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Alaskan Village Sues Over Global Warming

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the quit-pissin-in-our-pool dept.

Earth 670

hightower_40 writes to mention that a small Alaskan village has sued two dozen oil, power, and coal companies, blaming them for contributing to global warming. "Sea ice traditionally protected the community, whose economy is based in part on salmon fishing plus subsistence hunting of whale, seal, walrus, and caribou. But sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm waves and surges that lash coastal areas."

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670 comments

Mistargeted law suit? (5, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576372)

IANAL. It would seem to me that if you are going to sue someone for causing you harm, you would need to sue everyone involved. In this case, that would mean sueing almost everyone in the world. It's not fair to target one small group just because they have money. IANAL.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (2, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576432)

I would start with Al Gore, the amount of hot air and smug that comes from him must have had some effect on the environment.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (4, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576472)

True, but bear in mind that lawsuits like this seem mostly intended not as an actual reparation of damages but to make a large public statement.

Attention whoring, in a way.

So they've already won what they wanted: to get attention for the difficulties that they and their neighbors have been having.

IANAL myself, so take this comment cum grano salis.

It's not "mis-targetted" (5, Interesting)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576576)

They're looking to cash in on the "environmental windfall lottery",

... 390 people ...

... Relocation costs have been estimated at $400 million or more.

Just follow the money.

A million bucks each and they'll go away happy. It doesn't cost a million bucks a head to relocate people, unless you're relocating them to the ISS.

Re:It's not "mis-targetted" (2, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576674)

Relocate them to the moon, it may take 1 billion per head but maybe it will send the message that after these alaskans die of asphixia on the moon that you don't sue over dumb ass shit like this.

Re:It's not "mis-targetted" (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576872)

Relocate them to the moon, it may take 1 billion per head but maybe it will send the message that after these alaskans die of asphixia on the moon that you don't sue over dumb ass shit like this.

I've got an idea [youtube.com] of how we could do this. Say goodbye to Alaska, ladies. You will never return.

Re:It's not "mis-targetted" (3, Interesting)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576838)

Launching them into space does sound like a pretty good plan actually.

simple really .... (5, Funny)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576864)



cost per person to relocate inhabitants = $30,000
cost per person to have lawyers sign moving agreement = $970,000

going to law school and specializing in environmental law .. priceless

Re:It's not "mis-targetted" (4, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576992)

Quick eskimo jokes:

How do you kill an polarbear? Kick him in the icehole....

A baby seal walks into a club....

Um, all I have for now

Try the veal

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (3, Insightful)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576530)

This parallels the "Big Tobacco" cases. The oil companies are the ones who have profited and lied about the side effects of their product.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (4, Insightful)

snarfer (168723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576662)

In fact they're even using some of the same people and organizations that the tobacco compa nies used. "Doubt is our product" is the famous quote from a tobacco memo about their front-groups. They managed to put off a reckoning for decades by making people think that the science about cigarettes causing cancer was not clear.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576878)

This parallels the "Big Tobacco" cases. The oil companies are the ones who have profited and lied about the side effects of their product.
In fact, it is burning coal, not oil, that is the main cause of the CO2 emissions that contribute to the anthropogenic component of global warming.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576944)

Which is probably why coal companies are included in the suit. My apologies for stating "oil & coal companies".

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576548)

It's not fair to target one small group just because they have money. IANAL.
I think the last part answers why you would think the first part. If you were a lawyer it would make perfect sense to sue the small group that has all the money.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576620)

IANAL. It would, but does that hold up in court? I don't know why, but I vaguely recall something about you having to sue all parties directly responsible or you risk the case being thrown out. Though I admit this could all be in my head. IANAL.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576600)

Let's not forget that they have an uphill battle if they want to show intent. It's only been the last few years that global warming's approached a consensus, and that's largely due to the opponents are retiring. There are still credible and good scientists opposing global warming, which is a good thing since opposition helps reveal a theories truth as well as it shows whether it's false. Between the amount of opposition, the number of people involved, and the fact that there's almost no chance that the village doesn't contribute to global warming themselves, I think it's pretty clear they won't win in court.

