Katrina Victims Can Now Sue Over AGW

You knew it had to come sooner or later

For years, leading plaintiffs’ lawyers have promised a legal assault on industrial America for contributing to global warming.

So far, the trial bar has had limited success. The hurdles to such suits are pretty obvious: How do you apportion fault and link particular plaintiffs’ injuries to the pollution emitted by a particular group of defendants?

Today, though, plaintiffs’ lawyers may be a gloating a bit, after a favorable ruling Friday from the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, which is regarded as one of the more conservative circuit courts in the country. Here’s a link to the ruling.

The suit was brought by landowners in Mississippi, who claim that oil and coal companies emitted greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming that, in turn, caused a rise in sea levels, adding to Hurricane Katrina’s ferocity. (See photo of Bay St. Louis, Miss., after the storm.)

For a nice overview of the ruling, and its significance in the climate change battle, check out this blog post by J. Russell Jackson, a Skadden Arps partner who specializes in mass tort litigation. The post likens the Katrina plaintiffs’ claims, which set out a chain of causation, to the litigation equivalent of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

At first blush, this looks like just another meaningless and hysterical law suit, but, think about this for a moment. The plaintiffs are going to have to provide actual, factual, relevant, and meaningful evidence, and actually debate the merits of man made global warming in the public eye. The defense will be able to provide relevant, factual, and meaningful evidence, such as the “no warming in the last 10 years” information, all in the public eye. If the climahysteric plaintiffs lose, this could be a major slap in the face for the AGW movement.

Al Gore has been challenged to debate after debate after debate, yet, refuses to engage in one. The Washington Posts’ Andrew Freeman chickened out on a debate with Climate Depot’s Marc Morano. The US Chamber of Commerce called for a climate trial, and, rather than anyone taking them up on it, they were demonized. Lord Monckton has offered to debate any climate alarmist, and none will take him on. Perhaps this trial will shed some reality on the situation, and finally put to rest the notion of anthropogenic climate change. Until they bring it back up in a few years, of course.

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