Climate Change

Turning the Tables on Coastal Ecofascists

New York and California aim to punish energy companies for climate change. Here's how to fight back.

Arnold Ahlert · Jan. 18, 2018

In the progressive-dominated bicoastal fever swamps known as New York and California, hysterical leftists are once again in search of sympathetic courts who will abet their global warming agenda.

In New York City, Bill de Blasio’s administration has filed a federal suit against a number of fossil fuel companies based on their alleged role in precipitating climate change. According to the suit, “The city seeks to shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.”

BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell are the defendants in this case, and the lawsuit alleges these companies have produced more than 11% of the entire world’s industry-based methane and carbon pollution — “since the dawn of the industrial revolution,” the suit adds.

The plaintiffs further allege that Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York in 2012, killing 53 people statewide and costing more than $19 billion in damages, was precipitated by global warming and that these companies should not only pay for that damage, but the city’s future resiliency upgrades. In a further burst of fiscal insanity given New York city’s looming pension disaster, de Blasio, along with pension fund board members Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, are calling on those funds to divest from fossil fuel companies over the next five years.

A New York Post editorial takes this effort to task, calling the suit a “ridiculous assault on the fossil-fuel industry that powers our city and whose earnings support retired city workers.” It further illuminates the depths of de Blasio’s hypocrisy, noting that while he’s suing to recoup the costs of building up the city’s defenses in areas most prone to flooding during hurricanes, he is also “encouraging more residential development all along the city’s waterfront.”

“Then, too, it would be nice to see the mayor practicing what he preaches,” the paper adds. “Will he ever stop taking his caravan of gas-guzzling SUVs to his Park Slope gym? How about canceling his flights around the country in support of his progressive agenda?”

As it is with most “do as I say, not as I do” progressives, the answers are no and no.

In California, the cities of Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Imperial Beach, along with San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Marin Counties, are attempting the same gambit, based on the same ideologically driven pseudo-science. Yet New Yorkers should take note: as Wall Street Journal columnist Andrew Scurria explains, Exxon is flipping the script on this political hackery, “highlighting past bond disclosures in which its government critics suggested they couldn’t predict whether and when sea levels would rise.” In fact, “The company filed court papers in Texas on Monday seeking to force government officials to answer questions under oath about those statements.”

Columnist Katy Grimes illuminates the implications, writing, “These greedy municipal cheaters are now caught between two significant, self-imposed frauds: Either their lawsuits are fraudulent, or their bond offerings are.”

Scurria cites San Francisco as an example of a city trying to have it both ways, noting that the lawsuit it filed spoke to “imminent risk of catastrophic storm surge flooding,” while a general obligation bond offering made last year stated the city “is unable to predict whether sea-level or rise or other impacts of climate change … will occur.”

Santa Cruz County was equally hypocritical. In its lawsuit it insisted it has been experiencing more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves and wildfires, while facing a 98% chance of a “devastating three-foot flood — by 2050. Yet last year’s bond offering cited as risk factors "unpredictable climatic conditions, such as flood, droughts and destructive storms.”

Exxon believes these contradictions constitute fraud. “Each of the municipalities warned that imminent sea level rise presented a substantial threat to its jurisdiction and laid blame for this purported injury at the feet of energy companies,” Exxon stated. “Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings.”

Nonetheless, these progressive fraudsters have their advocates. CNN columnist Jeffrey Sachs embraces the typically tiresome “evil corporation” stance, insisting these companies “have known for decades that their product is dangerous for the planet, but they relentlessly hid the evidence, stoking confusion rather than solutions,” he writes with regard to New York’s “bold” bid for “climate safety and justice.” “Through individual company efforts to support climate denialism and confusion, and through relentless and reckless lobbying by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, the companies launched a full-blown assault on climate science to stop or delay the shift to renewable energy.”

Sachs also insists fossil fuels are entirely unnecessary: “New York can go green and electric by midcentury through electric vehicles, electricity-powered public transit, and electric heat pumps for buildings, powered by electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectric power.”

In a better world, these fossil fuel companies would call Sachs’ and his ecofascist allies’ bluff. Instead of abiding by New York City’s “road map” of reducing global warming emissions as much as 80% by 2050, or California’s 2006 legislation calling for the same reduction (a target one study concluded the state would “badly miss” only seven years later), perhaps these “climate destroyers” might voluntarily agree to stop selling their products in both places far earlier. Perhaps as early as five years from now, or sooner. After all, if global warming is as critical an issue as these leftist politicians make it out to be, it only seems right to combat it as quickly as possible. Make it incumbent on those same politicians, many of whom use “shakedown lawsuits against certain politically incorrect industries and businesses, designed to force acquiescence to leftist political policies” as Grimes puts it, to explain to the public why ruining a state’s economy in California, or undermining New York City’s pension funding, is a small price to pay for “settled science” that is anything but.

One might hazard a guess that even the most progressive New Yorkers, already reeling from a subway system in a state of emergency, or their equally progressive Californian counterparts, facing the financial collapse of Gov. Jerry Brown’s beloved “bullet train,” might be less than enthused by the consequences of such zealotry, such as skyrocketing gas prices — while gas still remains available. They might even decide it’s time for the progressive political class to “walk the global warming walk” — literally — as opposed to riding around in large carbon-spewing vehicles, or living in energy-consuming residences far larger than those of their constituents.

“The idea that oil companies might sue public servants personally in an attempt to intimidate them from protecting their communities and environment is abhorrent but consistent with their prior behavior,” San Mateo County counsel John Beiers said. “We will not be intimidated.”

One suspects that the companies who still provide Americans with the overwhelming majority of their energy needs won’t be intimidated either.

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