One suit they might win, however, would be one against the government. The EPA's been slow to react to the science, even under Clinton. There's no way to show that those companies could have prevented global warming, but if the US government had been willing to take a stance a decade ago, real progress could have been made by this point.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576784)

if the US government had been willing to take a stance a decade ago, real progress could have been made by this point.
Trouble is, you can't conclusively prove that either.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576746)

target one small group just because they have money
yes no doubt (I)You Are Not A Lawyer. This is done all the time, you focus on who makes the most profit from the en devour. Thus as CO2 producers, companies that trade in energy would be the primary target. What will interest me is as physical effects of global warming have even more impact on communities how these law suites will progress ie what type of precedent will be set. It will be like the tobacco companies. I fore see these companies being taxed heavily to compensate coastal/polar communities who have been impacted.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (3, Interesting)

pyat (303115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576752)

I'm not a lawyer either, but I had some law lectures during engineering school and one particular comment by the lecturer stuck with me and is quite apposite to your remark.

He said "always follow the money". If someone doesn't have money, or at least insurance, don't waste your time and lawyers' fees suing them. Instead look for the richest parties who can be held responsible for the damage and sue them.

I cannot comment myself on how valid my teacher's comments were, but he at least was a lawyer.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576766)

IANAL. It would seem to me that if you are going to sue someone for causing you harm, you would need to sue everyone involved. In this case, that would mean sueing almost everyone in the world. It's not fair to target one small group just because they have money. IANAL.
It seems to me that it's going to be difficult to assess damages. They're going to have to prove to what degree they contributed to the damage, I'd think... I obviously don't know, but there can't be a statutory damage for Global Warming like the RIAA is trying to pull off on copyright.... Can there?

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576790)

IANA Slashdot Editor but why is this categorized as "Your Rights Online"? IANASE.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576866)

This is one of the most stupid law suits ever. If the planet is getting warmer and where you live isn't suitable any more, MOVE! It's what our ancestors did when the climate changed. Suing anyone over this is beyond dumb, even to make a point. And to think that we had that much to do with it (climate change) is simple hubris. We adapt or we die, this time maybe we lose a little real estate but we get a much larger climactic area to grow crops and rain forest for a while.

Get over this crap and get busy adapting. Nature can't be hurt; it will always repair itself and if one of the required corrections is our extinction, it will happen. Until a disaster hits that wipes out all life simultaneously it will adapt and recover (maybe even then it would recover). We have at least 2 billion years of evidence that this is the case. Tree hugging is irrelevant, global warming is irrelevant, we are irrelevant unless we adapt. Get busy adapting or just continue dieing I don't care which. Just stop the whining!

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576906)

So Erin Brocavich's firm should have sued the people who got sick from the water as well as PG&E?

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576970)

You don't need to sue everyone involved. You can pick your targets. But you can't expect a singled-out target to bear more responsibility than it actually has. If 100 people cause you 1 harm-unit each, and you only sue 1 of them, you can only recover 1% of the damages from that one party.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576980)

It would seem to me that if you are going to sue someone for causing you harm, you would need to sue everyone involved.

Indirectly, they are suing everyone because the costs will be eventually passed on to the consumer anyway. Directly, though, they are bringing the lawsuits against the entities with the greatest level of control over the conduct that is causing the harm.

Suppose a restaurant is dumping it's trash on someone else's property. Ordinarily, the restaurant patrons would not be sued. If the restaurant is entirely privately owned, then the owner might get sued directly but if the restaurant is a limited liability enterprise then either the restaurant itself or possibly it's management team would get sued.

Global warming is trickier because it's not the oil companies or the car companies that are producing the carbon dioxide directly. They are merely facilitating the production of carbon dioxide. It's sort of like the difference between McDonalds employees dumping trash on someone else's property and McDonalds customers dumping trash on someone else's property.

Unfortunately, when it comes to global warming, pretty much everyone is allowed to dump their trash on each other's property.

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

xmuskrat (613243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576986)

If I were them, I'd move to someplace where melting sea ice wasn't an issue. Hmm, somewhere warm and coastal. How about New Orleans?

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577002)

i agree, if everyone that owns a car, truck, aircraft or factory donate a dollar to them then they would be rich, and nobody would be out much and everyone would be happy...

Re:Mistargeted law suit? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577006)

IANAL. It would seem to me that if you are going to sue someone for causing you harm, you would need to sue everyone involved.

