U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a motion by the companies – Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell – to dismiss the suits, ruling that while global warming was a real threat, it must be fixed “by our political branches.”
“The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide,” he wrote. “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 cities of San Francisco and Oakland had sued the oil majors alleging that they had conspired, Big-Tobacco-style, to conceal the harm of their products. Had they lost, the oil companies might have been compelled to pay billions of dollars in compensation for the damage they have allegedly done, inter alia by causing sea levels to rise.
Though the defendants chose not to fight the case on the existence – or otherwise – of man-made global warming, the judge’s ruling represents a serious blow to the cause of climate alarmism. Essentially, Judge Alsup’s order has ruled that on balance fossil fuels do more good than harm. This is the opposite of what climate alarmists believe: global warming is so serious, they think, that fossil fuels must be abandoned as quickly as possible in favor of renewables.
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