exactly what their doing and will eventually get what they want regardless of what the climate does. Obama has already broadsided big coal. You think it will stop there. Their’s is a long term strategy, even if they are out of power for a while ‘I’ll be back’ is their motto. Also remember it wsd George W who first said oil is addictive.

      • Bravo :::: hand clap :::: +1

        “Obama has already broadsided big coal. You think it will stop there.”

        Greene describes it as the feminization of warfare in his book 32 Strategies of Warfare. You don’t announce what you want. Distract with side issues. Seize the moral high ground. Create a small group of powerful insiders who benefit from the change. If you do it right, you never saw it coming. You wake up one day and wonder what just happened.

        They telegraph their style if you are aware enough to pay attention.

    • All true. Just a note — Lefties love to scream about corporate money for lobbying and contributions controlling govt (see e.g. Sanders). The reality is that the politicians are the one with all the power. They control the govt that has the power to throw people in jail, regulate them into bankruptcy, seize assets without citing a reason, and ruin reputations with nothing more than the announcement of an investigation. As we saw with what they did to Microsoft, govt is an extortion racket and those in power use it to get wealthy.

      • Yep, countries are corrupt. Some more than others.

        So, Stanton, where would you choose to live? In the least corrupt country? The most? Somewhere in between?

        Don’t decide too quickly. :)

      • Vaughn, way to miss the point! I’d say you went off on a tangent, but I can’t find any intersection of what you wrote to what I wrote.

        Politicians control an extortion racket in the USA. Not corporations.

  7. People live longer, better and healthier lives because of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels enabled the reforestation of Europe, and prevented the extinction of the oil hunted whales.

    Richard Tol estimated that the worst case global warming scenario leads to only ten year economic standstill in 2100.

    So the balance falls extremely in the favour of fossil fuels.

  8. More worrying than deceptive automotive marketing and manufacturing is the government propaganda machine that singles out the energy and automobile industry. The root of the problem is a Leftist government that is preaching anti-business liberal Utopianism and the use of the Tobacco-Model of taxation to further climate hucksterism. The Left’s goal is to go after all of the evildoers and to protect people from themselves, whether it’s from Wal-Mart’s low prices, fatty burgers, sugary big cokes, predatory home loans, evil insurance companies, second-hand smoke, cell phones… CO2, too much NOx.

  9. It might be useful to point out the disparate impacts of immediate action in the two cases: if tobacco companies had “seen the light” and stopped selling tobacco immediately, smokers would have been a little disgruntled but the world would have gone on pretty much as before. If the fossil fuel companies had “seen the light” and stopped selling fossil fuels immediately, cars, trucks, airplanes, tractors, and ships would have stopped running, food deliveries would have stopped, most electrical power would have shut down and the lights, phones, and TV would have gone dark: very shortly a large majority of the world’s people would have died. Not exactly a parallel situation!

    • That isn’t exactly right.

      If tobacco gave you whiter teeth, better breath, longer life, and made you 2 feet taller you could draw some parallels.

  10. So who do these id-ee-ots sue in China? The government there? What a joke.

  11. The warmunist ‘Merchants of Doubt’. First the book, then the movie, now the campaign. It is astounding that New York attorney general Schneiderman launched his subpoena fishing expedition based on a false post at InsideClimateNews and a (deliberately) deceptive LAT article. The ICN stuff was debunked within 24 hoirs just by actually reading the papers covered by the post. Exxon itself showed how deceptive the LAT article was by providing the entire board presentation complete with the associated commentary. Exxon likely has a cause of action against both entities.

  12. So, just who, exactly, will be expected to bear the “burden of guilt” for any harm that may be attributed to atmospheric H2O molecules which, after all, are responsible for just about all of the Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse effects?

    Double double toil and trouble. Fire burn an caldron bubble. In this example, is the greater amount of greenhouse effect attributable to the CO2 molecules that are produced and added to the atmosphere by the burning fire or is the greater amount of greenhouse effect attributable to the H2O molecules that are produced and added to atmosphere by the bubbling caldron?

  13. A new form of “swatting” for the white collar thug.

  14. I have a question. Given that it is the CO2 rather than the fossil fuel that causes the damage why isnt it those that burn the fossil fuel rather than those that dig it up that are to blame?
    (Assuming serious harm and a need to apportion blame)

    • Please don’t concern yourself about the oil companies.
      They will fair well just like the tobacco companies.
      They just pass their new costs back to the consumer.
      No worries, mates.

  15. Are there significant errors in the “information” that is provided at the following link?

  16. Pingback: Las imaginarias demandas a las “petroleras” … ¡por ocultar el cambio climático! |

  17. Why aren’t these people going after Warren Buffett, Obumble’s good Dimowit friend and donor? His railroad, BNSF, carries coal, oil, and can easily carry tar sands oil now that his good friend Obumble’s nixed the pipeline. From the article:

    Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.
    With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.
    “Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Woolley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”

    And …

    With BNSF’s large system, it hauls many different commodities, most notably coal and grain, as well as intermodal freight.
    Predecessor Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) entered Wyoming’s low-sulfur coal-rich Powder River Basin in the 1970s through construction of the Powder River Basin Joint Line with Union Pacific Railroad predecessor Chicago and North Western Transportation Company. Coal goes north in unit trains on the three-to-four-track Joint Line to Gillette or south to Orin, where older BN lines and other railroads take it in all directions to coal-burning power plants.[39]

    • From the article:

      It’s true that shipping crude oil by rail can get your product to market up to five times faster than a pipeline. But it’s also true that, with BNSF, you’re able to reach more markets, which gives you the flexibility to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. In other words, you can maximize the value of your product by partnering with the industry’s leading crude-by-rail provider.
      BNSF serves more than 30 crude-by-rail loading facilities across the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, Niobrara in Colorado and Wyoming, Permian and Eagle Ford in Texas and Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma.
      BNSF offers service to most coastal refineries and will soon offer service from shale plays throughout North America to more than 50 destinations that serve inland and coastal refineries and ports.
      A single unit train is capable of hauling 81,000 barrels of crude oil.

    • Buffett is an Accessory to the Frack!

  18. In the end, it comes down to the same old thing. When you can’t win over the people to get popular backing for your cause in the public square and thus in representative government, then turn to the courts.

    We have seen this same kind of thing on issues from separation of Church and State, abortion, gun control, and a multitude of environmental issues including the rather recent continuance of the Polar bear as an endangered species which was decided in a court of law.

    • Congress can remove standing or deny jurisdiction on subjects and probably should.

      Hopefully the next president will be sensible and get all GHGs removed from EPA jurisdiction by law.

      The laws that let ecologically fact-challenged organizations like the Sierra milk money from the government for fees and costs by “friendly suing” them should be revoked or sunsetted. I don’t want my tax dollars wasted in this way funding people with narcissistic, self-centered agendas.

  19. “Fossil fuel” is often considered a synonym for petroleum, natural gas or coal. But this leaves out plastics, fertilizers, lubricants, parafins, and basically the entire chemical industry.

    I know, solar panels and switch grass can blah blah blah. Yeah, right.

  20. A thought experiment:
    There is another comparison which can be made. Is United Nations climate theory in any way like tobacco?

    Relevance of corporate scientific investigations:
    In theory, United Nations could have foreseen the effect of a departure from the modern scientific method, the Hypothetic deductive method.
    United Nations could have foreseen that the product of an political and unscientific body would be biased. That the product of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was bound to be biased. It was bound to be biased because United Nations enforced upon IPCC a mission to support the global warming prejudice (§1) the unscientific principle to strive for consensus (§10) an approval mechanism which were bound to diminish dissenting views (§11)

    Foreseeability of potential harm:
    At some point in time, the risks associated with the uncorroborated climate theory became reasonably foreseeable. United Nations could have foreseen that the product from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could cause that a vast amount of resources were used on United Nations climate change theory. United Nations could also have foreseen that the vast amount of resources used on their climate change theory would reduce the amount of resources used on other issues, issues within the charter of United Nations. That the amount of resources allocated to United Nations Climate theory would reduce the amount of resources used to ease human suffering by known and real causes.

    Failure to warn about addiction and manipulation:
    United Nations must have known, or expelled gross negligence by not knowing, about the risk for biased science and the addictive effect of politicised science, inductivism or justificationism – but failed to provide adequate warnings, denied the evidence, and manipulated the product to promote addiction.
    (First 26 pages should do.)