So, if your neighbor uses a chainsaw improperly, and a design or manufacturing defect, along with his misuse causes the chainsaw to explode, burning down your house, you can't sue the chainsaw manufacturer for their contribution to your loss without suing the widow of your neighbor? That's plain mean, not to mention that it is not required by any legal standard I'm aware of. You are free to sue whomever you wish, without regard to which entities contributed to your loss. It might be easier to win if you sue them both at the same time (and thus can indicate which caused the varying portions of your loss), but there certainly is, nor should there be, any requirement to sue everyone or no one.

Privatize Profits.... (1, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576374)

Socialize costs.

It's sad to see this kind of thing going forward because there are too many forces arrayed against it for it to actually be successful.

Fucking Eskimo Cocksuckers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576380)

Hey, I've got an idea. I'm going to sue McDonalds and Walmart for turning half the country in to fucking fatasses. This makes it much harder for me to fuck a fit woman.

How much do you think I can get?

Re:Fucking Eskimo Cocksuckers (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576972)

Dude, you've posted to slashdot. No way in hell you're going to collect from McDonalds for not getting laid! BTW, I wrote a journal [slashdot.org] last year that can help you.

Surges That Lash Coastal... (4, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576416)

... coastal what?

Re:Surges That Lash Coastal... (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576624)

It got washed away.

Re:Surges That Lash Coastal... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576732)

... coastal what?

I think that was posted from the village, and it auto-stripped the $%^@#@[NO CARRIER]

tm

Erm (1)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576424)

Let's just hope the trial happens before the village gets flooded...

Re:Erm (4, Informative)

gatzke (2977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576504)


Or at least before we switch back to "Igloo effect" hysteria!!!

http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm [dailytech.com]

I was taught about climate change in middle school from a book that managed to have both cooling and warming in it, so I am always skeptical...

Re:Erm (1)

justechn (821584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576934)

Brilliant. Mod this up.

"The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years."

"Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases."

Re:Erm (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576956)

That's why it's called climate change -- higher temperatures in some places, lower temperatures in others. Ocean currents play a big part, and changing the temperature of the ocean changes the place warm water ends up, so a previously warm place (e.g. western Europe) could get colder, and a previously cold place (e.g. Greenland) warmer.

Yes but... (-1, Flamebait)

bmw (115903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576430)

Isn't global warming just a scam [icecap.us] ? :)

Re:Yes but... (3, Insightful)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576502)

Yes it is http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm [dailytech.com] The same idiots were screaming ice age in the late 70's to early 80's. Further they are using it to proposed government initiatives at a global level. Good bye freedoms and even the pittance of accountability we have now have once the UN (majority tyrants) get control. This is junk science at its worst.

Re:Yes but... (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576508)

Of course. I always value the scientific opinion of the founder of The Weather Channel over the consensus of hundreds of climate scientists [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Yes but... (0)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576614)

You mean this consenus? [heartland.org]

Re:Yes but... (4, Informative)

snarfer (168723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576808)

You are linking to a site that is funded by Exxon, in case you didn't know.

Re:Yes but... (-1, Offtopic)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577026)

If you can't defeat the argument then attack the group making the argument and say they are biased. I love slashdot!

Re:Yes but... (4, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576616)

Of course. I always value the scientific opinion of the founder of The Weather Channel over the consensus of hundreds of climate scientists.
Would believe raw data?

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
That's from HERE [dailytech.com] . They provide a nifty graph to go with it HERE [dailytech.com]

It appears to me that those who said that the SUN was causing global warming due to increased sunspot activity, that has recently subsided, were correct. And all those scientist that claimed it was solely man made were wrong.

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Re:Yes but... (4, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576854)

NASA's GISS just said that 2007 was tied with 1998 for the second-warmest year in the past century.

Their data also shows that I think 8 months of 2007 were warmer than the corresponding months in 2006 - and all months of 2007 were at least as warm as the corresponding months in 2000.

Re: Yes but... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576886)

Would believe raw data?
Not in the absence of competence to interpret it.

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.
Meanwhile both poles are melting faster than anyone feared.

Perhaps you're not aware that climate change doesn't mean a uniform increase of temperature everywhere.

A collection of a dozen anecdotes doesn't mean squat for a global phenomenon.

Re:Yes but... (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576912)

Hey, look at me! I've got a few years worth of data! Now I can make wide reaching conclusions about the work of hundreds of scientists!

Temperature changes are well understood to happen more gradually than a few years. If the next decade would show cooling that still wouldn't mean anything about the long term trend. Short term reversals of some trends can and do happen. A volcano spewed sulfur into the atmosphere? Solar output decreased very slightly? And so on...

