Wednesday, June 27, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil








Green Campaigners Defeated As British Parliament Votes To Expand London’s Heathrow Airport

In this newsletter:

1) U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil 
Associated Press, 26 June 2018
 
2) Frivolous Climate Lawsuits Hit The Wall
Power Line, 25 June 2018  


 
3) Green Campaigners Defeated: British Parliament Votes To Expand London’s Heathrow Airport
Reuters, 26 June 2018
 
4) Up In Smoke: UK Govt Throws Out £1.3 Billion Renewables Energy Project
Energy Voice, 25 June 2018 
 
5) New UK Solar Installations Halve For Second Consecutive Year
The Energy Advocate, 25 June 2018
 
6) Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”: Wind Turbines Pose “Significant Danger” To Environment
P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, 22 June 2018 
 
7) Has The Sun Gone In On Tesla’s Domestic Solar Business?
Energy Live News, 25 June 2018
 
8) India To Scrap Subsidy For Private Electric Cars
The Times if India, 22 June 2018
 
9) GWPF Podcast: 30th Anniversary Of James Hansen’s Global Warming Testimony
GWPF Podcast, 21 June 2018


Full details:

1) U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil 
Associated Press, 26 June 2018

San Francisco (AP) -- A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth's changing environment.

Noting that the world has also benefited significantly from oil and other fossil fuel, Judge William Alsup said questions about how to balance the "worldwide positives of the energy" against its role in global warming "demand the expertise of our environmental agencies, our diplomats, our Executive, and at least the Senate."

"The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case," he said.

Alsup's ruling came in lawsuits brought by San Francisco and neighboring Oakland that accused Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell of long knowing that fossil fuels posed serious risks to the environment, but still promoting them as environmentally responsible.

The lawsuits said the companies created a public nuisance and should pay for sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against the effects of climate change — construction that could cost billions of dollars.

The Oakland city attorney's offices did not immediately have comment. John Cote, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney's office, said the office was reviewing the ruling and would decide its next steps "shortly," but the lawsuit had "forced a public court proceeding on climate science."

"We're pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute," he said.

New York City, several California counties and at least one other California city filed similar suits.

The companies said federal law controlled fossil fuel production, and Congress encouraged oil and gas development. The harm the cities claimed was "speculative" and part of a complex chain of events that included billions of oil and gas users and "environmental phenomena occurring worldwide over many decades," they said in court documents.

Full story

2) Frivolous Climate Lawsuits Hit The Wall
Power Line, 25 June 2018  
Steven Hayward

We’ve reported here previously on the frivolous lawsuits the climatistas brought in California courts against major oil companies, and especially how California cities claimed imminent harm from climate change while telling prospective bond buyers that they couldn’t estimate possible future risks from climate change.

In any case, late today Federal district court judge William Alsop — a Bill Clinton appointee — dismissed the lawsuits with a strongly-worded opinion that is quite clear about how ridiculous these suits are. It does not dispute the conventional account of climate change at all. But it does say the lawsuit is preposterous. Some excerpts:

The scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew that the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming. While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with knowledge of the problem would be liable. At one point, counsel seemed to limit liability to those who had promoted allegedly phony science to deny climate change. But at oral argument, plaintiffs’ counsel clarified that any such promotion remained merely a “plus factor.” Their theory rests on the sweeping proposition that otherwise lawful and everyday sales of fossil fuels, combined with an awareness that greenhouse gas emissions lead to increased global temperatures, constitute a public nuisance. . .

With respect to balancing the social utility against the gravity of the anticipated harm, it is true that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels has caused (and will continue to cause) global warming. But against that negative, we must weigh this positive: our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted.  Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable? . . .

In sum, this order accepts the science behind global warming. So do both sides. The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But those dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.

The point is, even if you are a convinced thermageddonite, trial lawyers aren’t going to save the planet. Of course, the famously nutty Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could reverse this common sense finding, thus allowing for the Supreme Court to smack it down one more time.

3) Green Campaigners Defeated: British Parliament Votes To Expand London’s Heathrow Airport
Reuters, 26 June 2018


British lawmakers voted strongly in favour of building a new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday, paving the way for the airport’s expansion after decades of delays and policy U-turns.



Lawmakers voted 415 to 119 in favour of the move, a decision that has long divided parliament regardless of party lines. Some have opposed the extra noise and air pollution it will bring to London, particularly its western regions.

