Paragraph 67

If you read the wackosphere - not a thing I'd encourage - you'll find many odd things, such as BOOM! Federal Judge Dismisses Claim Of “Big-Oil” Conspiracy To Suppress Global Warming Science. And you'll wonder "WTF? Has Monckers been passing his giant spliff around?"

But it's not quite that. Instead, we find:
MR. BOUTROUS: I'll be really brief, Your Honor. The timeline that I walked through paragraph 67, for example, the Oakland complaint, when I read it it read to me like they were talking about a document that was secret inside knowledge by this organization they were pointing to. Well, it turned out it was a summary of the IPCC report from 1995. It was -- those were quotes from the Power Point deck. So I found it to be a bit misleading, very misleading.
What is para 67? It is from Oakland's submission. They say:
In February 1996, an internal GCC presentation stated that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels over pre-industrial concentrations would occur by 2100 and cause "an average rate of warming [that] would probably be greater than any seen in the past 10,000 years." The presentation noted "potentially irreversible" impacts that could include "significant loss of life." 
 To which the Court replies:
I think Mr. Boutrous is correct. I read that paragraph 67 the same way; that there was a conspiratorial document within the defendants about how they knew good and well that global warming was right around the corner. And I said: "Okay. That's going to be a big thing. I want to see it." Well, it turned out it wasn't quite that. What it was was a slide show that somebody had gone to the IPCC and was reporting on what the IPCC had reported, and that was it. Nothing more. So they were on notice of what in IPCC said from that document, but it's hard to say that they were secretly aware. By that point they knew. Everybody knew everything in the IPCC. So I don't know. I think Mr. Boutrous makes a fair point.
This isn't quite the #Exxonknew nonsense, but it isn't far off. And it is a hint that the Court won't take kindly to being fed fake conspiracies.


* Yet more Exxon drivel


Nick Stokes said...

I wondered - why pick on para 67? It describes an "internal presentation" that was no big deal, being just IPCC. But Oakland don't say (in para 67) it was "secret awareness". Maybe it is the context, which does talk rather ominously about front organisations etc.

Anyway, I thought the lawyer for Oakland, Berman, might clarify it. But the judge, after that remark, said to Berman
"If you want to respond, I'll let you respond. But I don't know if that had as much to do with today, but if he wanted to respond okay."
IOW, he says that he doesn't think it affects the case, and the plaintiff lawyer doesn't need to respond. And he didn't.

William Connolley said...

I agree that this isn't a big deal: WUWT has certainly overplayed it. Oakland might try to explain it, or they might just quietly forget that para, and Chevron might do the same now they've got their point over to the judge. There certainly won't be time to hash over every little thing in detail.

Indeed, I imagine that part of the point of a trial like this - if it does come to trial - is to reduce the points of contention to a few salient points.

Steve Bloom said...

The cities might well have been anticipating that the defense would try to claim some degree of ignorance for that period of time, in which case it made perfect sense to include the paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I tried to post this last night, and it did not go thru, but Steve Bloom appears to be of like mind.

First, I don't think the tutorial hearing was the place for Oakland to counter. I think this is the point of the paragraph:

read paragraph 66. They had a section in their own document which was subsequently deleted. The deleted material indicated problems with their own theories, which, because of the problems, did not refute or provide an alternative to the IPCC's theory of GW.

Meaning, they knew their theories were bullchit and they deleted that admission, and in 67 they are simply establishing that they also knew AGW was potentially dangerous because of their products, and then they continued to act as though their deleted flawed theories, by their own admission, were sound.

William Connolley said...

The WUWT this-blows-#exxonknew version is nonsense, of course. But what you learn from what the judge said, is that the Oakland presentation is potentially misleading. Perhaps that's amenable to Oakland simply correcting that impression. You may well be right that the tutorial wasn't the right place for a counter; maybe it was just Boutrous getting in an easy shot, fully aware that Oakland's folk wouldn't be expecting it, and weren't well enough up on the material to point out what you have.

Para 66: maybe; that's Oakland's interpretation. Another interpretation, of course, is "an internal draft document changed in different draft versions", which would be less exciting. I agree, however, that they knew they didn't have a coherent theory.

Russell Seitz said...

The judge should be thankful he didn't get an amicus brief from Big Glass Reflector Bead


angech said...

Thanks, William. A bit of sanity in troubled times.
As an aside it seems obvious that If the oil companies agree with the IPCC versions as they evolve there is no charge.
They cannot be said to have known anything before the people who were in charge of knowing everything had not come to definite conclusions.
What a waste of money.

David B Benson said...

An estimate of the worldwide emissions of carbon from burning coal, oil and natural gas since, say, 1750.

That is a request to the knowledgeable.

David B Benson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Connolley said...

> there is no charge

Probably a touch over-optimistic. There's still the propaganda charge (although that doesn't seem to be part of the indictment).

David B Benson said...

Doing the calculation correctly, about 545 GtC.

Russell Seitz said...

WUWT has floated Part 3 of Why The Judge Should Have Read Our Brief Instead


William Connolley said...

Let's hope it is the final score then he can stop. Meanwhile, thanks to NS for bothering to read enough to work out what is wrong with it.

Hank Roberts said...

Here ya go:


Hat tip to a commenter in the responses to this WaPo piece written by, oh, some fraidypants:
-------quote follows-----------
Interesting recent study indicating a much higher projection for sea level rise this century, due largely to a big contribution from Antarctic ice sheets:
"A high-end sea level rise probabilistic projection including rapid Antarctic ice sheet mass loss"
"And finally, we accounted for additional uncertainty in the CMIP5 model ensemble projection of global mean surface temperature. For the RCP8.5 scenario, the PDF obtained has a median of 184 cm and a 95% quantile of 292 cm. The large shift of the median is entirely caused by replacing the AR5 median values by new high-end Antarctic estimate..."

Everett F Sargent said...

WAIS collapses in ~130 years (circa 2150) under RCP 8.5 BAU. The paper is a derivative of Deconto & Pollard (2016). The State of California used DP16 (actually Sweet (2017)) in their 2018 SLR report. For SF, it amounts to 6.7 m of SLR with a rate of 86 mm/yr in 2150 which would exceed Meltwater Pulse 1A of 40-60 mm/yr. Ymm/yrMV