This doesn't invalidate the long term warming trend and the science behind global warming, at all.

Re:Yes but... (0, Redundant)

Hellpop (451893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577008)

My inside view of the innards of academic scientific research has shown me that most professional research scientists are actually professional Grant Writers in disguise. They start out meaning well and searching for the truth, but eventually they write whatever they have to and spin things to get the grants they desperately depend on for their livelihood. Many end up so far from what they enjoy doing and what they originally set out to accomplish that they never find their way back.

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576890)

Climate scientists are just modern day alchemists.

Wikidiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576898)

I always value any information put together by legions of idiots with political agendas.

Anyone can write anything in Wikipedia (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576910)

Oh boy, here we go again. The IPCC... [slashdot.org] that political bunch of wankers. Do you guys know how to do anything but proclaim you're right because "everyone" agrees with you? I really love how everyone doesn't actually agree, but anyone who disagrees is automatically crucified for being a blasphemer by the cult of global warmers.

Re:Yes but... (1)

bmw (115903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576916)

Of course. I always value the scientific opinion of the founder of The Weather Channel over the consensus of hundreds of climate scientists.

Maybe you should actually read some of the articles from that site. They do attempt to back up their claims from what I could see. Personally, I haven't formed an opinion either way. I had just stumbled upon the article yesterday and thought it was interesting. Apparently the mods didn't agree with me.

Anyway, the point is that not all scientists agree on this issue so don't be so quick to discount alternative views.

Bunch of idiots! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576438)

The oil companies didn't put the CO2 in the atmosphere. It's the billions of people who drive cars and heat their homes.

So, are the people going to sue themselves?

Who do I cheer for? (0)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576464)

I hate useless civil suits that tie up the legal system, But I hate oil companies. I love an underdog and cheer when they take on a giant...

As a tree hugger I say "woo!" as someone who is going to pay for this in one way or another (read: energy costs) I'm not very happy.

Re:Who do I cheer for? (1)

LRNG_LNX (152143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576554)

Cheer for the oil companies.

1) Global Warming is untrue. (most of those melted ice caps have reformed, no real data beyond the normal climatic cycle, etc.)
2) If drilling were allowed in Alaska and other locations, the price of oil would come down, jobs would be created, there would be more wealth in the economy, we would not be supporting the UAE.
3) No matter how much you dislike an entity, frivolous lawsuits are harmful to everyone.

Re:Who do I cheer for? (1)

snarfer (168723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576748)

OK, look. We know the oil companies are pumping tens of millions into a campaign to make people think that the science is unclear, etc. But we KNOW that. People are PAID to say this stuff.

But there is no doubt about the science. All you have to do is look at a satellite photo and see for yourself that the ice caps are shrinking. Sheesh!

So are you getting paid, or are you just repeating stuff that people who ARE getting paid say? Either way, it doesn't reflect well on you.

Re:Who do I cheer for? (2, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576968)

1) Global Warming is untrue. (most of those melted ice caps have reformed, no real data beyond the normal climatic cycle, etc.)


Bullshit. Global warming is happening. The facts (i.e. temperature readings) show it is. The question is whether the warming is normal, man-made or some combination of both. No, the melted ice caps have not reformed. Take a look at Kilimanjaro, Greenland and the fact there may be a Northwest Passage through the polar ice.

2) If drilling were allowed in Alaska and other locations, the price of oil would come down, jobs would be created, there would be more wealth in the economy, we would not be supporting the UAE.

Double bullshit. The same thing was said when oil drilling was first introducted in Alaska. Know what happened to oil prices? Nothing. Know why? Because the bulk of the oil had high sulphur content and so was shipped to Japan where their environmental laws were more lax than ours were at the time. Very little went to the U.S.

Yes, some jobs would be created but in the grand scheme of things, not enough to make up for the staggering losses to manufacturing jobs that have been experienced in the last ten years, let alone since the Carter administration.

As far as wealth, the vast majority of wealth would go to three populations: the oil companies themselves, the heads of those oil companies and the shareholders of the companies. A small amount would go to the Treasury but certainly not enough to change people's lives, especially with all the tax breaks and credits that oil companies still receive despite there being no need for the breaks.

Ok, so we don't support the UAE. How about Saudi Arabia where they wanted to flog a woman because she was with an unrelated man even though she had been gang raped?

