Shooting oneself in the foot….

Krazy Kalifornia has decided it’s the evil oil companies that are to blame for global warming:

California’s lawsuit says oil giants downplayed climate change. Here’s what to know

It’s bad enough to suggest that oil companies meeting consumer demand for energy are to blame for global warming (rather than the consumers who actually burned the fossil fuels). But to suggest that no one knew of the impact of fossil fuel use due to the so-called propaganda of the oil companies is ludicrous.

I first heard of the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change in the 1958 Frank Capra produced Bell System Science Series film, “The Unchained Goddess” – a film that many of us saw in primary school (I saw it in sixth grade). This film made clear – more than 6 decades ago – that continued CO2 emissions due to the use of fossil fuels would lead to global warming. So, in short, even school children knew by 1958 that fossil fuel use would lead to global warming. To claim ignorance with a straight face now is insulting to sixth graders everywhere.

The truth is that the people simply didn’t care. They insisted on personal automobiles, air conditioning, and cheap power to operate them. It’s the consumer and their demands for energy that have driven fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, even though they knew – or should have known – its long-term impact. Consumers are the ones to blame – not the oil companies.

Finally, any legal award against the fossil fuel companies will not result in a loss for the oil companies – even though that’s how climate change activists and politicians will present it to the voter. In truth the energy companies will simply be forced to charge substantially more for their products going forward, passing the costs of litigation and claims onto the poor consumer – who still needs the energy to power their Hummer for the occasional grocery run, or to condition their condo down to a crisp 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer heat. An award against the oil companies is really an award against your own pocketbook – no matter how loudly politicians cry otherwise.

The only real positive impact of such an award (from a climate perspective) is that the resulting increased cost of fossil fuels will drive a downturn in use, reducing carbon emissions (at least locally;  as if China – the world’s largest CO2 emitter – will give a damn…). However, the increased energy costs will disparately impact low-income users in the U.S., requiring additional government interference (i.e.: wealth redistribution systems) to resolve.

California politicians are wasting taxpayer funds to litigate a case that – even if they win – will only cost the average voter even more money, all while having a negligible impact on global CO2 emissions.

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