IN LANDMARK DECISION AGAINST BUSH ADMINISTRATION, FEDERAL COURT RECOGNIZES HARM CAUSED BY GLOBAL WARMING
Lawsuit by Environmental Groups and Cities Goes Forward
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled yesterday against the Bush Administration and allowed a groundbreaking global warming lawsuit to proceed. The landmark decision is the first time that a federal court has specifically granted legal standing for a lawsuit exclusively alleging injury from global warming and challenging the federal government’s failure to evaluate the impacts of its actions on the Earth’s climate and U.S. citizens.
The judge’s decision can be read at http://www.climatelawsuit.org
The case, filed in August 2002 by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and four cities, charges that the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and the Oversees Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) have provided financial assistance to oil and other fossil fuel projects without first evaluating the projects’ global warming impacts to the United States. The cities of Oakland, Arcata and Santa Monica, Calif. and Boulder, Colo. are parties to the suit.
The judge concluded that the plaintiffs’ “evidence is sufficient to demonstrate it is reasonably probable that emissions from projects supported by OPIC and Ex-Im . . . will threaten Plaintiffs’ concrete interests.”
The judge also highlighted evidence demonstrating that:
“projects supported by OPIC and Ex-Im are directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 1,911 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane emissions annually, which equals nearly eight percent of the world’s emissions and is equivalent to one third of the total carbon emissions from the United States in 2003.”
“This ruling is a wake up call for the federal government to tackle the growing environmental and human impacts of global warming,” said Norman L. Dean, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth.
”This case once again highlights the fact that global warming pollution doesn’t recognize political borders,” said Kert Davies, Research Director of Greenpeace. “The judge acknowledged that these taxpayer-funded projects in other countries have impact back home in the United States.”
“Tragically, the federal government is violating federal law, which requires an assessment of cumulative impacts. This injures the citizens of Oakland, and every person in this country. We’ll fight as long as it takes to get federal law properly enforced,” said Jerry Brown, Mayor of the City of Oakland.
Plaintiffs and global warming experts available for comment through the following contacts:
Attorney: Ron Shems or Geoff Hand, (802) 860-1003
Friends of the Earth: David Waskow, (202) 222-0716
Greenpeace: Nancy Hwa, (202) 319-2432 or Kert Davies, (202) 413-8515