Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2006

Julie Teel, Center for Biological Diversity: (619) 224-3400 (office) or (619) 990-2999 (cell)
Kassie Siegel, Center for Biological Diversity: (760) 366-2232 x.302 (office) or (951) 961-7972 (cell)

Species Protection Organization Applauds
California Global Warming Damages Lawsuit

The Center for Biological Diversity commended a landmark lawsuit filed today by the California Attorney General to recover damages from automobile manufacturers who are among the world’s largest contributors to global warming.

“This lawsuit is about accountability and fairness,” said Michael Finkelstein, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Corporations profiting from global warming pollution should be held responsible for the profound damage they are causing. This case is a first step towards achieving that accountability.”

The lawsuit, People of the State of California ex. rel. Bill Lockyer v. General Motors Corporation, et al., C06-05755 EMC (N. D. Cal.) was filed today in U.S. District Court in Oakland and seeks damages from General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, and Nissan. The lawsuit states that these corporations are collectively responsible for 289 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Several of these Defendants and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have also sued to block implementation of California’s Clean Vehicle Law, AB 1493 (2002, Pavley), which would cut greenhouse gas emissions from California vehicles by approximately 27% by 2030.

“Unless we begin immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more, our children will live on a different planet,” said Kassie Siegel, Director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate, Air, and Energy Program. “If we just keep doing what we’re doing, one third of all living things on earth may be committed to extinction by 2050.” The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the government to list the polar bear and other species under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Without immediate greenhouse gas reductions, the polar bear’s summer arctic sea ice habitat may disappear entirely in just a few decades.

Damages to the State of California cited in today’s lawsuit include declines in winter snowpack and disruptions to water storage and delivery systems, required infrastructure changes such as re-building levees protecting the Sacramento Bay-Delta from sea-level rise, millions of dollars spent preparing for the impacts of sea-level rise on California’s over 1,000 miles of coastline, and increased risk of injury or death from dehydration, heatstroke, heart attack, and respiratory problems.

More information relating to global warming, its impacts on biological diversity, and U.S. climate policy is available online at

The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and their habitats.


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