3) No matter how much you dislike an entity, frivolous lawsuits are harmful to everyone.

Finally, something we can agree on though with one minor quibble. The only ones not harmed are the attorneys. They get paid either way.

The funny thing... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576482)

The funny thing is that villagers like these use enormous amounts of fuel and create tremendous pollution (per-capita, anyway) with their snowmobiles and poorly insulated houses. And how many times do you figure the lawyer pushing them into this suit has flown in from Boston?

I do love the part where they're complaining that global warming is keeping them from hunting "whale, seal, walrus, and caribou". Maybe Leonardo diCaprio should make a movie about that!

Re:The funny thing... (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576722)

Yea I was wondering if they used any fossil fuels themselves? Are they taking any money from the State? In Alaska they pay you a reverse tax each year from all the oil that is exported from Alaska.
If so I would say... If you are part the problem then why should you sue?

More about money grubbing lawyers... (5, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576498)

than anything else. I live in Alaska and can tell you the driving force behind this is actually "The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and the Native American Rights Fund -- plus six law firms." The natives in the village use gas-powered vehicles for transportation and (generator) electricity for their homes, suing the people who provide the source for those items.

Shoot, why don't we all climb on board. Oh, wait - I drive a car to work and use natural gas to heat my home, plus electricity to power my net activities...

Re:More about money grubbing lawyers... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576646)

Not just about lawyers though... the people have to be "money grubbing" too. Unless the lawyers are just really good at getting people to want money when they really DON'T want money... or maybe it's that both parties are greedy.

Re:More about money grubbing lawyers... (1)

4d4m (584216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576694)

I'd also think it's also about how these people's town is washing away. As for their houses, and all that - it's us whiteys (Russians, Americans, etc) who ended up forcing this lifestyle on them. Had it not been for us, they'd still be living their native lifestyle, and probably a hell of a lot happier to boot.

Re:More about money grubbing lawyers... (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576880)

You do have to realize the point of technology is to make life, generally, easier, more comfortable, etc. Therefore having their homes heated by "whitey's" tech has led to certain conveniences. Sure people can live without em, but given the choice, would you really want to unless you had to?

And then they're gonna sue Santa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576512)

...to recoup their losses from Christmas.

any sane judge (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576518)

would throw this out. But it's filed in California, maybe it has a chance?

I'm going to sue the Sun! (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576526)

I've been working so hard to warm the planet up, with my CO2 belching truck, but the lack of sunspots has made this year the coldest and snowiest winter since the 1960s....

Re:I'm going to sue the Sun! (0)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576682)

Local weather does not refute a global climate trend.

Global Temperature Record [uea.ac.uk]

Re:I'm going to sue the Sun! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576952)

Interesting, my winter didn't have much snow, only one or two days maybe.

Re: I'm going to sue the Sun! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576976)

I've been working so hard to warm the planet up, with my CO2 belching truck
If you were a *real* redneck you'd have some methane farting cows for support.

I'm going to get in line behind these people (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576532)

so that I can sue for wind damage to my property caused by global warming exacerbation of El Nino winds...

Then, I'm going to sue US automakers for making too many cars with poor pollution standards, followed by litigation against California for not implementing better greenhouse gas controls, and finally a class action against the Bush administration for not forcing people to curb greenhouse gas emissions upon threat of pre-emptive nuclear strikes for non-compliance. Clearly those people need to be bombed because they are wasting precious oil resources to create greenhouse gases.

Is it just me or does anyone else think the warmer climate may have affected more than the villagers are letting on about?

Enjoin the Sun (3, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576540)

I hope they enjoined the Sun as a co-defendant.

The lawsuit invokes the federal common law of public nuisance, and every entity that contributes to the pollution problem harming Kivalina is liable
If anything is substantially responsible for increasing the earth's temperature, it's that nuclear-reactor-in-the-sky.

Re: Enjoin the Sun (-1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576998)

I hope they enjoined the Sun as a co-defendant. ... If anything is substantially responsible for increasing the earth's temperature, it's that nuclear-reactor-in-the-sky.
Are denialists still singing that tune? Scientists - i.e., the people who base their explanations on actual evidence - rejected it years ago.

If you're going to sue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576550)

Why not sue everyone who drives a car then?

