Former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore heard much criticism from skeptics of his apocalyptic global warming predictions when he purchased a multi-million condo in San Francisco. After all, if one believes sea-level rises will swallow the coast, the last place to purchase a home would be a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, right?
But if all goes as planned, it will be the federal government and businesses that pay for ‘victims’ of global warming. In draft legislation introduced by Chairman Henry Waxman (D–CA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward Markey (D–MA) of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee,
Self-proclaimed victims of global warming or those who “expect to suffer” from it – from beachfront property owners to asthmatics – for the first time would be able to sue the federal government or private businesses over greenhouse gas emissions under a little-noticed provision slipped into the House climate bill.
Environmentalists say the measure was narrowly crafted to give citizens the unusual standing to sue the U.S. government as a way to force action on curbing emissions. It would allow citizens to seek up to $75,000 in damages from the government each year, but would cap the total amount paid out each year at $1.5 million, committee staff said. It is unclear whether the provision would actually cap damages at $75,000 per person, because the U.S. law referenced does not establish payouts by the government.”
People have sued, and in some cases won, for coffee being too hot, McDonald’s making them fat, and airlines being too cramped. Suing for being a victim of global warming is just as egregious, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if this turns into a lawsuit parade for those seeking damage rewards.
What’s the point of having homeowner’s insurance if you can blame every natural disaster on the government and businesses? Despite the fact that natural disasters are just that, natural, this provision will open doors to lawsuits that should not even exist. Can someone really pinpoint global warming as the primary cause of an asthma attack?
An analysis of the major components of the Waxman-Markey energy bill can be found here. The lawsuit provision, as bad as it is, is only one small part of very bad bill that will cost consumers greatly and significantly reduce economic growth in the United States.