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California Sues Automakers for Global Warming Costs to Taxpayers

by: NRDC    21 September 2006

OAKLAND, CA (September 20, 2006)-- Today California's Attorney General filed a suit against the six top American and Japanese auto manufacturers, saying pollution from their vehicles has contributed to global warming, and cost state taxpayers millions of dollars to address current and future impacts.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and names as defendants: Chrysler Motors Corporation, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor North America, Honda North America, and Nissan North America.

"Industries responsible for the pollution that drives global warming should expect more suits like this until we have effective national legislation to stop global warming," said David Doniger, Policy Director for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) Climate Center, and a legal expert on global warming litigation.

Last year California adopted new clean car standards that will require a 30 percent reduction in global warming emissions from vehicles by 2016. Ten other states have also adopted the standards, and together with California represent one-third of the U.S. car market. The auto industry has challenged this law in court. A federal judge in Fresno, California, held a hearing last Friday on motions to dismiss that lawsuit, and a decision is expected soon.

Cost-effective technologies are already available that would cut heat-trapping pollution from cars and light trucks of all sizes at a savings for vehicle owners. Emissions can be cut significantly with advanced solutions including hybrid systems, better engine and transmission designs, slicker aerodynamics, and lower resistance tires.