2006/09/21

Kvatch Kvetches - For Once It's Not the Automakers' Fault

Normally your author would be all over a suit trying to recover damages from a major industry on behalf of the state's residents. But in the case of the State of California v. [insert your favorite big automaker here], I just can't get on board.

Here's the deal, Granola-land is suing Big Auto, alleging that because cars pollute, contribute to global warming etcetera--and in doing so harm the economy, the public health, and the state's environment--the state is entitled to damages under Federal and State common law. In fact the MSM has gone so far as to compare this suit to the pioneering multi-state suit against the Tobacco manufacturers. There's only one problem...this is all a bunch of HORSE SH*T!

First off Big Tobacco didn't just lie to the public about the risks of smoking. They produced fake research to support their position, deceptively marketed their products to minors, and engaged in a multi-decade campaign to mislead the public and government about their product.

There is no such deception on the part of Big Auto. Even if it weren't basic common sense that buying a bigger, lower gas mileage, higher emissions auto contributes to global warming, then the EPA would be there to tell you exactly what-the-f*ck you're doing. Those measurements are online. They're on the god-damned sticker that they put on the frickin' windshield. The decision to pollute more is entirely in the hands of John Q. Public. You can buy a SUV...or not. The Prius is there if you want it. You can own a car...or not. Public transit is there if you want to take it. Mileage and emissions stats are there for you to read...or not.

If AG Lockyer wants to sue someone, he should sue California's 40,000,000 drivers. Damn! I sound like some kind of Libertarian. Don't worry... It won't last.

18 Comments:

Hmm. He isn't up for re-election, is he?
I agree, if the car-buying public was interested in buying high mileage low emission cars and weren't able to because they weren't being offered, that'd be another story. But why not go at the core cause of the pollution, the petroleumm industry?
It seems strange that California's businesses are all 100% polution free. They must be - none of them are in the suit! Sometimes, Cali land comes up with a real peach - this one's a fruitcake!
No, he isn't running. Jerry Brown is running against some fascist. The ads are getting ugly.

We go a little off the rails from time to time but I'd rather live here than in Kansas or Florida.
These type of cases are also often used as excuses for some diabolical tort reform. Is that blaming the victim?
They're all on drugs...obviously!
I agree with you -- it's a dumb basis for a suit. Now, if they're in cahoots with Big Oil to suppress emerging technology that could address pollution, etc., that would be a different story. I haven't seen "Who Killed the Electric Car" yet, but it's on my list.
Will I get money if they win the lawsuit?
Betty and Lew make an interesting point here that I'd not considered. What about collusion between Big Oil and Big Auto? From reading the material on the case, this doesn't seem to be where Lockyer is going. If it were, then I'd be expecting racketeering or antitrust charges. Then the case would have a much greater resemblence to the Tobacco suit.

...and PT...nope, bet you don't get a dime.
Betty Cracker has a good point about the electric car. I'm surprised the former owners - and potential owners - of the electric car GM pulled from the market haven't sued GM for the return of the cars. Yes, I realize the cars were destroyed, but they had an opportunity to send us in a new direction that, at least for the fuel, did not rely on fossil fuels. Like you, I blame the drivers. Mass transportation should be the way to go. I heard some drivers even cheated on the carpool only lanes by using blow up dolls as their passenger. The problem with California - especially Southern California (and other parts of the country) - is the fact that in many cases, the vehicle is a status symbol. The bigger, the faster, the more flashy, the more fuel consumption, the better. Proverbs has a great saying for this, "Pride goeth before the fall".

BTW, Kvatch, I finally got around to adding you to my blogroll.
Sue the oil companies and the Bad-Ministration for keeping America on the tit of gasoline.

Why sue automakers that are capable of producing cars (AND DO) that run on synthetic fuels that are sugar based instead of OIL.

Check out Brazil. They are energy independent because of sugar cane, and AMERICAN car companies that build highly efficient HYBRID vehicles.

We have the technology not to pollute, but our government and the oil lobby don't have the desire! Start there CA.
what they should be spending money on is alternative fule stations in california...not stupid lawsuits

also, how about not allowing any big gas guzzling cars into california??

geeze, it's just some lawyer trying to make aname for himself...sigh

oh, that's one thing they could outlaw that would save big money - lawyers!!
These type of cases are also often used as excuses for some diabolical tort reform.

That's just what I was thinking, station agent. But I agree...the only way I see this lawsuit as having merit would be if there was proof that Big Oil and Big Auto are/were in collusion.
Robert, as most of my readers will tell you, I'm a crank on the subject of mass transit. I usually come up with multiple posts per month on the subject of mass transit, pollution, or the evils of car ownership. So...you and I are probably on the same page. The root of the problem is drivers and a perception that having a car is a necessity.

And BTW, I reciprocated for your blog over here.
Gary, AZG...right on! Lockyer's gonna loose this one, and we can't afford to waste the time.

Pam, I think that there probably is collusion going on, but it'll be a bitch to prove, and even if there was evidence out there, Big Auto will just fire back with "...but the EPA monitors us up the wazoo!"
I agree Kvatch. Dumb lawsuit and Betty does ask a very interesting question.
I guess it depends how much the carmakers sponsored the research arguing against the human factor in global warming (and, earlier, global warming itself). And of course how much lobbying they did to keep government on the fence on the issue.

It's possible that the car industry had no influence on the US bailing from the Kyoto treaty. But I doubt it.

However, that doesn't mean they did anything wrong, as you point out. The difference with the tobacco case is that Big Tobacco knew the score, and hid it. It will be hard to prove that the car manufacturers were convinced of global warming and the human contribution to it before it became generally accepted.

So I agree with you that the lawsuit is probably frivolous, unless they have some evidence I haven't hear off.

I certainly agree that anyone buying a more fuel-consuming car than they need and can afford, is acting irresponsibly, as is everyone using airconditioning when it's not absolutely essential, and everyone living in a place where airconditioning is absolutely essential.
Libby, Endorendil...it really doesn't matter if they had their hand in the studies cause I don't think that Lockyer is trying to prove any kind of collusion anyway.

I'm expecting this suit to get dispatched quickly.
You're a minority voice on this, but I agree with you. All car owners are culpable, along with power plants, factories, etc. I might also suggest that Lockyer try suing the Bush administration. Bush is the one who turned his back on the Kyoto treaty.

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