Judge tosses global warming lawsuit
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge on Monday tossed out a lawsuit filed by California that sought to hold the world’s six largest automakers accountable for their contribution to global warming.In its lawsuit filed last year, California blamed the auto industry for millions of dollars it expects to spend on repairing damage from global-warming induced floods and other natural disasters.But District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco handed California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s environmental crusade a stinging rebuke when he ruled it was impossible to determine to what extent automakers are responsible for global-warming damages in California.The judge also ruled that keeping the lawsuit alive would threaten the country’s foreign policy position.Jenkins said it’s up to lawmakers, rather than judges, to determine how responsible automakers are for global warming problems.The state sued Chrysler Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and the U.S. subsidiaries of Japan’s biggest manufacturers, Honda North America, Nissan North America and Toyota Motor North America.Separately, the automakers are challenging a California law in federal court that requires them to reduce vehicle carbon emissions by 2009.A federal judge in Vermont recently rejected the industry’s position that only the federal government can make such demands in upholding that state’s nearly identical law.
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