    The risk of misinformation:
    In the case of United Nations climate theory, one might be able to argue that misinformation causes people to be potentially misled and make decisions they would not have made had they been properly informed.

    Causal link between information and damage:
    In the case of United Nations climate theory, the argument can be made that governments, had they been properly informed, would have suspended judgement about the issue and thereby suspended using a vast amount of resources due to the climate theory promoted by United Nations IPCC.

    Ability to prevent harm:
    Arguably, United Nations could have prevented harm in the form of Governments misallocation of valuable resources, by providing full information on the risks associated with biased science.

    In short, a careful comparison of the nature of the risks, the related potential harms, and the possibilities for prevention by United Nations demonstrates that the theories developed by plaintiff lawyers in the tobacco litigation are relevant to United Nations climate theory.

  21. This is a very thoughtful post on why the tobacco situation is very unlike AGW. But given the warmunist meme that ‘deniers’ MUST be funded by fossil fuel companies, this was bound to be tried. Gandhi’ aphorism applies. First they ignore you. (Like they first ignored Steve Mc on the hockey stick) Then they ridicule you. (Mann called Judith anti science) Then they fight you. (Mann v. Steyn, Schneiderman v. Exxon, NOAA contempt of congress v. Rep Smith, EPA CPP endrunning the constitution.) Then you win. That starts when COP21 fails, hopefully spectacularly. The portents are good so far. G77 wants $100 billion/ year plus a climate justice tribunal forum, but not for them, just us. INDCs not adding up, with many so absurdly couched as to mean nothing for decades. UK grid brownouts last Wed evening in the calm fog despite an unusually warm day for the season.

    • > That starts when COP21 fails, hopefully spectacularly

      Yes, but how can we tell ?

      COP21 aims are disparate and ever-changing. Only rhetoric survives and that just shrieks incomprehensively in a dozen directions at once

      Then we have the never-ending issue of the MSM reporting *any* outcome with accuracy

      • Be of good cheer. COP21 initial objectives: (all researchable)
        1. Binding. — not.
        2. 2C INDC limit — not.
        3. GCF $100b/yr — not.
        But one can be sure that the delegates will enjoy themselves at French expense. Most recent estimate is about $190 million for 10 days.

      • I forecast that COP21 will be in a stale mate until the last hour before closing. Then a success will be declared with a diplomatically phrased closing statement that has no axe to grind.

      • Hans Erren: “I forecast that COP21 will be in a stale mate until the last hour before closing.”

        And then the only solid, binding decision of the whole fortnight will be taken – which five star resort will host next year’s mega-party for around 40,000 climate “science” troughers, complete with carbon footprint comparable to a whole year’s output from an average industrialised nation.

        Nice work if you can get it.

    • “But given the warmunist meme that ‘deniers’ MUST be funded by fossil fuel companies, this was bound to be tried.”

      For a list of 20-plus things that would be happening (but aren’t) if climate contrarians were actually well-organized and well-funded, see my WUWT guest-thread, “Notes from Skull Island” at

      • Roger

        I read this years ago and said to myself … they’ll get around to it. They’ll develop that talking points top ten list. Maybe even a repository for searchable cites and arguments. Hasn’t really happened though. I liked your summation comment at the end. It’s still true.

        “contrarians aren’t interested in playing up to an audience—they are focused almost entirely on mocking and scoring points against the enemy.”

    • But given the warmunist meme that ‘deniers’ MUST be funded by fossil fuel companies, this was bound to be tried. Gandhi’ aphorism applies.

      Who the heck and what are the warmunists (warm communists??)? It reminds me of my days on Yahoo where crazy labels were flying all around from both sides. I thought you said you weren’t political but some of your post make me question that.

  22. The addiction argument isn’t totally invalid. If we stop emitting CO2, it could have disasterous effects on agricultural productivity. Particularly for non-industrial farming.

    • China undercounting of coal emissions could equate to manipulation, though not likely for the pupose of encouraging addiction.

    • Atmospheric CO2 is the global food supply. Are you saying that food is an addiction?

      • If by “food” you mean “bacon”, then yes.

      • I mean veggies, about which 97% of which (dry mass) is derived from atmospheric CO2. Watching a human child grow is watching processed CO2 be reprocessed. CO2 is more than just useful, it is essential to life.

      • So … you are saying we should sequester more CO2 in children??

      • Yes, we should. Not that they will not be by far net CO2 producers by far over their lives. Anyone paying attention realizes CO2 is not the problem. The problem is getting enough protein to their brains that obviously and fatuously incorrect vegetative notions never arise to plague science again.


    It is established with medium confidence that a few degrees of projected warming will lead to general increases in temperate crop yields, with some regional variation (Table 5-4).

    Most studies indicate that mean annual temperature increases of 2.5ºC or greater would prompt food prices to increase (low confidence) as a result of slowing in the expansion of global food capacity relative to growth in global food demand. At lesser amounts of warming than 2.5ºC, global impact assessment models cannot distinguish the climate change signal from other sources of change.

    Ummm… 500 PPM looks like the practical limit to the CO2. We aren’t going to have even 2°C using the IPCC forcing range (1.45°C with 4.5 ECS). There is much evidence the ECS is less that the IPCC lower end of 2.0..

    Where is the harm coming from? Rabid and frustrated ecoterrorists uprooting GMO fields?

    Normally we sue people that have done something bad, not people that are doing something good. And the claim is 2.5ºC or greater would prompt food prices to increase (low confidence) . That is a pretty weak claim even by legal standards.

  24. Well, in this Age of Offence, I should warn people that some of my biggest trigger words are all there in one sentence: “Workshop” “lawyers” and “advocacy”. Sadly, even the word “scientists” might give me “asthma” these days, especially if used in conjunction with “survey”, “consensus” or “Lewandovsky”. Mind my triggers now! Your words could be actionable. In fact, I’m feeling rather faint right now.

    A word of caution to activists: don’t let your plundering, trough-skimming Erin Brokovich types go too hard on the likes of Exxon, Gazprom or Boone Pickens. Because when you think you’re buying wind and solar you are actually just re-hiring Big Oil. Gotta keep that gas flowing to Ivanpah, right?

    • Moso, a plus 10 on the gas to Ivanpah thing. You are definitely up to speed. Shame that California regulators are not.

      • Rud, we have earnest South Australia, home of good intentions, to compete with California in pottiness. Once something of an industrial power, it has lately achieved backwater status and lays claim to the world’s most expensive electricity (though I haven’t checked regional prices in Denmark and Germany today to confirm the claim). Some have even opined that there may be a connection between “backwater” and “world’s most expensive electricity”…but we have economic authorities like (Murdoch’s!) Business Spectator to explain away all such rash suspicions.

        South Australia’s crippling wind industry is supported by Victoria’s brown coal (massively) and its domestic 1,280MW of gas-steam capacity. When that’s not enough, the state has recourse to a fleet of costly open cycle gas turbines and diesel generators. The owners of these back-ups won’t even get out of bed to turn then on unless the dispatch price hits $300 per MWh. If local coal gen and Victorian coal gen purchases could be phased out entirely there is just no limit to how much money one could make selling gas and diesel to SA. Unless you count beggary as a limit.

        Of course, if the wind blows right and some power goes east to Victoria you will not hear the end of Big Wind’s brief triumph. Because in these green times it’s all about the wording and the seeming and the gotcha.

        Undoubtedly, a South Australian politician is an oil man’s favourite vegetable.

      • moso, the electricity problems in SA arose from privatisation. In my EPAC paper “Productivity in Australia,” ca 1990, I noted that the productivity of Australian utilities, across the board, was about 45% of US levels. The point of privatisation in SA should have been to drive economic growth through a more efficient and responsive electricity supply system. But the privatisation was designed by Gerard Bradley to maximise short-term state revenue, an approach he pursued across the board as Queensland Treasury deputy and later (post-SA) Under-Treasurer, and the way to do that was a deal that required much higher electricity prices because of the revenue-maximizing sale price that was demanded. The flawed plan was much castigated at the time; the penalty for Bradley and his side-kick (both of whom I knew well) was to get higher-level jobs in the Beattie Qld ALP government.

