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[greenyes] Climate Disruption - Prospects for Litigation Raised


Climate change: Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of law

PARIS (AFP) May 29, 2005
You are a small island state, watching your low coastline being slowly
gobbled up by rising seas and eroded by storms.
You are an Australian or African farmer whose crops have been turned to dust
by the third successive year of drought.
You are a low-altitude ski resort in the French Alps, staring at yet another
winter of snowless slopes.
You are a British houseowner, whose pretty riverside home became uninsurable
and lost two-thirds of its value after the authorities designated it in a
zone liable to floods.
What do you do?
Well, today, you'd probably just shrug your shoulders and blame bad luck or
the gods of weather. In the future, though, you may prefer to phone your
Governments, oil producers, coal-fired power plants or their corporate
inheritors, even auto companies which make gas-guzzling SUVs -- all are
tempting targets for climate-change lawsuits in the future, says a small but
growing body of legal opinion.
"Litigation on climate-related damage is clearly on the horizon," says
Richard Lord, a senior London attorney in commercial law.
He draws a parallel with lawsuits on tobacco and asbestos that were
initially tossed out of court, but doggedly returned and decades later
resulted in damages in the tens of billions of dollars.
But these sums would no doubt be dwarfed by any ruling that found a
government or corporation deliberately promoted use of a damaging
greenhouse-gas pollutant, was obstructive about cleaning it up or covered up
knowledge about the threat.

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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