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California and the West

Carmakers fight warming suit

March 07, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The world's six largest automakers Tuesday asked a judge to toss out a novel federal lawsuit filed by California that seeks untold millions for future damage caused to the state by global warming.

In its lawsuit filed in September, California blamed the auto industry for millions of dollars it expected to spend on repairing damage from global-warming induced floods and other natural disasters.

The automakers' attorney, Ted Boutrous, argued that global warming was an international issue that needed to be addressed jointly by the world's politicians. Boutrous said it was impossible for California to show precisely what damage automakers have done to the state when there are myriad sources of carbon dioxide emissions.

"This isn't just the auto industry," Boutrous told U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins. "The auto industry is just a small fraction of the participants."

Jenkins, too, appeared concerned with how a court could decide a damage award that would accurately reflect what -- if any -- damage global warming had solely on California while also pinpointing the auto industry's exact liability.

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