        I’ve known many such cases: I’ve never known the guilty parties to suffer any negative consequences, usually the reverse, because they are “playing the game,” they are insiders. So when I argue for smaller government, it’s not ideological, it is because I’ve seen from the inside how appalling government is (by and large), especially, in Australia, at State level.

      • Of course, SA’s power problems have been exacerbated by later ALP governments, including from their acceptance of CAGW.

      • Privatisation around here stimulated some genuine improvements but also huge waste. The rush to maximise the sale price meant we had outlandish over-employment in some areas, especially aboriginal participation in vegetation controls by subsidised contractors, along with rigged dismissals and staff reductions within the ranks of the utility.

        Mind you, under the old system unions and management had lots of wink-wink arrangements which made electricity jobs very sought-after by locals. But, as you say, privatisation was all about insiders acting politically rather than impartial experts acting with a free market philosophy. The babble of the New Class about “markets” just means we have subsidy and green tape in place of government and red tape.

        And we now have kinda-sorta indigenous people who look much the same as you and me filling jobs and quotas in our “private” power utility. And guess which sort of people – who look much like you and me – are still doing those expensive, overstaffed vegetation controls.

        So government has not moved far away after all. It’s waving, not drowning.

  25. From the article (A Super-Cooter) …

    Paris (AFP) – France’s top diplomat, who will preside over a year-end Paris summit tasked with inking a climate rescue pact, warned Sunday of looming planetary “catastrophe” if negotiations fail.

    “There is absolute urgency,” said Fabius, to achieve the UN goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

    The UN’s climate science panel has warned of an average temperature rise of “four, five, six degrees, if we do not act extremely quickly,” he said.

    “This would have catastrophic consequences because there would be drought… and colossal migration problems, including problems of war and peace.”

  26. Mr Bergkamp

    Thanks for a thoughtful piece.

    The article does a fine job of framing the legal framework for CO2, disparate impact and fossil fuel companies. You also touch on the collusion (mostly NGOs, politicians and lawyers) which is taking place as well as the classic mass movement techniques of seducing the public.

    It would be terrific if you could write an article connecting prime NGOs, their sub affiliates, various funding streams and those NGOs involvement in government policy. Both sides of the political fence are engaged in the US, UK, Canada, Aussie and Germany. It’s the new normal.

    The techniques of mass movement seduction relating to CAGW/CO2 are also excellent material for further development.

    In the US, CO2 is now considered a pollutant. Attainment criteria coupled with protected class geographic distribution will enable climate justice law firms to zero in on class actions. The databases already exist.

    In the US, the Civil Rights Act has two levels of harm. One is the obvious denied such and such due to your protected class status. It also has the provision to sue based on institutional projected effects … the circumstances of my protected class forced me to endure “x” social system which holds me back from achieving “y”. Connecting this latter provision with a carbon footprint (burden) is the next honeyhole of class action suits.

    In effect, if you live in an industrialized area and are a protected class you will soon be targeted by class action law firms to join a suit against the industries that are producing that excess carbon.

    Last note. I would love to read your cite #12, but am having a dickens of a time finding it in its entirety. Would you mind providing a link here in the comments section ?

  27. A lot of Republicans are denying the science that is accepted generally by everyone else. They need to argue that they would be denying the science even without the fossil fuel companies urging them to. Perhaps it is coincidence that the most vociferous are from fossil fuel states, or that the denialist-purposed thinktanks get substantial money from fossil fuel backers. Their external version of science was contradicted by their own internal memos, which is worrying, but not surprising.

    • And do you deny that the satellites show no warming for the last 18 years, or that Antarctic is gaining ice, that NOAA have acted illegally by refusing a subpoena, that NASA routinely cool the past, that climate has always changed and always will?

      • “NOAA have acted illegally by refusing a subpoena, that NASA routinely cool the past”

        First rule of any engagement based on data … show the raw data or prepare to be ridiculed and mocked into oblivion.

      • SS, lets note there was no reply. Because there can be none, since your cited facts are all true.

      • What are your favorite top ten facts that support your skeptical position concerning CAGW ?

      • The satellites also showed 0.5 C of warming from 1992-2007, so the “pause” was an adjustment back to a normal trend. Skeptics won’t tell you that part, but now you know. For Antarctica, gravity and sea-level measurements disagree with the estimates based on surface height. The jury is out until they figure out why gravity shows the total mass decreasing in that area over the past decade.

      • Jim D, just yesterday you asserted that the 1998 peak had been overstated in the satellite record.
        Why would they, being sceptics, have allowed such an error to pass, if it exaggerated the apparent warming at the time?
        And the measurements which work with surface height become increasingly inaccurate the further away the nearest open water gets – which is probably a much bigger factor in Antarctica than in the Arctic.

      • The contradiction was that the 1998 El Nino was far larger than the surface temperature, while this time, so far, nothing like as large as the surface measurements. It is an oddity of the data. I think even skeptics allow that El Nino years are warm, so this one must be a headscatcher for them.

      • The RSS satellite record shows a quite similar 1998 peak and I don’t believe that Dr. Mears is in the same camp as Dr. Spencer.

      • No he’s not, and he’s honest enough to admit the satellites are not as accurate at two meters above the surface of the land as the thermometers.

        Once we hit a prolonged stretch of back-to-back La Nina events and negative ONI, the satellites lost complete touch with the SAT – surface air temperature. Their apparent accuracy was an accident… a self-corrective balance between La Nina and El Nino spikes.

        They say the satellites would run very hot if not adjusted, so there is clearly something wrong with their adjustment method.

      • JCH:

        They say the satellites would run very hot if not adjusted, so there is clearly something wrong with their adjustment method.

        They also say most GCM models run hot so perhaps there is something wrong there, as well.

    • Jim D | November 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Reply
      A lot of Republicans are denying the science that is accepted generally by everyone else.

      Really? Do tell.

      1. CO2 forcing is 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM. That is the measured value at two sites over 10 years at the top and bottom of the temperate range. This is far below the IPCC forcing range and is the defacto value for GHG forcing.

      2. Given the Chinese revelations (global emissions are actually 10.8 GT/Y), only 38% of emissions are going into the atmosphere. 500 PPM might attainable if we work fast but may already be out of reach with existing fuel supplies.

      3. The fastest we can expect to hit 500 PPM is 50 years, and that assumes an unrealistic 3%/year emissions increase.

      4. The ” looming planetary “catastrophe” claims are sufficiently divorced from reality to be a lie or signs of mental illness or defect.

      5. Even if you manage to turn the expected 0.2°C increase into 2.5° (using 2+2=13 eco/regressive logic) there is only “low confidence” that it is a problem.

      The science is 22 PPM = 0.2 W/m2. Any other claim is a lie.
      The claims of more than 500 PPM are not lies – they are either delusional fantasies, drastic misinformation, or due to mental illness or defect.

    • Jim D: “A lot of Republicans are denying the science that is accepted generally by everyone else.”

      You and your fellow Moonbats do not constitute “everyone else”, Jimbo, not even close.

      Here is the 2015 United Nations ‘My World’ Global survey of causes for concern, currently standing at 8,581,907 respondents.

      Note that ‘Action on climate change’ comes flat last, 16th of 16 causes for concern.

      You might find this interesting too.

      Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis

      It is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.

      Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

      The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.

      According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

      Think on…

    • Before all that I guess we need to establish exactly who denied exactly what.

      Also if I make a donation to an organization/thinktank/political party am I responsible for what they say?

      • 1. About the donation.

        Sure, that works for me – if you are dumb enough to contribute to idiocy you should ride out of town on the same rail and be tarred and feathered just like they are.

        2. About the who denied what. It isn’t a matter of denying things. One side (the eco/regressives) have pushed for a rush to judgment and gotten ahead of the facts.
        “In United States law, ripeness refers to the readiness of a case for litigation; “a claim is not ripe for adjudication if it rests upon contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all.”[1] “

        There is a lot of uncertainty in climate science. Many facts are in a “low confidence”, “no confidence”, or “I’m just guessing” state. The claims of urgency, rising, falling, melting etc. have all proven wrong. The uncertainty has made the consensus look foolish because they literally don’t know what they are talking about.

        The case isn’t ripe, it is barely even green.

        If this gets dragged into court – the appropriate court action is to tell the global warmers to go off and engage in self-gratification until they get their er… facts together.

    • Jim D:

      Does Exxon change opinions with its contributions? Or does it give dollars to those already holding the “correct” opinions?

      In other words, you haven’t established cause-and-effect in your pro-carbon conspiracy. Probably because you couldn’t even if you put out the actual effort.

      • That was the essence of my question. Without fossil fuel lobbyists, where would the Republicans stand on the question of global warming? If AGW was somehow good for fossil fuels, where would they stand? Their view goes with the lobbyists, not the science. The lobbyists are of course detached from the science if it is in their financial interest, but the Republicans should be able to judge where they come from versus the science, and there is no evidence of that happening.

      • opluso Why does Exxon fund a group like Heartland who does nothing but question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science? They say they support a climate tax to deal with climate change, but most of their funding activities suggest they don’t really want one. Why the disconnect?

      • How much funding has Heartland received from Exxon in the last ten years, yoey? Before that? You must know since you are shooting off your mouth.

      • Joseph: Why does Exxon fund a group like Heartland who does nothing but question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science?

        Questioning is good. But Heartland only gives more weight to the elements of peer-reviewed science that the IPCC gives little weight to. Heartland does not “question or dismiss” “almost all” of current climate science.

        Is it impossible for the supporters of the “catastrophic” or “alarmist” versions of climate science to cite and quote accurately what any of the disputation is actually about?

      • Jim D: Without fossil fuel lobbyists, where would the Republicans stand on the question of global warming?

        They would be listening to people like me. Someone has to alert them to the fact that the warming since 1880 has been benign or beneficial on the whole, and that future warming will occur slowly.

      • I can’t think of many areas of agreement on anything related to current research. And the Unabomber advertisement tells me all I need to know about where Heartland is coming from But also think about the fact that Heartland’s position is that climate change won’t be harmful and that mitigation will cause more harm than good while Exxon “supposedly” supports doing something to deal with climate change and a carbon tax. I am just wondering whether anyone can explain the discrepancy.

      • Don, $676,000 since 1998 and you have to consider they are relatively small organization.

      • Matthew, this is something I didn’t know about and found interesting related to the unabomber campaign:

        According to the Heartland Institute’s own press release explaining the billboard, the Unabomber image was only the first in a series to also feature Osama bin Laden, Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, James J. Lee (who took hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters in 2010 and was slain by police) and “other global warming alarmists.”

      • Jim D | November 9, 2015 at 5:32 am |
        That was the essence of my question. Without fossil fuel lobbyists, where would the Republicans stand on the question of global warming? If AGW was somehow good for fossil fuels, where would they stand? Their view goes with the lobbyists, not the science. The lobbyists are of course detached from the science if it is in their financial interest, but the Republicans should be able to judge where they come from versus the science, and there is no evidence of that happening.

        Simply isn’t true.

        “Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” is somewhere between a conjecture and a hypothesis.

        AGW is a theory.

        Neither is a law.

        There isn’t a comprehensive enough knowledge to make valid predictions. Minor twitches in the CO2 rate (100 PPM) haven’t demonstrated much effect in the past.

        List the 5-sigma studies that prove, using empirical data, the forcing claims or validate future CO2 level predictions.

        When you have some, come back and we will talk. Right now you don’t have any science on your side that is worth spit.

      • Joseph:

        opluso Why does Exxon fund a group like Heartland who does nothing but question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science?

        I may not know but I’m pretty sure Peter Gleick can tell you since he commited wire fraud to steal Heartland’s funding plans.

        As I asked originally, does Exxon change any opinions with its support?

        Is that how you live your life — changing your strongest opinions for this month’s paycheck? Probably not. And even if you suspect Heartland (or whomever) is an exception to that obvious rule, why are government grant recipients (universities or outside contractors) or government employees (paychecks and political appointees supervising your work) any different from Heartland? Is it only when they disagree with your position that they must be dishonest?

        Let us stipulate that Exxon wants to make sure that a broader debate is conducted and gives money to lots of folks willing to make the arguments. That’s not a conspiracy — it’s Freedom of Speech.

        And not every dollar given by Exxon to every individual or entity is related to climate. They are a HUGE multi-national corporation. Exxon just might have a teensy weensy interest in other issues like taxes, trade policy, currency policy, labor relations, etc.

        As tempting as it is to assume your opponent is evil, or stupid, or venal the odds are they are, instead, just like you. It would make for civil discourse if we all tried to remember that.

      • Pathetic and disingenuous dodging of the question, yoey. You represent the Climategate Gang very well.

        yoey lies==>”Why does Exxon fund a group like Heartland who does nothing but question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science?”

        You know that Exxon does not fund Heartland.

      • Joseph | November 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm |
        Matthew, this is something I didn’t know about and found interesting related to the unabomber campaign:

        According to the Heartland Institute’s own press release explaining the billboard, the Unabomber image was only the first in a series to also feature Osama bin Laden
        Among the many letters, videos, and audio recordings is an undated document apparently written by bin Laden discussing the “massive consequences” of climate change, a phenomenon he describes as having more victims than wars.

        Well, according to Mother Jones news, Osama definitely was a global warmer. If you are doing ads about global warming it makes sense to feature pictures of famous people who are known to be global warmers.

        Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski is another well known global warmer. His manifesto “”Industrial Society and Its Future ” is interesting and he clearly favors reducing fossil fuel consumption.

        The advantage of using famous global warmers is it paints a picture for the reader of what sort of people are global warmers. Most people who have sensible friends might not know any global warmers.

        Heartland doesn’t appear to be factually incorrect and drawing a clearer picture of global warmers is a service to the public.

      • Do you know about this, yoey?

        If Heartland did something like that they would be hounded by the progressive media machine and probably prosecuted for child abuse.

      • JIm D,

        Everyone who doesn’t live in a city in a blue state will get crushed by the economic destruction wreaked by the laws that left-wing zealots are pushing. Fossil fuel interests and their spending has absolutely nothing to do with the ability of GOP voters to see that the Democrats are trying to destroy them.

      • I am realist when it comes to politics. The Republicans are listening to those with the money rather than with the science. If there is no money in the science, it is of no interest to them. It is just the way they work.

        fabulous fun connecting the revolving doors and money.

      • You ain’t a realist, yimmy. You a captive of huffpo BS.

      • What are you talking about, Don? When I say fund I mean give them money, not that they were there entire source.of funding. But again what are you trying to say?

      • Ok I see. Why should we limit ourselves to the the last ten years, Don? I think the investigation is going to look at past activities. Now, why don’t explain you explain to me why they funded an organization like Heartland, whose reputation comes from fighting the tobacco wars.

      • Heartland doesn’t appear to be factually incorrect and drawing a clearer picture of global warmers is a service to the public.

        hmm wowl Are you some kind of skeptical ai program on the fritz,because,I am having trouble following your logic

      • Is it only when they disagree with your position that they must be dishonest?

        I think there is number of reasons to question Exxon’s position on climate change and an investigation will reveal whether they were trying to mislead or not. I am not saying that they did mislead, but their behavior has been suspicious to say the least.

      • Joseph,

        Your behavior and opinions are suspicious to me. I say let’s investigate you!

      • Stop being so freaking dishonest, yoey. That phony cheap-trick propaganda doesn’t sell here. A few hundred thousand dollars that Exxon gave to Heartland a decade ago is a nit in the grand scheme of things.

        If you dogmatic alarmist clowns who come here just to poke the deniers with a sharp stick would stop the foolishness, the quality of the discussion would improve. Maybe Fred Moulten and Pekka would come back.

      • You have to put into context of all the other organizations that are “skeptical” of climate change that Exxon gives to, Don. I mentioned Heartland because they are know for their one sided views on climate change and are known what I would campaign siding with big tobacco. I guess you aren’t going to answer my question which I asked before you.

      • Well Don this post is about Exxon, What kind of responses do you expect? I think you can blame Dr. Curry for that, right?

      • OK, we can connect the dots now. Heartland-big tobacco-Exxon-$money$ blah..blah..freaking …blah. Well done, yoey. We are all going to give up fossil fuels now. Your work is done here. Take little yimmy with you.

      • Joseph: Matthew, this is something I didn’t know about and found interesting related to the unabomber campaign:

        The comment I was responding to was this: Why does Exxon fund a group like Heartland who does nothing but question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science?

