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U.S. District Judge William Alsup is inviting oil and gas companies and climate scientists to present the best available knowledge on climate change in his courtroom, according to a new report by the New York Post.
Lawyers from two California cities and five major oil and gas firms are on the hook to overview the history of climate change research and discuss the Earth’s cooling and warming cycles.
Alsup may be seeking a formal introduction of the fossil fuel companies’ view on climate change for court records, Michael Wara, a lawyer at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment said.
“That could speak to the lawsuits’ claims that these companies were not forthcoming about their internal thinking about climate change,” Wara said.
Alsup is the judge for two major climate change lawsuits. The cases pit San Francisco and Oakland against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell of knowing the consequences of climate change, but not changing their business strategy in accordance with environmental risks. Another accusation blames the oil majors for orchestrating a public disinformation campaign on the results of climate change research.
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“The relief that plaintiffs seek would require a single judge sitting in San Francisco to unilaterally change the nation’s energy and environmental policies,” Joshua Lipshutz, an attorney for Chevron, told reporters.
City of San Francisco attorney Dennis Herrera said the major city would present an “objective history of climate change science” to the judge. “We’ll see whether big oil acknowledges the scientific consensus and its role in causing climate change or doubles down, once again, on deception.”
Court filings show the judge is interested in knowing whether existing science clearly demonstrates that the burning of fossil fuels leads to global warming and how that process takes place.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…