The descent of climate science into the surreal is about to take another comedic slide. A judge has ordered the State of California and a handful of oil companies to present to him on 21 March “a two-part tutorial on the subject of global warming and climate change.”
Why? The cities of San Francisco and Oakland representing California are suing. They claim that British Petroleum and a group of other oil companies have created a “nuisance”. How? By not admitting, or hiding, or fibbing about what they knew about their product’s influence on global warming.
Of course, as we’ll see in a moment, nobody knows how much influence oil sales have on global warming. But the judge says he can learn all he needs to know about these kinds of attributions in court. Over four short hours.
The judge ordered that his first lesson should “trace the history of scientific study of climate change, beginning with scientific inquiry into the formation and melting of the ice ages, periods of historical cooling and warming, smog, ozone, nuclear winter, volcanoes, and global warming.”
Lawyers from California, or whatever experts they pay to be their honest mouthpieces, get one hour. Then oil companies, or their experts, get an hour.
Lesson two “will set forth the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise, and coastal flooding.” Another hour for each side.
It’s anybody’s guess what the judge will make of the information he receives, or how it will play in the remainder of the trial. But given the state of disagreement among the world’s top experts, four hours isn’t enough to do justice to the subject.
Now if anybody tells you he can peg the exact contribution any company has made to global warming, he is either lying or a lunatic, or he is too in love with his slide rule.
The temptation to lie, perhaps by omission, when there is lots and lots and more than lots of money that can be taken from rich oil companies cannot be underestimated. Lunacy is unlikely, but can’t be dismissed, especially if any of the people involved in the trial are convinced the world is doomed unless we give up fossil fuels.
The slide-rule quip must be explained. In order to attribute a change in the climate to click here to read the rest.