Bad Things Might Happen in Future

August 3, 2017 0 Comments

Imagine this. You go to a restaurant. After the main course you decide to have dessert. After all, desserts are delicious and the restaurant you are at makes a great bananas foster. You order the dessert. It’s great. You gladly pay for it and are thankful for the delicious food. The next day, you go back to the restaurant and sue them for millions of dollars because eating sugary desserts might give you diabetes a couple of decades in the future. You are not guaranteed to get diabetes, but there is a chance, so why not cash in. Based upon past research, you argue that the restaurant should have known about the risks of serving delicious sugary desserts.

Does that sound silly? Illogical?

Enter California…or at least one coastal community and two counties in California.

According to reports, they plan on suing the largest oil companies in the world for billions of dollars, because of potential future problems from anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

I have highlighted the illogical and counterproductive nature of AGW lawsuits before (check here, here, here, and here). I didn’t think these efforts could get any more convoluted, but I was wrong. Based upon the English tradition of the law, I didn’t think it would be possible, nor that anyone would contemplate, suing someone now, for something that might happen in the future.

The Bay area of California

Suing someone for something that has not even happened yet is not even the worst part of this story. I might be more sympathetic toward these coastal areas of California, IF THEY WEREN’T THE PROBLEM TO BEGIN WITH! To this day, and for as long as anyone can remember (at least a few decades), California has had more automobiles registered than any other state. As recent as 2015 they had almost double the number of automobiles on the road than ANY OTHER STATE!! Anyone who has been to California knows that the highways have the worst traffic jams anywhere in the country. The state is built for automobiles. I lived in Sacramento and the Bay area for a year. The smog was horrible. In addition to the automobile emissions, there are innumerable gargantuan wasteful houses and mansions, lining the coasts and mountains. I have been to Marin and San Mateo counties. They have gotten fabulously wealthy using fossil fuels over the last few decades. California was one of the states that led the oil boom in the U.S. through the early 20th century and was the third largest oil-producing state as of 2012 (according to wikipedia) If anything, the rest of the U.S. should be suing California for ruining the environment.

The real tragedy here is that outside of the publicity value, the lawsuits are mostly a waste of time and resources. If by some miracle they won billions in compensation, it doesn’t help clean up the environment one bit. Our economy is still largely dependent upon fossil fuels and that will only slowly change as better technology is developed. A lawsuit victory is not going to help common people easily transition to a cleaner future. San Mateo and Marin counties are VERY wealthy. You would think they could use more of their resources to help speed the implementation of renewable energy or self-driving electric vehicles. They could even partner with large energy companies to help the process.  Alas…lawsuits.

Meteorologist Justin Loew


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