Taking Global Warming Seriously

Over at TomPaine.com, Chris Mooney argues that the fallout from Hurricane Katrina might well act as the catalyst that gets everyone thinking seriously about how to prevent global warming. Here’s hoping he’s right. This bit was interesting, though:

Recently the attorneys general of several progressive-leaning states brought a lawsuit against a group of U.S. electric power companies, trying to hold them responsible for the current and future impacts of global warming on their respective states. The lawsuit has stalled, but it’s just the opening salvo in what could be a flurry of global warming litigation. And as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced, plaintiffs should have an easier time gaining standing in court. “You can’t be contributing to the destruction of the planet’s climate with millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions and not be committing some kind of a tort,” global warming litigator Matt Pawa told me last year. “It’s just impossible.”

That reminds me of the story of Tuvalu, a small island nation in the South Pacific that could literally get washed away and disappear completely if melting ice caps continue to raise the sea levels. Steven Milloy, a “CATO analyst,” had a good chuckle over this bit of litigation in a Fox column last year. But who is Steven Milloy? Why, as Mooney himself reported for Mother Jones last year, he’s a famous global warming “skeptic” who regularly receives money from Exxon for scoffing at the science behind climate change. So this post has come full circle—that’s exciting.