"Alaskan Village" (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576552)

The term might mislead some Slashdot readers. Please see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Native_Claims_Settlement_Act [wikipedia.org]

which established:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Native_Regional_Corporations [wikipedia.org]

We're talking about the established tribal "village," which is a legal entity representing a group of natives for purposes of interacting with the Regional Corporations, not the traditional meaning of the word. The easiest comparison would be if you took recognized Native American tribes from the lower 48 and segmented them up into "villages" of roughly the size of a rural town.

Re:"Alaskan Village" (1)

bryce4president (1247134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576936)

Ummm.... like reservations?

nice timing (3, Informative)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576568)

Good (for some values of "good") timing on their part, what with the news that the world is actually cooling [dailytech.com] , including the most snowfall in 50 years in North America, and record levels of Antarctic sea ice.

Here we are, trying to keep our planet warm with a nice, insulating layer of carbon dioxide, and the darn ol' sun has to go and become less active.

Re:nice timing (1)

piemcfly (1232770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576652)

no no no, that's why it is so ingenius.
Now they sue over it getting too warm, and then, once they have relocated to the bahama's, they sue again, because it's getting too cold and the value of their beachfront property has gone down!

Re:nice timing (2, Informative)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576904)

Here's the Hadley Center's global temperature record [uea.ac.uk] . Each of the past 6 years of decreasing solar activity, the waning side of solar cycle 23, have been in the hottest 8 on the 158 year record.

Antarctic sea ice is at record high levels, while Antarctic land-based ice loss speeds up [sciencedaily.com] (full paper [cosis.net] ).

Re:nice timing (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576962)

No, the world is not actually cooling. It just happens that this winter is, for many parts of the world, colder and wetter than normal. As global warming progresses, the climates will continue to change and we will most certainly experience even greater extremes, cold and hot. The overall average temperature, however, is still climbing, it appears, particularly sea temperatures. Sea temperatures are arguably much more important on changing climate than the temperature in Chicago today. Whether or not this rise in sea temperature will disrupt the warming currents that keep northern Europe balmy is unknown. Maybe eventually global warming will cause an ice age. No one knows.

The fact is that Natives in Alaska have had to adapt to changing climates for generations. They successfully weathered the middle ages ice age, and the periods of warm and cold before that. They, like all of us, must adapt or die. Along the way stopping the killing of the earth with CO2 would be helpful too. And polluting our waters and air. As was pointed out these same native groups drive dirty 2-stroke snow mobiles and ATVs (depend on them, in fact), heat their homes with fossil fuels, and have electricity. Perhaps they should start first by making themselves carbon-neutral and energy self-sufficient. Suing gas companies, and winning, will just enrich the villages a bit. It won't do anything to fix the real problems. The new-found wealth in the village will fund the buying of more ATVs, snowmobiles, and other things. Maybe it will allow them to move their villages inland a bit more to escape the rising sea levels. But it won't fix the environment. That will have to start right here in mainland america with the changing of the hearts and minds of the American people.

that is ridiculous (0, Troll)

kevgaxxana (1197617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576580)

they bouhgt into the lie that man contributes to global warming. it has happened naturally over millions of years. the defendants of this case don't contribute one iota to the problem.

Why not just go all the way... (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576606)

and sue the whole world.

Green Alaskan Village? (0)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576628)

Is this Alaskan Village totally eco-friendly, using solar panels, dogsleds and paddled kayaks for all their energy needs? Or do at least some of the villagers consume fossil fuels (either directly by burning them in their gasoline/diesel engines or oil furnaces, or indirectly by consuming electricity generated from coal or buying bananas transported from the tropics on jet planes)? If they do use fossil fuels then they should sue themselves...

IANAL (2, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576666)

I am not a lawyer (yet), but it looks as if the villagers are going to have a hell of a time proving duty and proximate causation. I wonder if this case is anything more than a publicity stunt.

Oil companies should hire SCO's Lawyers (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576672)

and they'll make the lawsuit last long enough till the Alaskan village is fully submerged!

They'll be happy to know the Earth is Cooling (1, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576706)

Re:They'll be happy to know the Earth is Cooling (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576816)

Alternately, they could break out a book on statistics and explain how temperature is noisy at that scale.

Re:They'll be happy to know the Earth is Cooling (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576834)

I'm sure they'll be delighted to know that last year was not only one of the coolest on record, but that the trend was so pronounced as "to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down."[dailytech.com]
So, we're supposed to reject the nigh-universal consensus of climate scientists because a blogger tells us to?

