Plaintiff lawyers have tried various ways to fit global warming into conventional tort law, where they can construct a case showing industry executives were aware of the threat of CO2 emissions and did nothing about it. That would allow them to make the argument that the industry exposed others to “unreasonable” risks. The evidence would be memos and other material showing they were aware of scientific links between CO2 and global warming, regardless of whether they believed them, much as the states pursued lawsuits against the tobacco industry by uncovering evidence executives were aware of research showing links to cancer and addiction.
Guirina wasn’t buying it, saying global warming was too complex an issue to ask a court to decide: “The plaintiffs are asking the Court, or more specifically a jury, to determine without the benefit of legislative or administrative regulation, whether the defendants’ emissions are `reasonable,’” he said.
The case is Comer v. Murphy Oil.