California Attorney General Bill Lockyer pegged current damages at ``tens of millions of dollars.'' He said the amount could grow as the lawsuit fight continues over time.
``Money is being spent in our regulatory system preparing for small disruptions in the water supply due to the smaller snow pack, saltwater intrusion of the water supply, beach erosion,'' Lockyer said in an interview Wednesday. ``There is a lot of spending that is already ongoing that we are claiming. The point is, taxpayers shouldn't pay for those damages, the industry should.''
So, the questions are, is it the cars which cause global warming, or the people who drive them, and can the automakers even be reasonably blamed for the effects of the proper, legal use of their product to begin with?
According to Lockyer, automobiles account for 30% of carbon dioxide emissions in the air in California, while nationwide, they account for 20%. But that other 70% becomes very tricky. An average cow produces half of the carbon dioxide emissions of the average car. Are meat and dairy consumers or farmers contributing to the "public nuisance" of global warming? What about population? In one year, the average person produces 5% of the carbon dioxide emissions of an automobile. Since surely people themselves are not a public nuisance, does this justify the state placing legal limits on reproduction?
And of course, this ought to go without saying, but what about the consumers of these automobiles? Aren't they responsible for using a product that contributes to the detriment of the entire community? Is it fair to blame GM and not consumers when GM marketed an electric car in California, only to see it not sell? Is it fair to blame Ford when millions of residents of Los Angeles have access to mass transit yet choose to sit on the 405?
I'm on record here as being opposed to an increase in the gasoline tax. But I'd support that long before I supported this. Can anyone explain to me how this isn't the most frivolous lawsuit imaginable?