Wednesday

California Sues Auto Companies over Global Warming

California is taking the global warming fight straight to the tailpipe!

Talk about creative government lawyering, for the first time a state is trying to hold car makers liable for the greenhouse gases that scientists believe are warming up the atmosphere and damaging the environment.

"Global warming is causing significant harm to California's environment, economy, agriculture and public health," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a statement announcing the lawsuit his office was filing against GM, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

The lawsuit claims that the carmakers have created a public nuisance by turning out millions of vehicles that emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide. The car companies did not appear to be immediately worried, probably relying in part on a similar New York case that was filed against some utility companies there and was thrown out of court.

California and 11 other states also are involved in a lawsuit that challenges what they call the federal EPA's refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, now awaiting Supreme Court review.

Some people shake their head at California's decades-old struggle to clean up its air by battling Detroit, but it did establish the first air pollution control districts way back in 1947, in an attempt to help rid Los Angeles of the smog that was already being recognized even back then (the word "smog" didn't even exist then; they called it a "gas attack").

This new lawsuit may be political grandstanding by the Governator, but it certainly will at least get Detroit's attention for the moment.

Anything that makes Detroit think about building more fuel efficient and less polluting cars is a step in the right direction. People might put up with a few more defects (lemons?) if they got such good mileage that they couldn't resist it.