Alaska town sues over global warming


Portland Business Journal – February 27, 2008

I need to file this one under Ridiculous. How can a town in Alaska sue over global warming?  To make matters worse, they are suing oil companies and utilities! If they want to sue someone, they should sue you and me. Filing suit against the providers of a product that is bought by consumers, is like filing suit against the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for the high rate of heart attacks.

For those that live in other countries than the USA, I must explain.  The US is a very litigious society.  I can’t find accurate statistics on the number of suits filed in a given year but it is shameful. We have crazy stories of lawsuits for hot coffee and lost laptops. Just to give you an example, there is even a site that is dedicated to tracking stupid lawsuits!

While the town in Alaska has the right to sue, lets hope that this lawsuit against 24 companies that have only been trying to use commercially available technology to satisfy the needs of consumers is thrown out. To say that these companies willfully knew that their actions were evil or negligent and decided to go the cheap way out on this issue is a huge stretch.

A small Alaska town in the Arctic Circle is suing 24 oil and gas companies, … saying an ice melt caused by global warming poses an imminent threat to the Inupiat Eskimos who live there.

Kivalina is on the tip of a barrier reef on Alaska’s northwest coast, about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The complaint says that because of massive ice melting, the village is losing its traditional protection from weather and the village must relocate.

[Some] defendants are ExxonMobil Corp., BP PLC, BP America Inc., BP Products North America Inc., Chevron Corp., Chevron USA Inc., ConocoPhillips Co., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Shell Oil Co., Peabody Energy Corp., The AES Corp., American Electrical Power Co. Inc., American Electric Power Services Corp., DTE Energy Co., Duke Energy Corp., Dynegy Holdings Inc., Edison International, Mirant Corp., NRG Energy, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., Reliant Energy Inc., The Southern Co., and Xcel Energy Inc.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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3 thoughts on “Alaska town sues over global warming”

  1. Wilde says:

    Can’t agree. What choice does the consumer have but to use the energy resources the conglomerates keep us at their mercy with? Before 1900 there already were solar powered steam engines and electric/hybrid vehicles on the streets. More than 100 years later and we’re still confined to vehicles and machinery powered by an ancient internal combustion engine that depends on a resource that’s limited, expensive and highly-polluting. If oil companies hadn’t suppressed more eco-friendly and eco-nomical alternative fuels and fuel saving devices, don’t you think the average consumer would be utilizing them today? You’re not responsible for the mess that big industry has left so quit beating yourself up. You’ll be punished soon enough once you start having to pay surcharges and ‘carbon taxes’ on practically everything you purchase. Now there’s an inconvenient truth.

  2. admin says:

    Wilde – I don’t believe that there has been a vast conspiracy to suppress more economical methods of propelling vehicles down the road or generating electricity for 300 million US residents. A free market economy simply would not be able to keep down a sustainable and more effective method of energy production. To sue these companies is to say that it was their fault, when it was the consumer that was buying the vehicles and running the air conditioning, microwaves, and TVs.

  3. Wilde says:

    Sean – There’s nothing conspiratorial about corporate greed, unless you don’t think that exists either. Since Bush became President, the top five oil companies in the US recorded profits of $464 billion through the first quarter of 2007. Judging by the state of the US economy, those massive revenues haven’t been exactly trickling down.

    Though I don’t necessarily agree that suing the industry is the way to go, maybe it’s high time oil companies ponied up and returned some of those windfall profits back to their loyal customers.

    At the very least, they should be held accountable for their role in creating the dire situation government states our environment is in. Here in BC, we were the first in North America to be hit with a carbon tax on fuel which will incrementally add on up to 30 cents a gallon to whatever the cost is in four years. As I stated earlier, it’s only the beginning.

    What is totally unjust is the fact that the biggest industrial emitters are exempt from any increased tax. One reporter aptly characterized it as being “green camouflage for business handouts.”

    Certainly when it comes to negatively impacting the environment, we’re all responsible to some degree. I’d just like to see a more equitable balance between those who can afford punitive taxes, and those who can’t. Consider that the wealthiest 10 per cent of Canadians have a transportation related ecological footprint that is nine times greater than the poorest 10 per cent of Canadians. Roughly translated, that means that the rich spew out a heck of a lot more greenhouse gases than the poor.

    This is a trailer from “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, a film I highly recommend and one which might give you a different perspective on the issue.

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