        Heartland does not question or dismiss almost all of the current climate science. The Unabomber campaign was one of a series of embarrassing public attention-seeking campaigns like the “exploding heads” and the calls for “deniers” and “skeptics” to be treated as war criminals. It was embarrassing because even good ideas have some awful backers (the classic case being Hitler who liked dogs and Wagner’s music). The phrase “almost all of the current climate science” is something that you ought to reconsider, because all of current climate science put together comes up short of showing that CO2 has caused or will cause “dangerous” or “catastrophic” climate change. The calls for the urgency of immediate reductions in fossil fuel use are based on “opinions” that go beyond what can be supported by scientific research — attested to by Spencer Weart and others. We discuss details here, such as the detail that the climate now, at 400 ppm CO2 is more supportive of life than the climate of 1880 with 280 ppm CO2; and the detail that future increase in CO2 concentration will be slow, with likely benign and supportive concomitants.

      • The Unabomber campaign was one of a series of embarrassing public attention-seeking campaigns like the “exploding heads” and the calls for “deniers” and “skeptics” to be treated as war criminals. It was embarrassing because even good ideas have some awful backers (the classic case being Hitler who liked dogs and Wagner’s music).

        The sign said: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” Now if that is not equating people who trust the science with psychotic mass murders like the Unabomber I don’t what it is. I am not trying to defend anyone else,all I am doing is explaining to you why I think Heartland is a fringe group that is more about politically motivated propaganda when it comes to climate change rather getting to the truth.

    • Jim D wrote:

      “Their external version of science was contradicted by their own internal memos, which is worrying, but not surprising.”

      Do you mean internal memos such as these?

      “…We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try to find something wrong with it…” —Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, email to Warwick Hughes, 2004

      ““…If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s warming blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say 0.15 deg C, then this would be significant for the global mean—but we’d still have to explain the land blip…” —Dr. Tom Wigley, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, on adjusting global temperature data, Climategate e-mail to Phil Jones, Sep. 28, 2008

      “Well, I have my own article on where the heck is global warming…The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” —Dr. Kevin Trenberth, IPCC Lead Author, Climategate e-mail, disclosed Oct. 12, 2009

      Of course, only time will reveal the real sensitivity. Is it zero or higher? The burden of proof should rest heavily upon those who want to deconstruct present infrastructure at huge costs (and oddly, to a large extent these are the same folks who resisted low-carbon nuclear power for 50 years.)

      In any case, “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.” – Francis Bacon

    • Jim D,

      Between you and “Republicans denying the science” and Joseph’s “They give money to Heartland” (and therefore should be punished), it’s as if Climate Etc is hosting a clown convention.

      Exactly what “science” are Republicans denying? Doubting claims (claims Jim, not science) of catastrophy is a far cry from denying scientific principles. I bet you cannot provide much in the way of evidence that Republicans generally deny:

      – that an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration will lead to warmer temperatures (ALL OTHER FACTORS REMAINING STATIC)


      – that human activity is likely to be the leading cause of increasing CO2 concentration

      That is pretty much the extent of the science Jim. Trying to spin it so that anyone disagreeing with your (religious?) beliefs is denying the science is both false and pathetic.

      Then we have your soulmate Joseph. He admits not being incapable of understanding the science, but refuses to allow that lack of understanding stand in the way of informing the rest of us how it so obviously is causing huge problems. If fact he does that trick one better and tells us about all of the problems without ever identifying a single one which is currently happening. When it comes to making fact free, understanding free comments here, Joseph ranks near the top. And when he does manage to garner some facts, such as the total amount of contributions made by Exxon to Heartland, he so badly overplays them and confirms once again that he doesn’t have a clue and is simply stating his green cathechism over and over.

      • If someone wants to write a rosy picture of a +4 C world, it would be a very interesting read. No one has offered one, even on blogs or in WSJ op-eds, and I wonder why. Instead they are intent on denial that +4 C is even possible, which may be taken as a clue to what they think about its effects. We just crossed, according to today’s news, 1 C at 400 ppm, which is 2 C per doubling if you are keeping track and that is just the transient effective rate, a lower limit on the actual equilibrium.

      • Jim D: “If someone wants to write a rosy picture of a +4 C world, it would be a very interesting read. No one has offered one”

        That’s because there is less chance of there ever being a +4 degree world as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions than there is of you making a sensible post – ie zero.

      • …and that is where the denial is – that 4 C is even possible with BAU emissions. It was in answer to a question we keep getting on this blog about what exactly is being denied by the denialists.

  28. The sooner this climate scam gets into court the better, as there’s no doubt that sceptics have nothing to hide – unlike the Climate extremists.

    • Perhaps, but they should start with a revisiting of the US Supreme Court decision that to paraphrase …. the government has the legal rite to regulate CO2 because too much of it can threaten the world.

      Totally bogus.
      Not Daubert tested
      And NGOs colluded in the process.
      Not cool.

    • Unfortunately, the warmunistas have been working hard to pack the courts with like-minded judges. While the facts favor the skeptical argument, they will be of little relevance in the fact free world of liberal la la la land – the one in which jimd, jch, j##hua, and too many others live, and that is likely the land where this nonsense will be tried.

      If billery is elected, the best we can hope for is continued standoff if republicans retain control of congress and actually show some fortitude ala lamar smith. However, it is also not enough to just get any republican elected as there are those on the current slate that express some level of belief in this scam. We need to elect an actual leader who will have the courage and ability to fight eco terrorist orgs like sierra club and greenpeace, and to shut down the epa and other such agencies.

    • climate scam.. extremists

      I hope you aren’t implying there is some sort of vast conspiracy to fool people.

  29. ItsStillTooColdInCanada

    My issue is with these ostensibly broad-minded people drawing a boundary at the exhaust pipe and pretending as though nothing favourable occurred because of combustion. That’s torturing logic, and highlights a fundamental difference between fossil fuel and tobacco.
    And just what is it that companies should have been doing differently? Cautioning farmers against using their diesel-powered tractors to grow the food that has been feeding millions upon millions of city dwellers?
    Should every phone include a mandatory warning from the Surgeon-General that dialling 911 to call a fossil-fuelled ambulance, fire truck, or police car could cause adverse health outcomes to 7 billion people?
    Was leaving my natural gas furnace turned on when it was -45C outside on a dark and windless night some kind of crime against humanity? Because the alternative was death.

  30. Curious George

    Hard data for climate damages: According to The Economist, “a strong Niño in 1997-98 boosted America’s economy by $15 billion”. Worldwide, it killed 21,000 people and caused $36 billion in damages. Maybe Eric Schneiderman, NY Attorney General, will prosecute it.

    Draw your own conclusions on the reliability of these numbers. For me, The Economist answered a question I asked here without success: is El Niño weather or climate? It is a “climatic weather phenomenon.”

    • My post at The Economist:

      We can’t predict the future, it will always surprise us. So the best way to prepare for “other disasters,” whatever they might be, is the same as the best way for preparing for mooted dangers from any resumption of warming: pursue policies which foster resilience, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, innovation, smaller government, no central planning, freer trade etc and which promote economic growth, increasing our capacity to deal with whatever befalls. In short, the policies which The Economist promoted for many years from when I first read it in 1961.

      • “We can’t predict the future, it will always surprise us. ”

        err no.

        we cannot AVOID predicting the future. Our brains are wired to expect
        sidewalks not to disappear when we talk the next step. we are wired to expect tommorrow to be like today. we expect that next winder will be cold, that hawaii will be warm, that the wind will blow, that rain will come.
        we are ALWAYS and FOREVER predicting the future.
        Sometimes with skill, sometimes with no skill. The future surprise is a function of our expectations. If I expect that tommorrow that Jesus will come, chances are I will NOT be surprised. If I expect the sun to rise, chances are I will not be surprised. If I expect an ice age, then I will be surprised.

      • Okay, Steven, I usually use a more qualified term, such as “We are very poor at predicting the future.” Yes, we can predict that the sun can rise, etc. But throughout history, any attempt to look 90-100 years ahead has been widely different from the outcomes because of unforeseen technological, political, economic and other changes. I’ve tended to make this argument in the context of projections of where GHG emissions will leave us at the end of this century. More immediately, in the life of alleged CAGW, we have had many unforeseens, such as 9/11, the GFC, ISIS, China’s transformation, Putin’s belligerency, the growth of food output relative to population and many advances in IT and communications.

