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California Sues Automakers Over Global Warming

Published by MAC on 2006-09-20

California Sues Automakers Over Global Warming

OAKLAND, California, (ENS)

20th September 2006

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer today filed a lawsuit against six U.S. and Japanese auto manufacturers, alleging their vehicles' emissions have contributed significantly to global warming and harmed the economy and environment of California.

The suit is the first of its kind in the United States seeking to hold automakers for the damages caused by greenhouse gas emission produced by their vehicles.

"Global warming is causing significant harm to California's environment, economy, agriculture and public health," Lockyer said. "The impacts are already costing millions of dollars and the price tag is increasing."

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said the automakers are still reviewing the filing.

Lockyer said that vehicle emissions are the single most rapidly growing source of the carbon emissions contributing to global warming.

"The federal government and automakers have refused to act," he said. "It is time to hold these companies responsible for their contribution to this crisis."

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It names six auto giants as defendants - Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

The complaint alleges that under federal and state common law the automakers have created a public nuisance by producing "millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide."

It asks the court to hold the defendants liable for damages, including future harm, caused by their ongoing, substantial contribution to the public nuisance of global warming. The complaint states that the automakers produce vehicles that emit a combined 289 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the United States each year.

Those emissions, the complaint alleges, currently account for nearly 20 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and more than 30 percent in California.

The defendants rank "among the world's largest contributors to global warming and the adverse impacts on California," according to the complaint.

The filings come as California continues to fight the auto industry's attempt to invalidate California's global warming regulations curbing tailpipe emissions.

Lockyer said the Bush administration's inaction on global warming has forced California and other states to take action on their own.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing a lawsuit filed by Lockyer, 11 other attorneys general, two cities and major environmental groups challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

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