In a sign of the battles still to come, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he would bring legal action to block the expansion while the owner of British Airways warned that it would not accept higher charges for consumers and airlines.

“The Government is pressing ahead with the wrong option, resulting in intolerable noise levels and worsening air quality,” Khan said on Twitter...

Campaigning group Greenpeace UK said it would work with councils across London and the mayor to bring a legal challenge.

“If ministers don’t want to uphold the laws protecting us from toxic fumes and climate change, we’re going to ask a court to do that,” it said.

Full story

4) Up In Smoke: UK Govt Throws Out £1.3 Billion Renewables Energy Project
Energy Voice, 25 June 2018 

The Government has refused to back a “world first” tidal lagoon project to generate clean energy from the tides on cost grounds.



The company behind the scheme, Tidal Lagoon Power, wanted subsidies similar to those for new nuclear power to build the £1.3 billion scheme, consisting of a U-shaped sea wall with turbines in Swansea Bay.

The lagoon had been backed as a “pathfinder” project to develop the tidal technology by an independent review for the Government.

But Business Secretary Greg Clark told the House of Commons the project “however novel and appealing” did not demonstrate value for money for consumers and the public purse.

Full story

5) New UK Solar Installations Halve For Second Consecutive Year
The Energy Advocate, 25 June 2018

New solar power installations in the UK have halved for the second consecutive year as a result of the government’s decision to cut green subsidies in a move to protect consumers from increasing energy bills.



Europe’s solar trade body, SolarPowerEurope, said Britain had the slowest growth of the world’s top 20 solar markets and the lowest chances of growth across Europe in the coming years.

In 2015, solar capacity was at 4.1GW falling to 1.97GW in 2016 and 0.95GW last year.

Furthermore, documents from 2017’s Autumn Budget revealed the government would not introduce any new “green taxes” until 2025 to protect consumers from rising energy bills.

Full post

6) Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”: Wind Turbines Pose “Significant Danger” To Environment
P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, 22 June 2018 

As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.



According to a commentary by Daniel Wetzel of online German Daily ‘Die Welt’, the aging rickety wind turbines are poorly inspected and maintained and thus are now posing a huge risk.

Over the past months alone there’s been a flurry of reports over wind turbines failing catastrophically and collapsing to the ground, e.g. see herehere and here.

As the older turbines age, their components and electronic control systems are wearing out and beginning to gravely malfunction. And according to Wetzel, these turbines are not even subject to strict technical monitoring by Germany’s TÜV (Technical Inspection Association), which provides inspection and product certification services.

In Germany industrial systems are required to regularly undergo technical inspections and approvals in order to ensure that they operate safely. However wind turbines are exempt from this strict requirement and so many wind park operators are neglecting to properly inspect, maintain and repair the systems, which is costly. And so it surprises no one that the aging turbines are beginning to fail catastrophically.

As a result, the TÜV is calling for turbines to be treated like any other industrial system, and be required to undergo rigorous inspections as well, Wetzel writes.

Full post

7) Has The Sun Gone In On Tesla’s Domestic Solar Business?
Energy Live News, 25 June 2018

The technology firm has announced it is to downsize its SolarCity venture



Weeks after electric carmaker Tesla announced it was to cut 9% of its workforce, it is also to sharply downsize the domestic solar business it bought two years ago for $2.6 billion (£2bn).

The company said the latest cuts to the division, previously named SolarCity, will include closing about a dozen installation facilities and ending a partnership with US retail giant Home Depot…

8) India To Scrap Subsidy For Private Electric Cars
The Times if India, 22 June 2018

NEW DELHI: The Centre plans to scrap cash incentives currently offered to buyers of electric cars despite having incentivised these clean fuel technologies till just a few months back. The move, experts said, will further dampen sales of private electric cars.

Policy-makers justified the move, saying the government has now decided to give cash subsidies to electric vehicles used by shared-mobility operators such as Ola and Uber, “as their vehicles will run much more than private cars”.

Official sources said the government seeks to withdraw the cash incentives for private electric cars because it neither makes a “substantial difference in promoting sales nor serves the purpose of a clean environment”.

Full story

9) GWPF Podcast: 30th Anniversary Of James Hansen’s Global Warming Testimony
GWPF Podcast, 21 June 2018

David Whitehouse & Benny Peiser discuss the 30th anniversary of James Hansen’s global warming testimony to the US Senate, new research from the Antarctic, the pause and other recent developments in climate science.



To listen, click here or on the image above


The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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