      • Steven, my moderate reply is in moderation.

    • richard verney

      It could be both ( as you suggest a climatic weather phenomena) and materially, Climate is not global

      Climate is a regional phenomena. some areas of the globe are impacted by El Nino, some strongly, some weakly. There are areas (such as central Antarctica), that do not appear to be impacted by El Nino. Further, the response to El Nino is different in different regions, eg., to some regions it may bring rainfall, whilst to other regions it may bring drought.

  31. The idea to sue “big oil” like the “big tobacco” suit follows the same legal scam with one serious wrinkle. Contrary to the legal and social urban legend, it was general knowledge that tobacco use wasn’t healthy in the long term. How long before it was discovered that tobacco was unhealthy and we needed a Surgeon General’s warning on the packs were cigarettes called coffin nails? The over-the-top claims like one cigarette was deadly, everyone get’s cancer and the like were patently false and outright stupid. Casual observation refutes those claims. Governments profited nicely from the taxes from the industry. And still do. The suit was based on the “big tobacco lies” and the poor states having all these health claims and they needed the money for those health claims. The states, even the big tobacco states like North Carolina and Virginia, lined up to feed at the trough of big tobacco money. Once they got the money, how much went to those terrible health claims they had? Not much.

    The sue big, evil oil scam is a take off on tobacco with one major difference. As mentioned in the excellent article, they don’t have nearly as much evidence of harm. Just maybe perhaps something will happen in 50 to 100 years. Show me the harm from fossil fuels. Life expectancy rates that have more than doubled? Improvements in standards of living in a very high percentage of the world that were hardly dreamed of 250 years ago? None of the idiots pushing this scam will ever give up those advantages.

    I’d like to see the academic community stand up for truth and honesty on this issue. That’s a dream. Too many are supported by the climate change agenda.

  32. Well, Deniers and the Denied, don’t look now, but it’s looking like Russia may literally nuke ISIS, tactically, over the downed plane. Putin knows how to run a war. Or maybe he’s just threatening to throw the grenade to get them running so as to make better targets. Either way, Putin 10, Obumbles -10.

  33. Geoff Sherrington

    Lucas Burgkamp,
    Thank you for the summary.
    You note that “the chief causal agent in the cause of climate-related damage is an ubiquitous, natural gas called carbon dioxide, also known as the ‘gas of life.’ ”
    I did not know that Exxon-Mobil or any similar resources company sold or sells carbon dioxide to anyone. I think that they do not. So, why are they implicated?
    Those who produce carbon dioxide might wish to consider their (guilty??)contributions. Unfortunately, all humans produce an excess of carbon dioxide. If the quantum is not a factor, each person seems to have more culpability (in the loopy way of thinking of the accusers) than the said resources corporations.

    • Geoff

      Here’s a little taste of a target group and why they support the institutionalization of class action lawsuits via CAGW/CO2. You’ll note they see this initiative as a means to compensate them for living in industrial areas. Means to an end.

      This trend is a biiiiiiiiig deal in the next US presidential race as the latino vote can swing the election.

      • “Knute” as in King Knut (aka King Canute) who demonstrated that he could not turn back the tide? A subtle reference to silly policies towards alleged CAGW?

      • When men were men, life was short and the senses were at their peaks.
        I lately wish that I was hundreds of years old so that I could gain the benefit of seeing the repetition of mass movements. Instead, I just quiet my mind, try to follow the money and power, know that mankind still plays the same games and read far too much.

      • Old wine in New bottles. The human condition hasn’t changed much over the centuries. I see all sorts of hubris in overestimating the capacity for humans to understand what may be knowable and pass it off as science. It is especially humorous to see how some see climate as a Martha Stewart recipe. Add a little of this and a little of that and voila, warming.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Ex-Spanish countries in other polls seem to reflect the fear of the Devil mentality thrust on them by fraudulent religion. The new Devil will get you if you do not pay and pray with lip service in favour of global warming.

  34. richard verney

    The stakes are high in this game, and it could back fire in one of two ways.

    First, the Oil Majors have gone along with all this green madness and Climate alarmism since they can make more money out of trading carbon bonds and developing alternative energy than they can make from trading oil. In fact oil trade itself (as opposed to exploration and development) forms only a small part of the profits. But if the Oil Majors are going to be sued over Climate Change, it may be in their interests to prove that the current science is unsound and that presently there appears no firm evidence that CO2 (at current levels) does anything other than greening the planet. The Green blob might find that, instead of dealing with spineless Governments, it has taken on an opponent that can bite back and has deep pockets with which to mount a counter attack.

    Second, the destruction and emancipation of the Oil Majors would be a catastrophic blow for society since unlike many companies such as Google, Starbucks, Amazon, eBay and their like where there are significant issues regarding the amount of tax that they pay, Oil Majors pay vast sums to the exchequers. If the Government was to lose that money, the health service and welfare would severely suffer since there would be a huge hole in the Government finances which no other business could fill. There is no way that windfarm operators or solar farm operators will be paying in tax the sums that Exxon and other Oil Majors do. So should serious harm be dealt to Exxon (and other Oil Majors) this will hurt the lefties far more than they realise since their beloved welfare state will likely fall with it.

    One should be very wary as to how this game may unfold.

    • richard verney: “One should be very wary as to how this game may unfold.”

      One argument which could be made for passing a legislated carbon tax — or alternatively for imposing a framework of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon — is that the monies so collected could be viewed both as compensatory damages for past harm inflicted and as punitive damages which discourage future harmful behavior; i,e,, to discourage the production of ever-greater volumes of carbon fuel for public consumption.

      Any oil company worth its salt should be analyzing the possible upside of a government decision to impose a tax on carbon.

      If the price of all carbon fuels rises substantially with the imposition of a stiff tax on carbon, with the result that the retail price at the consumer level is doubled or even tripled, could an oil company hide a comparatively larger per-gallon revenue figure inside of its wholesale price while simultaneously adjusting its operations so that it receives a higher overall rate of return on a lower volume of carbon fuels sold?

      Is it possible the big oil companies might actually welcome a government decision to put a stiff price on carbon, assuming that the carbon taxation framework — or the framework of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated carbon tax — was structured in such a way as to guarantee a higher margin of profit on each gallon of carbon fuel sold?

      • Yes, not only possible but likely.
        It’s all rather diabolical.

        Thought scenario

        You make up something bad that forces me to pay you a penalty. Since what I have is bad, but still needed the price goes up. I pass that cost on to the buyer. The pay because they need it. They go look for a substitute, it becomes cost prohibitive, illegal, or better yet controlled by you.

        You spend the money on Birken bags at 15K a pop for a cheap one.
        You feel good because you are trickling down and your new happiness emerges.

        I still pay.

        Paying for your sins back in the Middle Ages used to work this way.

        Disclaimer … I used liberal use of “you” and “me”, but obviously didnt mean YOU or ME.

      • Knute: “Yes, not only possible but likely. It’s all rather diabolical. Thought scenario … You make up something bad that forces me to pay you a penalty. Since what I have is bad, but still needed the price goes up. I pass that cost on to the buyer. They pay because they need it. They go look for a substitute, it becomes cost prohibitive, illegal, or better yet controlled by you.”

        Another scenario along those same lines might be for the US Government to force the oil companies into a series of plea-bargaining consent agreements where the entire industry basically pleads guilty to past environmental crimes and is then enlisted to greatly expand its investments in wind and solar, with the monies so invested being labeled as restitution compensation for the environmental damage inflicted by those past crimes.

        As long as these consent agreements were appropriately structured so as to guarantee each oil company a more-than-decent profit on its greatly expanded wind and solar investments, why would the oil companies not think seriously about signing one?

  35. Another reason the tobacco analogy falls down is that 100% of people have known for more than a century that tobacco is addictive and seriously undermines human health. No smoker should get compensation from a tobacco producer ever because there has never been any lack of social and official warnings. NO smoker to be compensated. EVER.

    Moreover, every government I know of continues to allow tobacco sales and consumption. Australian governments gulp in huge amounts of money from skyrocketing duties, taxes, excises etc. That’s not in the long-ago. It’s now.

