California takes legal action against car makers

The state of California is taking legal action against six leading car makers for their contribution to global warming.

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In what is thought to be the first lawsuit of this kind, the complaint targets General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and the North American arms of Daimler Chrysler, Honda and Nissan. It seeks monetary damages for past and ongoing contributions to global warming, and holds the companies responsible for future damages to California.

The lawsuit said damage affecting snowfall, beach erosion, ozone pollution, animals and fish “have caused the people to suffer billions of dollars in damages”.

Analysts say the lawsuit may be a tactical manoeuvre to attack the effectiveness of the legal action currently being taken by car companies in California against rules adopted in 2004 requiring them to cut tailpipe emissions from cars and lorries.

California seems to be driving the pace of environmental awareness in America. In early September, the state announced an agreement between the Democrat-controlled legislature and the Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cut CO2 emissions by a quarter by 2020, returning them to the equivalent of 1990 levels. The agreement includes incentives to encourage businesses to reach the targets.

This news story is taken from the October 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.