CLIMATE: Washington to Be Sued Over Global Warming August 26, 2005 8:11 AM
CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS TODAY
Washington to Be Sued Over Global Warming
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August 26, 2005
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, ClimateArk
A California court has cleared the way for a coalition of environmental
groups and cities to sue the US government over global warming. This is
highly significant as it is the first time that the potentially disastrous
impacts of climate change have been recognized by a court. The lawsuit
names two government agencies - the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (Opic) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States -
claiming that 8 per cent of all the world's greenhouse gases come from
projects they support. One way or another the climate change movement
will not rest until the government of the United States and others stop
impeding the necessary policies required to stop climate change. This
will require moving forward on all fronts - supporting renewable energy,
conserving energy, protesting - and yes, challenging climate villains in
LIST NOTE: After several weeks retooling the Climate Change Newsfeed at
http://www.climateark.org/news/ and a brief vacation, this list should
settle in to its normal anticipated volume of 2 items a week. Note
additional writing that highlights major happenings in climate change
policy can be found at the Climate Change Blog at
RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:
Title: Washington to be sued over global warming
Source: Copyright 2005, Independent
Date: August 26, 2005
Byline: Andrew Buncombe
In a landmark judgment, a court in California has allowed a coalition of
environmental groups to sue the US government over global warming - the
first time a court has recognised the potentially disastrous impact of
A judge in San Francisco gave permission for the two groups, along with
four US cities, to sue two federal development agencies that provide
billions of dollars in loans to fund projects overseas. Some of the
projects are power plants that emit greenhouse gases while others include
pipeline projects that allow the transfer of oil.
"This is the first time a US court has given a plaintiff the right to go
to court solely on the global warming issue," Geoff Hand, a Vermont-based
lawyer in the case, told The Independent. "It's a great advance."
Mr Hand said the case would not strictly be an examination of global
warming science, but he added: "We have dealt with the jurisdiction issues
- the case will now go on to the merits. It essentially puts the onus on
to the government and means they have to show global warming is not
happening. It will have to provide evidence to say it is not happening."
The lawsuit was brought by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, along with
the cities of Boulder, Colorado, and the Californian cities of Oakland,
Santa Monica and Arcata. In the filing the cities argued that the impact
of global warming - including rising sea levels and warmer ocean
temperatures - would have a negative impact on their communities.
The coastal city of Arcata said: "Arcata is presently suffering and will
continue to suffer, these consequences. [The government agencies' actions]
increase the risk that Arcata's interests are and will continue to be
harmed by climate change."
Jerry Brown, the Mayor of Oakland, said: "Tragically, the federal
government is violating federal law, which requires an assessment of
cumulative impacts. This injures the citizens of Oakland, and every person
in this country."
The lawsuit names two government agencies - the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation (Opic) and the Export-Import Bank of the United
States. It claims that 8 per cent of all the world's greenhouse gases come
from projects supported by these two agencies. The projects listed by the
plaintiffs include the Sakhalin oil field off the coast of Russia's
Sakhalin island, one of the largest offshore developments in history; the
Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline which stretches around 600 miles from Doba to
the Cameroon port of Kribi and the Cantarell oilfields in Mexico.
The lawsuit argued that the National Environmental Policy Act - which
requires environmental assessments of projects in the US - should apply to
US-backed projects overseas. The law should apply, it was argued, because
they contribute to the degradation of the US environment as a result of
In the latest report on the effects of climate change, a study by north
American scientists predicts that global warming is pushing the Arctic
system into a seasonally ice-free state for the first time in more than a
million years, and that this process is accelerating.
In his ruling, US District Judge Jeffrey White said the plaintiff's
"evidence is sufficient to demonstrate it is reasonably probable that
emissions from projects supported by Opic and the Export-Import
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August 26, 2005 8:12 AM
threaten plaintiffs' concrete interests".
Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace, said: "This case once again
highlights the fact that global warming pollution doesn't recognise
A spokeswoman for the Export-Import Bank, Linda Formella, said the agency
did not comment on pending litigation.
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