The first Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century

Lawsuits by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland against oil companies “seeking billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change” …”filed in state courts in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, alleged Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, created a public nuisance and asked for funds to finance infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels.” (1) “The cities claim carbon dioxide (CO2)-caused global warming / climate change will cause harm in the future.”(2)

An amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief has been filed by three distinguished Professors of Physics – William Happer [Princeton], Steven Koonin [NYU] and Richard Lindzen [MIT], hereinafter “Three Profs.”  “The brief by the Three Profs accepted the data and evidence used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) by the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).  However, the Three Profs demonstrate the conclusions in the reports are not established, and, at best, premature. They assert:” (2)

“Our overview of climate science is framed through four statements:
“1. The climate is always changing; changes like those of the past half-century are common in the geologic record, driven by powerful natural phenomena
“2. Human influences on the climate are a small (1%) perturbation to natural energy flows
“3. It is not possible to tell how much of the modest recent warming can be ascribed to human influences
“4. There have been no detrimental changes observed in the most salient climate variables and today’s projections of future changes are highly uncertain.”

“Another important assertion is that the procedures (methodology) used by the IPCC and the USGCRP do not yield a unique solution, but an infinite set of solutions. Despite ever more imaginative claims by alarmists declaring CO2 is causing harm, hard evidence is lacking. Claims without evidence by government entities is a common characteristic of what [Ken Haapala’s SEPP organization] terms bureaucratic science.”(2)

Al Gore's junk

PR for the cities along with the global green alarmist lobby machine are attempting to frame the case as mirroring the 1980s-era lawsuits against tobacco companies.  That may be true, but the roles are reversed.  This time, the science supports the defense, the oil companies in this case, not the plaintiffs.

The famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 is a better analogy.  “William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes…The case was thus seen as both a theological contest and a trial on whether “modern science” should be taught in schools.” (3) Scopes admitted he had been teaching the science of evolution in schools, which was against a law in Tennessee.

Where is the beef? is the point being made by the Three Profs, who are independent physics professors from top tier universities with no conflicts in the case.  There is no verifiable evidence under the rules of science that human-produced CO2 causes climate change and there are no significant damages which can be measured by science that attribute global warming/climate change to human-produced CO2.  In law, the absence of evidence is exculpatory evidence.  There is no murder weapon and there is no body, so there should be no trial.  And those who filed the complaint should pay for the damages to the taxpayers and the defendants.

I will add that there is no beef, no evidence, in spite of the U.S. federal government spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money specifically to find evidence of a human cause for climate change.  Other governments spent millions too.  In fact, it is the taxpayers who have been damaged by the fraud being perpetrated upon them by the global green climate machine, represented in this case by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.  Also, donors to a long list of green climate NGO’s have been damaged.

If science had been taught in schools, the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland would be laughed out of town, thrown out of their jobs, and fined by the court for wasting the court’s time and money.  Science teacher Scopes lost his case, but he met his objective of bringing attention to the need of teaching science in schools.  So now schools are teaching the religion of climate change, instead of the religions of God.  And instead of science, they teach social justice, social democracy and the social cost of carbon.  As Ken Haapala points out,  the UN IPCC and the other alarmists offer an infinite set of solutions.  And the UN IPCC and the other alarmists will tell you the solutions cost trillions of dollars and will result in no significant change in global temperature in the lifetime of anyone alive and reading this.   UN executives say it is no longer about the environment.  They have said they are redistributing the world’s wealth.  They truly believe that is a good thing whether you like it or not.  In their mind, wealth should go from your pocket into their pockets and their croney’s pockets, exactly what feudal lords believed 1000 years ago.

It’s just short of 100 years since the Scopes Monkey Trial when the court decided against science and in favor of what was believed to be religion.  Since that 1925 case, which probably received as much press as will this 2018 case, speaking collectively, did we or the courts learn anything?  Apparently not enough of us.  Many people still believe “The sky is falling!” And they still believe it’s their fault and that they must pay their alms and tributes.  The voters in San Francisco and Oakland are not demanding the resignations of their frivolous mayors.  The leaders of more that 100 nations support the UN’s Paris treaty on climate change despite its onerous cost with no benefits, except benefits to crony special green interests.

Versions of “The sky is falling!” story go back more than 25 centuries.

Summary above by Ken Haapala, President,  Science and Environment Policy Project.  Edited for brevity. (2)

(1) https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-usa-oil-climatesuits/california-cities-sue-big-oil-firms-over-climate-change-idUSKCN1BV2QM

(2) http://www.sepp.org/twtwfiles/2018/TWTW%203-31-18.pdf

(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial

(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henny_Penny

About budbromley

Life sciences executive, retired
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