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Heatwave study may fuel global warming lawsuits

  1. Dec 2, 2004 #1


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Is this fair?

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    I know this forum is full of arguments over whether or not global warming is even taking place, but even if it can be proven that it is, and that it is largely caused by greenhouse gases, is it fair to sue a nation for that? What is the U.S. doing that 90% of the world wouldn't be doing if it had similar industry? Furthermore, consider who pays if such a suit is successful. Not the companies responsible for greenhouse gases, but the American taxpayers. Has this ever been done before?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2004 #2
    It's a mad world. Even if it's true, why not sue Europe, Russia China as well as henchmen. You cannot blame everything on the USA. And there isn't even legislation for it.

    Now what if islands did not dissapear. Or what if those islands dissapeared due to local tectonic subsidence. Sue earth?
  4. Dec 3, 2004 #3


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    Several things: you don't need a good reason to sue someone and the controversy over global warming would not prevent a jury from deciding against a polluter.

    Second, you cannot sue the government - they make the rules, so suing them would be self-contradictory.

    BUT, I am quite surprised that every company operating coal-fired power plants in the US hasn't been sued over pollution/global warming.

    edit: Perhaps I should have read the article first - I was close, but didn't quite hit it: the article was mostly about foreigners/foreign governments suing the US. I doubt they will succeed.

    It does also say that several sates and New York City are suing several power companies. These suits have a pretty good chance of success and that does worry me, because these suits are not helpful: the main reason coal is the US's dominant form of electricity is the environmentalists standing in the way of nuclear power. Organizations like Greenpeace are attacking the power industry on multiple fronts and if they succeed, the result could be crushing to the US and world economy.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  5. Dec 3, 2004 #4


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    The only suit I could see really being fair, in that respect, would be for Canadian lumber or fishing companies to sue coal processors in the Northeast US for the acid rain that has done a lot of damage to plantlife and lakes and rivers in the southeastern provinces of Canada. I would imagine they have lost a good deal of money due to this and at least they have a genuine gripe.
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