    As for advertising, please don’t say you were lied to or manipulated. If you thought that smoking Peter Stuyvesant made you a member of the international jet set because the ads told you so then maybe you also thought that the Colgate ring of confidence would get you the attentions of a super-model? Or that the right margarine would win you the applause and smiles of a joyous family with perfect Aryan features?

    I’ve got nothing against smokers. Smoking look like fun, but it’s not for me and not good for me. I am 66 and have always known it was not good for me. I always had a choice not to smoke and advice not to smoke, as did everybody. This is not me being smug. I’m not particularly strong-willed or disciplined: the advice against smoking was always clear and it was ubiquitous.

    Find another analogy.

    • Big government / nanny state is good for you! The Australian government (ALP) introduced so-called “plain packaging” for cigarette packets (actually with grotesque pictures of cancers et al) and no brand differentiation, allegedly for health reasons, to reduce consumption (and began to destroy our status as a no-sovereign-risk place to invest by destroying the value of the tobacco companies’ IP without consumption). With no brand differentiation to charge premium prices, prices have dropped to the lowest-common-denominator … and sales have risen. [Last stats I saw.] Parallel with fossil fuels? Governments get it wrong, time and time again.

    • It’s yer Maclean’s showing.

  36. In simple words, smoking can be shown to be overwhelmingly net negative while burning any fossil fuel, even the most evil of all- coal – can be shown to be overwhelmingly net positive. Would love for this to go to trial provided a truly neutral judge would preside.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      But is it not interesting that the smoking/health link has not been measured mechanistically, only through correlation.
      While I can support advice to avoid it, I am uneasy about Government action like package restrictions in the absence of a mechanism. It seems to diminish the required level of scientific proof.
      Rather like GHG theory has not been shown mechanistically in real atmosphere cases. Or even a correlation, many think.
      Give me hard pure science with high clearly defined standards of proof any day.

      • Geoff

        Im not picking on you because your intent was not to wave a false fire in a theatre. This phrase, “While I can support advice to avoid it” is what has been warped by opportunists in the CAGW wars. Essentially, the conversational talk of technocrats and scientists that infers it would be a good idea has become the spun message of … “scientists think its a good idea to stop the increase in CO2 because it MAY create a climate catastrophe”. The next leap was “burning fossils makes too much CO2, so lets go alt energy”. The next leap is coming “I live in a nonattainment CO2 zone or YOUR CO2 consumption has put me at risk and i deserve a check”.

      • Don’t disagree Geoff. As has been pointed out by others far smarter than me on this thread, to paraphrase and over simplify, if smoking caused cancer, everyone who ever smoked would develop cancer. We don’t need goblement colusion to take more of our money.

    • If genetics caused genetic diseases, we would all have genetic diseases.And we do. So they’re right!

  37. In the case of tobacco, the legal victory against them had more to do with government bullying than a real case:
    1) Tobacco was and remains a legal product
    2) there were already warnings on the packages and everyone knew since 70 yrs ago that they kill (called “coffin nails” way back in the Depression)
    3) Their use was entirely voluntary.
    4) There are actually benefits for people who have trouble handling stress (think soldiers being bombarded or someone who is homeless or mentally ill)

    • The tobacco victory was a scam. The companies agreed to huge taxes on the poor people who smoke in order to stay in business. The whole point was to provide massive govt revenues on the back of the poor. This is why the new electronic cigarettes are being shut down by regulators. They are a threat to a huge revenue stream.

  38. If the climate doesn’t heat up until we all boil in our beds, who should I sue?

  39. The Vatican had a recent meeting of cardinals, bishops and other Catholic grandees. And came up with the following brilliant piece of policy:

    “Within the ten points of the ‘joint appeal,’ number four demands a goal of ‘complete decarbonisation by mid-century.’”

    Proof positive that the Church is again following the “consensus” into scientific ignorance, just as it did with Galileo. Not one of these geniuses has the faintest idea of what “complete decarbonisation by mid-century” even means. Nor how flat out impossible it is, short of a global imposition of fascism (you know, third way socialism). let alone the enormous human cost their delusional political preening would cause.

  40. Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, has the law he needs to do a lot of damage to Exxon. He can criminally or civilly accuse Exxon (and other companies) of fraud on their investors, for not revealing the damage [sic] that climate change will cause, the damages their fossil fuels will cause, how that might affect the company’s value, etc.
    A[n] [undoubtedly unconstitutional] NY statute called the Martin Act provides unbelievable powers to the state: Gen. Bus. Law 352 defines crimes that do not require that you have the intent to defraud. Gen. Bus. Law 353 requires that you merely commit a defrauding act. This act can be intentional or otherwise. Mistake or lack of intent or even lack of knowledge or lack of understanding is not a defense. The Martin Act does not require your intent or knowledge or even your understanding that your act did defraud. It is a strict liability criminal statute.
    The Martin Act also gives prosecutors the ability to subpoena individuals and seek records outside the Grand Jury. The AG can impose substantial burdens on a company to comply, and there is no defense. The AG can demand nearly any records he wants to.
    Further, instead of the secrecy of a Grand Jury, prosecutors are left with the latitude of what to do with these materials and information. The right to counsel and the right against self-incrimination – do not exist in Martin Act investigations.
    Fraud can be whatever the Attorney General thinks it is, and most judges will just sit back and allow prosecutors to pursue meritless, even fabricated, fraud prosecutions. Neither judges nor prosecutors nor jurors are required to possess any technical training or education or knowledge.
    “The law is what I say it is,” is the basic rule for most judges. The Martin Act (and other fraud statutes) then makes fraud whatever the prosecutor defines it to be. And gullible jurors [others are excused] are manipulated into producing guilty verdicts.
    Criminal prosecutions for fraud have been used to convict the innocent for as long as such laws have existed. People have been convicted and imprisoned for scientific fraud on their investors, in cases where no expert witnesses testified to explain either the science or the fraud. How does this happen? It happens with a legal system that disrespects the truth and the rights and liberties of the accused, where the law is used as a weapon to take down targets of the state.
    Exxon may be in for a long, ugly battle that will cost them – and consumers – a fortune.

  41. Like the tobacco companies Exxon is very much an engorged piñata when it comes to money, so it’s no surprise that state governments and the tort lawyers who will shortly emerge are up for taking a whack at it. I guess the question is, who’s next? Other Big Oil companies would seem to be a safe bet. What about auto manufacturers who wantonly produced and promoted gas guzzlers such as SUV? Or climate-science professional societies whose meetings are in far-off places that require untold extra tons of jet fuel to be burned by those who attend them?

    • They need to go after Buffett for shipping all that coal and crude oil. Why stop at just the source? Gouge the shippers also.

      • The Gore Effect on rails. Within days of Obama’s Keystone announcement a unit train of tankers partially derails. Fortunately only one car was punctured, and no fatalities. Ontario wasn’t so lucky last year.

      • Kim

        Very few things illustrate the stupidity and corruption of the CAGW/CO2 call to action than 100 car trainloads of explosive fuel rumbling thru the nation.

      • Heh, Buffet just bought a billion tank cars, er a billion dollars’ worth of tank cars. At this point, what difference does it make?

        Chemin de fergodsake.

      • Unless my morning numbers are cock-eyed the view is unbelievable. Twenty-five thousand tank cars are two hundred and fifty unit trains each a hundred cars long. For the numerate 25,000 tank cars are 250 unit trains a100 cars long. That’s a lot of cocks screaming in the night.

        Mebbe he didn’t get to play with a train set enuff.

  42. Just a crazy little hypothetical.

    Suppose government action destroyed your business, or the business of your family predecessors, or the community in which you live. Let’s pretend it was with forethought and intent:

    “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” – Presidential candidate Obama, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle

    Lets pretend the legal argument for the action was along the lines of: “promotion of the common good.”

    Lets assume that the courts ruled just so: in this case protection of the common good allowed for the destruction of private and collective wealth and property rights.

    Now fast forward, lets say 60 years.

    Plaintive goes before the court and applies for relief, and putative damages. On the grounds that history and subsequent scientific understanding make it quite clear the activities of the complainant’s predecessors did not have, and could not have had any measurable negative effect upon the climate. And further that government agents knowingly distorted the climate data used before the courts sixty years earlier. And further that government agents knowingly misrepresented the data for mitigation costs going forward. And that these intentional distortions were responsible for a court ruling which directly destroyed present and future assets of the complainant.

