What’s Up with Chevron?

This post is outside of my standard dissection of the origins of the smear of skeptic climate scientists; the items I’ll be pointing out here today have no readily discernible connection with the ‘coal/oil corporate-paid lying shill scientists’ accusation. However, the question “What’s Up with Chevron?” as it pertains to that company’s action right before and during the recent ‘global warming tutorial courtroom hearing’ might still be worthwhile for objective reporters to ask, in light of the sheer worthlessness of the ‘coal/oil-paid lying shill scientists’ accusation, and the easily found abundance of science-based material questioning the ‘certainty’ of the idea about catastrophic man-caused global warming.

As ever, I leave the debate of pure science details to the science experts. I’m not a climate scientist. I’m not a lawyer, either, but that didn’t prevent me from being bewildered by the lawsuit maneuver reported in the LA Times‘s February 8, 2018 “Chevron fights California cities’ climate-change lawsuits with ‘creative lawyering’” news item, regarding Chevron’s action in the San Fransisco / Oakland global warming cases. To quote from the article:

If Chevron Corp. has caused climate change and needs to pay for its damage, so should pretty much every company that has ever explored for oil and gas near North America, as well as manufacturers of cars and equipment that burn fuel, plus consumers.

That’s Chevron’s response to lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland, blaming “the nuisance of global warming” on decades of fossil fuel production. So Chevron turned around and sued Oslo-based Statoil, calling it “one of many” oil producers that should help foot the bill if the industry is found liable ….

Adding foreign companies to the litigation is a tactical maneuver to keep the dispute out of state court, where the cities have more favorable prospects, and force it into federal court, said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for the environmental law group Our Children’s Trust, which isn’t involved in the case.

Why is there any need whatsoever for such a maneuver? Chevron and the other lawsuit defendants stand accused of knowing the science is settled but allegedly chose to mislead the public to the contrary. Surely Chevron’s people could argue that neither they nor their accusers have the science expertise authority to say what is settled, and even if that aspect of the case is not discussed, it’s up to the plaintiffs to prove that Chevron conspired to act dishonestly about the matter.

As we saw in the March 21 courtroom tutorial hearing, the judge was not impressed with one of the main bits of accusatory evidence about the ‘conspiracy,’ and the one Chevron attorney speaking at the hearing, Theodore Boutrous, had never seen the plaintiffs’ ‘conspiracy evidence’ before — which could actually undermine other lawsuits against energy companies.

Why didn’t Chevron go on the offense about this aspect of the case from the start?

Consider this comparison: if you ran a giant food company which produced a particular product for over a hundred years with no basic complaint against it beyond it not being a staple of a standard daily meal diet, and you found yourself accused in just the last 20 years of both knowing it was cancer-causing and paying dietitian experts to tell the public otherwise — despite the lack of irrefutable evidence of its harm and the total lack of credible evidence that you paid ‘shill experts’ to lie on your behalf — why would you suddenly capitulate to arguments against your product while not raising any concern about the corruption accusation hurled at you?

Perhaps a contributing part of this strange Chevron situation is found in who one of the other lawyers for Chevron is. From a Sacramento Bee article just one day before the Oakland judge’s tutorial hearing, it says the following:

…Lawyers for Chevron, one of the defendants in the case, say the company accepts the international consensus that human activities are a main driver of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the resulting warming.

“On Wednesday, Chevron will not be engaging in a debate on climate change science,” said Avi Garbow, a lawyer for the oil company and former general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Instead, Chevron will offer Alsup “a neutral assessment of the science,” he said.

Specifically, the Obama-era EPA. About which, there’s an assortment of problems:

Garbow spoke on a number of issues, but the EPA’s renewed and increased commitment to environmental justice emerged as a clear priority.

On August 7, 2013, Avi S. Garbow was sworn in as General Counsel for the United States Environmental Protection Agency ….

From 1992 to 1996, he served in EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance …..

  • ’92-’96 was Bill Clinton’s first term administration …. the one with Al Gore serving as Vice President.
  • Then there is Garbow’s Facebook page Friends list. None of the ‘usual suspects’ from my files jumps out, but he does still have several current and former EPA FB Friends ……. who are probably not likely to be especially friendly with current EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s positions. Take Seth Oster, for example, the person in my screencaptured photo alerting Lisa “Richard Windsor” Jackson and Garbow about the upcoming NYT article. In a 2013 Washington Examiner report about the EPA email scandal, he’s identified as “a senior advisor to Jackson.” In a 2012 Facebook post, Oster said the PBS Frontline program “Climate of Doubt” (which I detailed as besieged with bias problems) was “worth watching.”

So, with friends like that and an unmistakably pro-global warming position, why on Earth would Avi Garbow go to work for one of the sworn enemies of enviro-activists, a planet-wrecking fossil fuel company? Perhaps a hint is seen in the internet search results for his name combined with the name of his company right before the March 21 Oakland courtroom tutorial hearing. First, there’s the number of results overall, and second, all of the stories are about Chevron admitting global warming is man-caused, and none contain vicious portrayals of Garbow. By way of example, the far-left website CleanTechnica went out of its way to note Garbow’s pro-global warming work history, while a lowly commenter took it upon himself to suggest Garbow was an instrument of corporate-paid evil …. with an entertaining wish:

… i would love to see a hard hitting expose on how he could do such a thing; … Did he give any breaks to this company he was tasked with regulating who know he works for?

if only he would go turncoat on this company and send documents to media proving their decades of lies

Perhaps another hint is seen in Garbow’s prophecy remark quoted by US News & World Report about the future of the global warming issue, which possibly portended the direction he thought he might take, post-Obama:

“This does not feel like we’re winding down – in many ways it’s the opposite,” Avi Garbow, general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency, said in an interview in the spring. When it comes to litigation challenging climate rules under Obama, “the lawyers are going to be the ones to turn out the light.”

Is it actually Chevron turning out the ‘fossil fuel industry denial light’ about the certainty of man-caused global warming, or is it one solitary unmistakably pro-global warming lawyer nudging an entire company into the most inexplicable kind of politically correct appeasement to enviro-activists?

Skeptic climate scientist Dr Tim Ball explored the overall appeasement problem at this April 5, 2018 WUWT guest post. My focus is still on the origins and people surrounding the smear of scientists like him and others, but the least I can do in this situation is suggest that genuine objective reporters might uncover a huge story by asking why Chevron appears to be bizarrely snatching Defeat from the jaws of Victory when they could be instead vehemently questioning easily found problems surrounding IPCC climate reports while also demanding their accusers to produce any evidence which actually proves the fossil fuel industry conspired to withhold the truth.