The state of California is suing six carmakers for costs associated with their cars' greenhouse gas emissions.
The suit names General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan.
California is asking for "monetary compensation" for the damage which it says their emissions are doing to health, economy and environment.
It's all very well to contend that certain actions cause damage to the environment, and that these externalities should be costed but—like any tax change—it is grossly unfair to make it, in effect, retrospective by sueing for past damages.
"Right now, global warming is harming California," runs the state's complaint.
"Human-induced global warming has, among other things, reduced California's snow pack (a vital source of fresh water), caused an earlier melting of the snow pack, raised sea levels along California's coastline, increased ozone pollution in urban areas, [and] increased the threat of wildfires."
Umm, I would say that all of this is still very far from being conclusively proven to any satisfactory degree of certainty, frankly.
State lawyers want any judgement for damages to be ongoing, so that manufacturers will be liable every year.
Right, well, let us imagine that the state of California wins and huge damages are awarded. The car companies might decide that it is no longer worth selling their cars in the state; I wonder what the good citizens of California will do then? Will they cross to another state to buy their cars? And will the car compnanies then be liable for those emissions?
And will the state of California then sue the car companies for failing to ensure that their vehicles were not then driven into California?
Consider me mildly exasperated at this foolishness: and people think that Dubya is stupid...