SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge on Monday tossed out a lawsuit filed by California that sought to hold the world’s six largest automakers accountable for their contribution to global warming.
In its lawsuit filed last year, California blamed the auto industry for millions of dollars it expects to spend on repairing damage from global-warming induced floods and other natural disasters.
But District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco handed California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s environmental crusade a stinging rebuke when he ruled that it was impossible to determine to what extent automakers are responsible for global-warming damages in California.
Many culprits, including other industries and even natural sources, are responsible for emitting carbon dioxide.
“The court is left without guidance in determining what is an unreasonable contribution to the sum of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, or in determining who should bear the costs associated with global climate change that admittedly result from multiple sources around the globe,” Jenkins wrote.
The judge also ruled that keeping the lawsuit alive would threaten the country’s foreign policy position.
The Bush administration has consistently opposed any international treaty – including the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – that would impose cuts on greenhouse gases.
“President George W. Bush opposes the protocol because it exempts developing nations who are major emitters, fails to address two major pollutants, and would have a negative economic impact on the United States,” Jenkins wrote. To rule in favor of California would undermine the administration’s position, Jenkins said.