He wants a climate change hearing to help decide a lawsuit.
A San Fracncisco federal judge has demanded a climate change hearing to help decide a lawsuit. For the first time ever, global warming will be put on trial. The reason for the lawsuit is that San Francisco and Oakland are suing the major oil companies for covering up their role in contributing to global warming.
McClatchy reports, “Federal court will hold first-ever hearing on climate change science.”
The proceeding, scheduled for March 21 by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, will feature lawyers for Exxon, BP, Chevron and other oil companies pitted against those for San Francisco and Oakland — California cities that have accused fossil fuel interests of covering up their role in contributing to global warming.
“This will be the closest that we have seen to a trial on climate science in the United States, to date,” said Michael Burger, a lawyer who heads the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Experts on both sides say Alsup’s call for a climate change “tutorial” is unlike anything they’ve heard of before.
“I don’t know of any judge who has asked for a tutorial like this,” said Steven E. Koonin, a physicist and former Energy Department undersecretary known for his contrarian views on global warming research. “I think it is a great idea. Anybody having to make a decision about climate science needs to understand the full spectrum of what we know and what we don’t know.”
In the five-hour hearing, both the cities and the oil companies will have a chance to present Alsup with their views on the history of climate change science, and the most important recent findings in the field.
Alsup ordered the tutorial as part of his ruling last week that the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit would be heard in federal court, as opposed to California state court. The cities had hoped their lawsuit would be heard in state court, since California has an established “public nuisance” law that hasn’t been developed in the federal court system.
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