Re:They'll be happy to know the Earth is Cooling (4, Informative)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577022)

This blog post seems to be a denier's primary point today.

Here's the Hadley Center's global temperature record [uea.ac.uk] . Each of the past 6 years of decreasing solar activity, the waning side of solar cycle 23, have been in the hottest 8 on the 158 year record.

Proof? (1)

athdemo (1153305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576726)

Wouldn't they be obligated to prove that any global warming is indeed caused by human activity, and not a natural occurrence?

Global warming? What global warming?? (1)

rfc11fan (922027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576730)

Global warming is something of a controversial subject in some circles (like mine, where this has been one of the coldest winters in a very long time). So won't the plaintiffs have to *PROVE* both that "global warming" is (at least to a significant degree) man-made and that the defendants bear significant culpability for it, in order to win the lawsuit? The outcome could be rather interesting to those debating the global warming topic.

How far back? (3, Funny)

jamesl (106902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576778)

Are they going to sue us back to the last ice age?

Now we see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22576810)

Now we shall see if the man made global warming myth will hold up in court.

Those who live in igloo houses shouldn't throw.... (1)

amorri09 (1134951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576862)

I don't know if it is the same in the US but in Canada the natives are exempt from paying taxes on the gas they use and other controlled goods, and technically have a status different unto itself. I lived in the NWT in Frobisher Bay for four byears, and believe me; Everything is gas powered, My father was RCMP and since the temperature would drop below -50 during the winter the Vehicles that the towns people would use would run 24/7, otherwise they wouldnt get them started again...This means filling them with EMENSE amounts of gasoline, and this is onyl once facet of the lifestyle... These aren't communities where Global Warming adn all the other hot platform topics are discussed in teh same manor and regular light they are here...this is, in comparison, a small rural community who (as has been done time and time again) is being exlpoited.... You can't tell me the motivation of this arguement is to either A)help the environment, or B)seek compensation for an action that has slighted their lifestyle in any particular direct way... Howeevr, you CAN convince me very easliy that the arguement is about money and getting all you can...and was probobly proposed by the law firm representing the village... The exploitation of an indivduals, or a social groups, ignorance is the bigger crime here... -Adam

In other news... Exxon trying to nor pay damages (3, Interesting)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576884)

Exxon is presently trying to get the SCOTUS to overturn $2.5B punitive damages awarded to fishermen and other interests affected adversely by the Valdez spill (interesting story... drunk driver, I mean captain). Anyhow, it is related because punitive damages are weird.. they got $2.5B earlier, the court may reduce it, to what $1.25B? And Exxon wants to pay $0. How much is appropriate?

At least in the oil spill, one defendant is involved, Exxon. In global warming, who is culpable, and to what extent? Who suffered, and what dollar amounts? And what is an appropriate punitive damages number? Adn think of the endless appeals.

In other news... (1, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576964)

Descendants of the former in habitants of Petra [wikipedia.org] are suing for the loss of revenue when their ancestors' city became uninhabitable due to climate change. Defendants in the suit include the Italian Government, citing that two major events under their ancestors' rule were contributing factors in their decline, namely:
  1. The burning of Christian martyrs by Nero
  2. The burning of Rome itself under Nero
  3. The Government of Pompeii for failing to properly mitigate the greenhouse gas footprint of Mount Vesuvius.
They also filed a Friend of the Court brief on behalf of the Clovis populations, pending the location of the culpable party or parties for the meteor [physorg.com] , or Clovis descendants for that matter. Ok, seriously folks... We hear so much about how these "native peoples", what Daniel Quinn in Ishmael called "The Leavers" live in balance with nature. But nature changes, with or without our helf. And change they must... or else. I am neither a Global Warming Nay Sayer, nor DoomSayer. Global warming happens. It's part of nature. WE are part of nature. Get over it. If you have to, move on. Try Houghton, Michigan. You might like it. They have a university there [mtu.edu] where you can learn technical skills to combat global warming (or prove it doesn't exist, I don't care which) And they have a great hockey team.

I wonder how much global warming... (2, Insightful)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576974)

Will be created by clearcutting whole tree farms to make the paper a case of this magnitude requires.

Sound familiar? (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 6 years ago | (#22577044)

If only there was a book that came up with this premise...released in 2004...by a famous author...through HarperCollins... Oh wait. [wikipedia.org]
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