The Cali Global Warming Suit: Really an Unreported 'Request' for a BTU Tax

If you read the lawsuit, you won't get to the gist of what the State of California really wants from the six car companies it sued over their alleged contribution to the state's alleged global-warming problem.

(Aside: part of me would LOOOOOVE for this suit to go forward, so that global warming arguments can be shredded in open court.)

Here is the "relief" the lawsuit (15-page PDF) requests:

The People request that this Court:
1. Hold each defendant jointly and severally liable for creating, contributing to, and
maintaining a public nuisance;
2. Award monetary damages according to proof;
3. Enter a declaratory judgment for such future monetary expenses and damages as may
be incurred by California in connection with the nuisance of global warming;
4. Award attorneys fees;
5. Award costs and expenses; and
6. Award such other relief as this Court deems just and proper.

That's pretty vague. But this BBC article on the suit has this interesting unattributed sentence about what the state is actually after, something I have not seen mentioned in any other article I read on the topic:

State lawyers want any judgement for damages to be ongoing, so that manufacturers will be liable every year.

I was also unable to find any other article making any mention of the state's desire for annual payments in Google News search attempts.

As the headline of this post says, the state of California, unwilling even after the Davis recall to get its costs under control, is attempting to have the courts mandate what is in effect a resurrection of the BTU Tax, that god-awful monstrosity that was proposed early in the Clinton Administration and actually passed in the House of Representatives in 1993 (noted in third paragraph at link), before being nixed in the interest of sanity. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer's lawsuit, if successful, would in effect levy an annual carbon tax on the car companies in an attempt to keep the spendthrift Golden State afloat.

Lockyer must feel that his run for state treasurer is a lock, and he does have a big lead. But if enough Californians think through the implications of what might happen if the suit he just filed is successful, which could include the car companies refusing to sell vehicles in the state if the punishment is too severe, we may yet learn that he has seriously miscalculated.

Cross-posted at

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.