Landmark legal case: California sues automobile companies for climate change damage
A legal case filed on Septemebr 20 by the State of California against six major car companies asking “monetary compensation” for climate change damage has been welcomed by the Climate Justice Programme  and Friends of the Earth International .
20 September 2006
Climate Justice Programme and Friends of the Earth International
Roda Verheyen, co-Director of the Climate Justice Programme said:
“This was a case waiting to happen. It is the most significant piece of climate change litigation that has ever been brought. It shows that those who suffer damage from climate change can seek compensation in the courts. More of these cases will happen until governments and companies make the deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that the planet needs. Car makers should realise that they cannot continue business-as-usual and realise high profits while destroying the climate by selling high-consumption engines.”
Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International’s climate change coordinator, said:
“We are delighted that California’s Attorney General is taking legal action against these auto manufacturers. For far too long companies like these have failed to take appropriate action to curb the environmental damage their activities cause. Climate Change is the biggest threat the planet faces. It’s time industry and government across the world got serious about tackling it.
“The US is the world’s biggest polluter. The Bush Administration must face up to its global responsibilities. It can start by backing this legal challenge.”
This case has been brought by the State of California on behalf of the People of California against General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
For more information contact:
For further detailed information see the press release by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California, Department of Justice, http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1338
The Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Ken Alex is available for comments +1 510 622 2137
COMMENTS can be obtained from:
Roda Verheyen, Climate Justice Programme (Germany) Mob. + 49 179 465 2979
Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International (In London) Tel. + 44 20 7566 1723 Mob. + 44 7811 283 641
David Waskow, Friends of the Earth US (Washington D.C.) Mobile +1 (202) 492-4660
NOTES TO EDITORS
 The Climate Justice Programme is an initiative hosted by Friends of the Earth International. It aims to encourage and support the enforcement of the law internationally to combat climate change. Over 70 organisations and lawyers are signatories to its Statement of Support, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF and organizations based in developing countries. This legal action is about the twentieth case brought around the world by different bodies, organisations and individuals over the last few years to combat climate change. More information on these initiatives, under domestic and international legal rules, can be found via http://www.climatelaw.org
 Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) groups around the world have been in the vanguard of successful climate change litigation.
In the US, Friends of the Earth – US brought a landmark climate change case against the US export credit agencies in 2002, and in August 2005 obtained standing to sue for the first time ever in a US court over climate change impacts: climatelawsuit.org .
Friends of the Earth-US is also an appellant in the case that the US Supreme Court will hear concerning regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant: www.icta.org
In Germany, Bund (FOE Germany) together with Germanwatch brought a successful action to require the German government to disclose details of the contribution of its export credits to climate change: www.climatelaw.org/media/ Germany
In Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action (FOE Nigeria) has been supporting communities litigating to stop gas flaring, obtaining a successful judgment in November 2005 against Shell due to gross human rights violations: http://www.climatelaw.org/media/gas.flaring.suit.nov2005
Contact: Chima Williams, Environmental Rights Action
+ 234 80 388 59477, or + 234 80 236 49890
In Argentina, after the 2003 Santa Fe floods killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars of damage, FOE Argentina successfully used Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to reveal that infrastructure changes needed to protect people had been drawn up but not acted upon by the authorities. Contacts: Roque Pedace, FOE Argentina (email@example.com) Anna Petra Roge de Marzolini, lawyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At UNESCO, Pro Public (FOE Nepal) has led a petition to the World Heritage Committee to add Mount Everest to the List of World Heritage in Danger because of climate change, resulting in the Committee adopting a world heritage and climate change strategy in July 2006: http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/262 Contact: Prakash Sharma, Pro Public, Nepal + 9771