    What are the odds of recovery? Assuming of course that the defendant still has any assets to claim.

    • As much chance of recovery as all the obese people who relied on the clearly fraudulent nutrition advice of the government over the last half century.


      Or those in Colorado damaged by the extraordinary negligence of the EPA in poisoning the river. Or the millions in the Midwest who were flooded by the intentional actions of the Corps of Engineers.

  43. bedeverethewise

    In the history of human civilization, there have been discoveries or changes that have radically changed the human condition. Things like the ability to control fire, agriculture, written language, metallurgy.

    When humans figured out that it was possible convert heat energy in work, it was a change that rivals all others. Over the last hundred or so years, we have gone from poor short lives to long rich lives. And the foundation of that change is the ability to convert heat energy into work, the industrial revolution running on fossil fuels.

    Not only did this change increase the standard of living, it has played a significant role in ending slavery, bringing equal rights to women, feeding the world, mobilizing humanity, etc.. In addition, because each invention builds on many previous inventions, we are currently in the middle of a technology explosion. Steam leads to electricity, to light, to a better microscope, to microbiology. A mechanical calculator leads to computers, to advanced software, to the internet, to the near instantaneous sharing of information, to an almost ridiculous amount of collaboration.

    My grandmother lived in a dirt floor shack, less than 100 years ago. The boys in her family typically quit school at age 14 to start working as farm hands. The women had no choice but to do housework, it was simply the work that needed to be done.

    When it come to fossil fuels, you need to understand why we are here and how we got here before you can try to figure out where we go from here. The industrial revolution was the greatest thing to happen to humanity since agriculture,

    As for tobacco, it’s gross.

  44. From the article:

    9 November 2015 – Met Office data for 2015 so far shows that, for the first time, global mean temperature at the Earth’s surface is set to reach 1 °C above pre-industrial levels

    This represents an important marker as the world continues to warm due to human influence.

    ‘Uncharted territory’
    Based on data from January to September, the HadCRUT dataset jointly run by the Met Office and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia shows 2015 global mean temperature at 1.02 °C (±0.11 °C) above pre-industrial levels*.

    Stephen Belcher, Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “We have seen a strong El Nino develop in the Tropical Pacific this year and that will have had some impact on this year’s global temperature.

    “We’ve had similar natural events in the past, yet this is the first time we’re set to reach the 1 °C marker and it’s clear that it is human influence driving our modern climate into uncharted territory.”

    • Now I know the tremendous enrichment of the human condition pre-industrial to now is not all down to that 1 degree C of warming, but some of it is.

  45. Governor Moonbeam likes oil too. Somebody needs to include this Dimowit in the RICO suit. From the article:

    A worker in the state oil and gas regulatory agency lodged a whistleblower’s complaint over being ordered to prepare a state map of the oil and gas potential, history and geology of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s family ranch, the worker and her attorney said Monday.

    Jennie Catalano, a mapping specialist who has been with the state Department of Conservation for 18 years, brought the complaint. She contends she faced unspecified retaliation after being suspected of lodging the complaint over being directed to do the personal work for Brown, said her attorney, William Rehwald.

    “I was asked to help her in part because she does feel that she’s being retaliated against because she’s a whistleblower,” Rehwald said.

    • Brown has no faith in his forebears. The land, in his family for generations, and none of them thought to think about what was under it?

      A hypocritical fool. Oh, and that’s not all.

  46. The implication of the tobacconist meme is that tobacco companies misrepresented the certainty/uncertainty to the public.
    This of course is exactly what the purveyors of the “merchant of doubts” dogma such as Oreskes emulate. They misrepresent CAGW as settled science even as far back as late 1970’s

    • So what is thus needed is a campaign to prosecute governments for misrepresenting climate science as being settled in their own favour (ie alarmist, so justifying their own expansion). Exactly like tobacco companies, just orders of magnitude more serious and cynical.

    • One theme would be ““establishing accountability for climate change policy damages.”

  47. @JC: Nobody could seriously argue that fossil fuels are somehow addictive.

    Quite right, Judy. After the Iraq invasion nobody could take George W. Bush seriously. Just look at this stupid remark by him.

    Nobody could seriously argue the point he was fruitlessly trying to make there.

    • Sorry, that should have been addressed to Prof. Bergkamp, not Judy.

      • You could pretend that Judy is self-identifying herself as Lucas, but really, it’s the other way around.

    • Vaughan Pratt, are you being intentionally obtuse, or do you really believe this is a reasonable response? Any fair minded individual can understand the difference between the addiction this post was talking about, namely the physiological and physiological addiction which can come with something like cigarettes, and the metaphorical addiction George Bush referred to. I can’t see why anyone would make a response like yours, save perhaps as a joke.

      Intentionally exploiting the fact words can be used in multiple ways to score cheap points is pathetic. If that was your intent, I don’t think anything more needs to be said. If your intent was just to make a joke highlighting the different ways the word has been used, you failed at humor.

      But if you honestly believe your response was fair, you’re a fool.

      • That was supposed to be “physiological and psychological addiction.”

      • I blame Bush for Obama.

      • @BS: if you honestly believe your response was fair, you’re a fool.

        If you honestly believe ad hominem arguments are logical, Brandon, you’re illogical.

        That they’re so commonly deployed on this blog suggests that either that they’re effective here or that no better argument was available.

        Brandon’s response puts me in mind of the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument. Brandon’s version would be “Oil isn’t addictive, drugs are addictive”.

        It was less than a month ago that UK billionaire (in US$ if not UK pounds) Michael Lynch made Brandon’s point for him far more cogently in Forbes, Inc.

        (A painfully obvious difference between ML and BS is that the former has a great sense of humour. The day BS tries to crack a joke on CE, it’ll be his monitor screen that cracks. And that’s not funny, no sir.)

        The US has an interesting agency called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF to those whose TV habits have familiarized them to acronyms like SWAT. One might imagine that the Bureau’s goal is to protect the innocent against the ravages of second-hand A, T, F and E. But as can be seen here however, ATF’s real mission is “to target, identify, and dismantle criminal enterprises with ties to violent crime, that traffic illicit liquor or contraband tobacco in interstate commerce; seize and deny their access to assets and funds; and prevent their encroachment into the legitimate alcohol or tobacco industry.”

        Read my lips. Money.

        Support ATF. More money.

        It will trickle down to you.


        Back to oil. Is there second-hand oil? Well sure, isn’t that what biodiesel made from restaurant scraps is all about?

        No, no, that’s like saying second-hand smoke comes from found cigarette butts.

        According to some, second-hand smoke is a pollutant.

        But people are divided on this.

        As they are on whether CO2 from burning fossil fuels is a pollutant.

        The Supreme Court Of The US has declared it so. But seriously, who on this blog takes SCOTUS seriously?

        The point Michael Lynch is making (and Brandon Shollenberger could do worse than offer this billionaire his help) is that oil so important to our daily lives and our economy that we cannot afford to classify it along with any of A, T, F, or E.

        Yet evil forces operating behind closed doors have been bending governments around the world to do just that.

        This is going to happen next month in Paris if nothing is done about.

        To prevent this contemplated expansion of ATF to ATFEFF, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. Explosives, and Fossil Fuels, it suffices merely to point out that criminal enterprises with ties to violent crime that traffic illicit coal, oil, or natural gas in interstate commerce that encroach into the legitimate coal, oil and gas industry are a figment of an overly vivid imagination.

      • Vaughan Pratt, you really shouldn’t try to moralize like:

        If you honestly believe ad hominem arguments are logical, Brandon, you’re illogical.

        That they’re so commonly deployed on this blog suggests that either that they’re effective here or that no better argument was available.

        When anyone who has the slightest idea what an ad hominem argument would know what you quoted wasn’t one. You proving you’re a fool while trying to criticize me for suggesting you are a fool is… amusing. It’s also a great example of why you’re a waste of time.

        I’m not even going to read the rest of what you wrote. I started to, but it seemed to be… I don’t know what. It certainly didn’t seem to have anything to do with what I said, what this post is about, or anything remotely interesting.

  48. The climate alarmists seem to enjoy shooting themselves in their little feet.

    “But 68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 17% favor such prosecutions. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.”

  49. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #205 | Watts Up With That?

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