The last time we reported on ExxonMobil, the Big Oil giant was counter-suing municipalities that had sued iy for suppressing climate change impact data.

At the time, the company noted that though these same cities and counties claim that they are seriously threatened by floods and other environmental problems because of “climate change”, they clearly failed to disclose these dire concerns to potential bond investors.

This week, the cities’ case against several petroleum firms was in  court.  Wisely, the presiding judge decided to get a grounding in climate science before continuing to hear the matter.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California is overseeing a public nuisance lawsuit that the cities of Oakland and San Francisco filed last fall against six fossil fuel giants: BP plc, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell plc. The two waterfront cities are seeking to hold the oil companies liable for the cost of infrastructure upgrades and remediation expected as they deal with effects of rising sea levels.

In much the same way the judge does in complex technology cases, Alsup has asked the parties for a tutorial. Alsup held a similar session on the laser science underpinning Waymo’s autonomous vehicle trade secret lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. and even asked the lawyers handling the litigation challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals to bring him up to speed on the program.

Chevron’s lawyers took the lead in the tutorial. In the global warming case, Alsup has asked both sides to “trace the history of scientific study of climate change” and fill him in on “the best science now available.”

The most shocking aspect of the tutorials was the fact that the Big Oil accepted the findings touted most often by climate alarmist themselves.

Chevron agreed with the latest scientific assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC), which was released in 2013 and 2014, the oil company’s lawyer said.

California cities, environmentalists and some scientists argued Chevron’s use of the IPCC’s latest assessment was misleading since it was outdated. Effectively, those seeking to punish oil companies are throwing aside the oft touted “consensus” on climate science.

…That ruffled the feathers of some scientists and environmentalists, who immediately went on the offensive against Chevron, accusing the company of using the IPCC to discredit climate policies.

Perhaps the best bit of work during the tutorial was using the plaintiffs’ own words to make the oil firms’ case:

Chevron quotes the plaintiffs own words, contained in municipal bond offerings, admitting future sea level rise cannot be predicted.

E.g., ““The City is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City and the local economy.” Citing “City & Cty. of S.F. Tax-Exempt General Obligation Bonds, Official Statement (Jan. 2017)” and a similar statement by the City of Oakland.

Meanwhile, climate change activists clutch their pearls and the debunked hockey stick graph.

The judge is expected to use the tutorial to determine if the case has merit to continue.

Chevron, Exxon and other defendants in the case are pinning their hopes on persuading Alsup that the claims by San Francisco and Oakland have no merit. On Tuesday, they filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge is expected to hear that motion at a hearing next month, after digesting Wednesday’s tutorial.


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