California Sues Carmakers Over Global Warming

Tuesday, 19 September 2006 23:57 by: Anonymous

    California Sues Carmakers Over Global Warming
    By Michael Kahn

    Wednesday 20 September 2006

    San Francisco - California on Wednesday sued six of the world's largest automakers, including General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., over global warming, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages.

    The lawsuit filed in US District Court in Northern California was the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.

    "(California) just passed a new law to cut global warming emissions by 25 percent and that's a good start, and this lawsuit is a good next step," said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Program.

    Lockyer told Reuters he would seek "tens or hundreds of millions of dollars" from the automakers.

    The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for past and ongoing contributions to global warming and asks that the companies be held liable for future monetary damages to California.

    It noted that California is spending millions to deal with reduced snow pack, beach erosion, ozone pollution, and the impact on endangered animals and fish.

    "The injuries have caused the people to suffer billions of dollars in damages, including millions of dollars of funds expended to determine the extent, location and nature of future harm and to prepare for and mitigate those harms, and billions of dollars of current harm to the value of flood control infrastructure and natural resources," it said.

    The lawsuit also names Ford Motor Co., the Chrysler Motors Corp. US arm of Germany's DaimlerChrysler AG and the North American units of Japan's Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd..

    Ford deferred comment to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group which could not immediately be reached. The other automakers had no immediate comment.

    The lawsuit also marks the latest fight between California and the auto industry over greenhouse gases. The state has adopted rules to force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks, but those regulations are being delayed by lawsuits from the auto industry.

    In the complaint, Lockyer charges that vehicle emissions have contributed significantly to global warming and have harmed the resources, infrastructure and environmental health of the most populous state in the United States.

    Lockyer - a Democratic candidate for state treasurer in the November election - said the lawsuit states that under federal and state common law the automakers have created a public nuisance by producing "millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide."

    Carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases have been linked to global warming.

Last modified on Monday, 21 April 2008 15:39