Close this search box.



By Phelim McAleer

Attempt to sue oil companies backfires as judge calls out their exaggerations and deceptions.

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners suing oil companies were left wounded yesterday when the first ever “climate change trial” left their exaggerations badly exposed under questioning from a curious judge who demanded evidence not allegations.

Supported by environmental pressure groups, lawyers for the cities of Oakland and San Marino, are suing five American oil companies for “damage caused by their products causing climate change.”

The case has been cast was a David Vs Goliath clash but in yesterday’s court hearing the plaintiffs were the ones wilting under a legal spotlight.

(Also see Phelim McAleer’s video report of the trial: Watch Video: Summary of Court’s climate change trial/tutorial — bombshell admission at the end)

Perhaps the most damning finding came at the end when the judge dismissed the claim that documents submitted by the plaintiffs proved oil companies knew that climate change was destroying communities but conspired to hide their knowledge in the pursuit of profit.

The judge agreed with Chevron’s counsel that the “smoking gun” documents were nothing of the sort and were, in reality, an internal summary presentation of publicly available IPCC climate reports.

In a dramatic part of the complaint the Californian cities had claimed the presentation, by an industry-funded group the Global Climate Commission (GCC), stated that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels over pre-industrial concentrations would occur by 2100.

They claimed the internal presentation also noted, “potentially irreversible” impacts that could include “significant loss of life.” This was their proof that the oil companies had blood on their hands, knew they were doing wrong but conspired to keep producing their killer product regardless.

However, this part of the complaint was completely but almost casually rejected by Judge Alsup who agreed that the GCC presentation was nothing more that a summary of public IPCC documents.

Photo: Ann McElhinney & Phelim McAleer covering the trial in San Francisco

Judge Alsup pointedly asked if the plaintiffs disagreed with his findings and if they had any comments to add but the lawyers for the Californian cities declined to defend a central point of their own complaint.

It was not the only blow to the plaintiff’s case in the five-hour hearing/tutorial – which the judge has asked for so that he could learn more about the science behind the controversy. Although he was to call one of the plaintiff’s experts ‘a genius’ – it did not stop him rebuking the same witness for presenting a misleading and exaggerated illustration regarding the current amount of Co2 in the atmosphere.

Oxford Professor Myles Allen was illustrating how much Co2 was now in the atmosphere when the judge rebuked him for using a misleading illustration that made the atmosphere appear to have more than 400 parts per million of Co2.

“It’s 400 parts per million but you make it look like it’s 10,000 part per million,” he said.

Professor Allen was forced to admit his slide was misleading. “Your honor is quite right,” he agreed.

Professor Allen raised further eyebrows by praising, and including in his presentation, research on climate science by the late Professor Stephen Schneider in the 1970s. Professor Allen failed to mention that at the time Schneider believed the world was entering a dangerous period of Global Cooling (he also blamed oil companies and American industry for the cooling) before switching to believing in Global Warming but still blaming oil companies.

For a movement that had apparently waited so long to bring oil companies to justice and expose the truth about Global Warming – their witnesses seemed particularly unprepared.

Professor Gary Griggs of UC Santa Cruz was high on rhetorical flourish and dramatic possible future scenarios but was called out by Chevron’s lawyer. Griggs gave a dramatic account of the local area, including San Francisco, under ten feet of water but this led Chevron’s side to point out in a recent report commissioned by the California state the same Professor Griggs said the chance of a ten feet sea level rise in California was just 0.1%.

Griggs also struggled with a simple question from the Judge – what caused recent Ice Ages? Griggs talked at length and seemed to eventually say it was changes in the Earth’s orbit but that the current climate change was different.

Judge Alsup also mocked the numerous times IPCC predictive models got the current climate trends wrong and catastrophic weather never arrived. Looking at several IPCC models and their relationship to reality the judge said to Chevron’s lawyer: “So your point is that [IPCC] models overstate the problem. Instead of doom and gloom, it’s just gloom”.

The trial was also notable because of the way that scientists for the plaintiffs had to admit under oath that the first half of the 20th century was very warm. Several times the judge interrupted proceedings to ask why the 1930s or the surrounding years were so warm or why sea level rise slowed down after the 1950s.

We also were introduced to the concept of good Co2 and bad Co2. Professor Don Wuebbels of the University of Illinois withered somewhat under questioning as he said that increased wildfires were a result of climate change. The judge then asked him if the Co2 from these wildfires would contribute to Climate Change. Wuebbels struggled to answer but eventually told the judge that the Co2 from fires was somehow different and not contribute significantly.

In total it was a difficult day for these Californian cities and their “experts” pushing doom and gloom. No more so when Chevron’s lawyer produced material used in bond offerings by these cities. As they were trying to raise money and loans for spending, the same cities underplayed the effects and emphasized the very uncertainty they are now criticizing the oil companies for. After all, no one wants to lend money to a city that is going to be flooded in a few years. So the plaintiffs were in court looking for money contradicting their other statements they made looking for money from a different source. This was not a good day for Climate Alarmists. It was, however, a good day for the truth. Let’s hope we have many more of them.

Full report by Phelim McAleer, Producer/Director FrackNation here: