Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations Inc. v. Chevron Corp., et al.

News of this PCFFA lawsuit filing [10/12/20 Author’s addition: the PDF file name changed from “Crab-complaint” to “PCFFA-Complaint”, necessitating a new weblink] came up two weeks ago at Energy in Depth: “Latest Sher Edling Climate Lawsuit Further Exposes Anti-Energy Activist Network.” Others, such as Climate Liability News (CLN: “Commercial Fishermen Sue Fossil Fuel Industry for Climate Impacts“) covered it differently without mentioning any questionable items about the situation. What are the problems with this particular boilerplate lawsuit? Let me count the ways:

First, while it’s amusing that the top three reports about this lawsuit listed at Sher Edling’s Media News page had publication times within two or three hours of the official filing of the lawsuit, such law firms working on cases with international importance probably tip particular reporters who’d write favorably about the cases. Imagine being a local food reporter who narrowly misses out top billing status to a UK newspaper in this situation.

CLN’s report, barely 24 hours — or possibly even less — after the lawsuit was publicly filed may be a result of the CLN organization itself being a Twitter follower of Sher Edling’s Twitter news, along with another principal person behind CLN, Alyssa Johl. But the problems start after this point. Who is the other main person behind CLN? Kert Davies. He isn’t just some reporter at a newspaper or online news site, however. His Climate Files website has an appearance of being created as a source site which these global warming lawsuits can refer to in their court case filings, or at their website pages, and Davies’ efforts to portray skeptic climate scientists as ‘paid shills’ of the fossil fuel industry date all the way back to the time when that accusation gained its first real media traction in the late 1990s.

But wait, there’s more, regarding this specific PCFFA v. Chevron lawsuit and Davies’ connections. The PCFFA organization wasn’t mute on the global warming issue prior to this lawsuit, they’ve actually spoken about the IPCC/Al Gore side of it for years. Among those is their March 2007 “Global Climate Change and the Fishing Industry” page, where their source for the notion that oil companies used Tobacco industry tactics to dupe the public is a Union of Concerned Scientists report. Who was specifically thanked by the UCS in their report? Kert Davies ….. along with Naomi Oreskes / Erik Conway, Peter Frumhoff and James McCarthy.

  • I detailed the problem with these Sher Edling cases citing Oreskes for a particular incredibly hard-to-find document toward the end of my October 12, 2017 blog post, and detailed the collective problems with Oreskes/Conway here and in further pieces linked within that post.
  • Peter Frumhoff is seen as a participant in Oreskes’ 2012 La Jolla workshop which had the goal of brainstorming how to hold energy companies accountable for global warming via lawsuits. Among the other participants were James Hoggan (whose affiliation with Ross Gelbspan is covered here) and Matt Pawa, the lawyer in the other global warming lawsuits who I’ve covered in many posts, and who was an apparent participant in an effort to advance persecution efforts of Exxon along with John Passacantando (a key figure in the epicenter of the smear of skeptic climate scientists) ….. and Kert Davies.
  • James McCarthy is the person who James Hoggan claims gave the idea to Ross Gelbspan that skeptic climate scientists took oil and coal money in exchange for spreading lies about the ‘unsettled science’ of man-caused global warming.

See how one problem leads to multiple other problems? These aren’t something you’d find surrounding a food reporter’s boss. But, let’s get back to this latest PCFFA v. Chevron lawsuit.

  • There is the problem with attorney Vic Sher’s association with the Sierra Club during the time when that organization was described as having leaked documents supposedly indicting skeptic climate scientists of industry-paid corruption, which I detailed in the latter part of my July 25, 2018 blog post.
  • These lawsuits suffer from a boilerplate copy ‘n paste problem which I reviewed and expanded on in the first part of my July 13, 2018 blog post.
  • This lawsuit has the same problem with critical missing words within a speech from President Lyndon Johnson (detailed in the second part of my July 13, 2018 post) which apparently stem from the efforts of Oreskes to hide something which undermines the whole notion that Johnson’s speech was about global warming. The remainder of that July 13, 2018 post named more of Oreskes’ crippling problems surrounding the idea of ‘crooked skeptic climate scientists.’
  • This lawsuit is basically just the latest one in a string of Sher Edling filings where each cites the Union of Concerned Scientists for a particular set of ‘leaked memos’ evidence, a huge problem I reviewed in my blog post. That ‘evidence’ is the core reason the plaintiffs can claim the fossil fuel industry knew global warming was happening and subsequently engaged in disinformation campaigns in which shill ‘experts’ were paid to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact.”

That last problem is the fatal one. As I’ve said repeatedly, these memos are the heart of these Sher Edling lawsuits, the heart of Ross Gelbspan’s second career as a slayer of industry-paid skeptic climate scientists, the heart of Al Gore’s 2006 documentary movie where he used the strategy phrase to imply skeptic scientists operated the same way as shill ‘experts’ did for the Tobacco industry, and the heart of Naomi Oreskes’ infamous 2008 Powerpoint presentation indicting skeptic climate scientists of corruption. These memos are the most convincing bit of so-called ‘evidence’ enviro-activists have to offer to prove a pay-for-performance arrangement exists between fossil fuel industry executives and skeptic climate scientists, but the evidence is worthless because it is not actually what Gore-Oreskes-Gelbspan portray it to be.

Perhaps the various defendants in the other “Matt Pawa” global warming lawsuits thought they were victorious in the dismissal of the Oakland/San Fransisco and New York City lawsuits. It was short-lived with regard to the California lawsuits – those two cities switched from the Hagens-Berman-Pawa law firm to ….. guess who? Sher Edling.

Why does Sher Edling continue to pitch their notion that fossil fuel company executives knew their product was a planet killer but employed shill ‘experts’ to reposition global warming as theory rather than fact? Because the defendants in these cases haven’t yet struck back at their accusers on the weakest part of these cases; not the science in them, but against the idea that ‘evidence’ exists to prove the accusation about corporate corruption.

Expose that there is no viable evidence to back up that accusation — the tip of this iceberg was revealed in the Oakland case on one small angle of worthless ‘evidence’ — and not only do these cases all fall apart, Naomi Oreskes’ and Ross Gelbspan’s second career legacies crumble, as does Al Gore’s, and the collective mainstream media is exposed as blatant propagandists who actively buried one entire side of a science issue.

If the fossil fuel industry would just step up to the fight and use their power to lead it, the battle over global warming science would be over.