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California sues car manufacturers

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Carcaroth, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. Carcaroth

    Carcaroth I call on the priests, saints and dancin' girls ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I'd class myself as a fairly strong environmentalist, but this has left me scratching my head.

    What do other folks think? Good idea or utter nonsense?
    My personal thought is that it is rather more like a "pre-emptive strike" on the car-manufacturers courth case against California laws.
     
  2. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    I think it's a fairly reasonable idea. Actions have consequences, and it's time that the car manufacturers are held responsible for their actions.

    It's quite possible to make cars that don't pollute that much, but since people aren't aware of all the consequences their choices have, they don't take everything into account what they should for the sake of their own and their childrens health and that's why there's no great demand on those kinds of cars.

    This might make people more aware of the environmental issues in general. :thumb:
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    California is trying to get someone else to pay for problems they are ENTIRELY responsible for. The public transportation system in the state is extremely lacking throughout the state. There has never been an attempt at slowing the growth of the major cities to a reasonable level which compounds the issue.

    I lived in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and my company is headquartered out of the Bay area (BART is not a good solution either). Without a car, life in CA just sucks. At least Chicago has Metra, the El, and all the buses -- you can get to 75% of the city within an hour.

    California has put growth above all other concerns. They don't care about the strain they are putting on the ecosystem, they don't care about the huge amount of power (and subsequent pollution) required to bring water to the city or keep the street lights lit (although Hoover does provide some of that). AND they design their transportation system to favor everyone having a car and driving it everywhere. I'm glad I don't live there anymore (and never intend to live there again).
     
  4. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have to agree with T2 on this one. Excessive pollution is caused, mostly, by the excessive amount of cars on the road in California. Part of the pollution problem is exacerbated because California is on a coastline. But at the end of the day, you don't buy something from someone, use it to excess, and then sue them for the problems created by your over-use of it, whether you can help it or not (as the case may be for the work force).

    I can see a comparison to cigarette companies appearing on the horizon, so let me address that now: the problem with cigarettes is that the companies who make them claim (or at least used to) that they weren't harmful or addictive, and also used to (and in many cases, still do) market them to kids. Anyone who's ever seen a car - from the Model T on up - should be smart enough to realize that cars belch out poisonous emissions. If one car pollutes the air, so shall millions of cars.

    If Californians were so concerned with their environmental health, they would have lobbied for a more effective city plan and transportation system years ago. Part of the cashe of living in California is the lifestyle, and telling people to share a seat with a total stranger on public transportation instead of cruising around in their own sweet ride just doesn't compute for some people.

    So Californians can eat it, as far as I'm concerned. If they didn't have the forsight to head off this problem before it reached uncomfortable levels, it's regrettable and understandable. But it's not the car manufacturer's fault. They should pay for their own mess. I too am a huge environmentalist, but fair's fair, and the biggest issue at the heart of environmentalism - in my view - is personal responsibility.
     
  5. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    Were it only for local pollution I'd agree with Death Rabbit and T2Bruno, but since they're suing the manufacturers because of the global warming it wouldn't have done much good if California would've had foresight to make better public transportation system.

    It's a global issue which won't dissappear immediately and enough foresight would mean in this case that excessive greenhouse gas emissions should've been taken into account before anyone started to mass produce cars.

    I'd make a comparison to the asbestos industry, CFC-compounds or the use of lead in petrol. When they found out that these cause serious risks to the environment and health, they stopped putting these into everything you could imagine. And lead was needed in petrol because they didn't bother to make better engines back then.

    Now it's known that excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere influence global warming. It should be common sense of course, but the manufacturers are trying to deny this. Comparing them to tobacco companies is quite appropriate.
     
  6. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Well, if there were some way to have made things not as bad that they could have taken and they refused to do it, then I suppose they might have a suit. But if it's just suing them for selling a product...it's the consumer that's responsible.
     
  7. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    They're selling a faulty product and even if people would buy faulty products that endanger everyone, something should be done about it. The best course of action would be to draw the faulty merchandise from the market, but they're not doing that if they don't have any monetary reason for it.Suing them and making them pay huge amounts of money for not making better cars would give that reason to them.
     
  8. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    A product is not faulty if it works as advertised and adheres to the regulatory laws.

    It is a completely ridiculous lawsuit.

    California is full of morons. Oh, wait, *I* live here... :lol:
     
  9. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    The laws can't take into account something of which enough research hasn't been done. Now we know more about the global warming than we did when we started manufacturing cars.

    And I guess the people who sued the asbestos companies were idiots as well back then when asbestos was "known" to be safe?
     
  10. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Well, they were no smarter than the people who are now suing the car manifacturers.

    What alternative is there to cars? Public transportation may be cleaner but it is also much less efficient. (Especially since the public runs it, which means it runs ineffectively!)

    Cleaner (more economical) cars will appear when there is a market for them, not before. If car manifacturers can't sell them at a profit, they won't produce them.
     
  11. Rallymama Gems: 31/31
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    What's your point, Iku-Turso? If
    ...how can you hold the manufacturers to a higher standard? Auto companies build products that comply with current regulations - it's not reasonable to expect them to do more voluntarily, because that would be a bad business decision (even if it's *morally* right). I have some question as to the "morality" of it, as well, because if the accepted wisdom is that something is safe (e.g., asbestos, smoking, leaded gasoline) and there's no evidence to the contrary at the time, it's not fair for people to look back from future wisdom and say, "But you should have known!" To penalize anyone - individual or corporate entity or governmental agency - for not acting on information that they didn't have is laughable.
     
  12. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This is not an individual, this is the state of California. If California doesn't like what the automobile companies are doing, they should pass legislation to change it.

    However, California knows that the taxpayers will never vote for something like that because it will make their cars more expensive. California is just taking a longshot to try to make a quick buck to solve some of its budgetary problems and make a political statement at the same time.
     
  13. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    The laws change slowly. Suing might lead to a change in laws. Something should be done about excessive CO2 emissions, now. Should we just wait for the industry or the markets to change into a more environmental ways of production?

    If nobody would've sued asbestos companies or the petrol industry for their products that were thought to be safe after they had serious illnesses because of the products, then we'd still have asbestos and lead everywhere and people would die because of the industries.

    Suing enforces the business to take into account some things that they'd rather not because it's bad business. It's more cost efficient to let people suffer because of the product than to draw it from the market until they get bad publicity and monetary loss from lawsuits and media coverage.

    They should realize that global warming is bad business and that it will cost them more than making more environmental-friendly cars.
     
  14. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    But that's just the thing. The laws would have to change BEFORE a suit like this could possibly be successful.
     
  15. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    That was kind of my point. Individuals suing can help lead to a change of law because it makes the issue high profile enough to get the government's attention whether they win or not. If the government wants something changed, they have the power to change it.

    In this case, the government doesn't really want anything changed, they want to make a political statement to make themselves look good to their constituency and maybe make a quick buck.
     
  16. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    Even so, this is a global international issue. Passing laws in one state doesn't have a global impact. California's doing great leading the way in environmental issues, but against multinational operators such as the automobile industry you'd have to change laws in every country. That takes even more time and a lot of political will.

    Of course California could start an international discourse or something that would try to change the public opinion, but that too is a slower process than getting a lot of instant international media coverage from a lawsuit.

    Increasing taxation on polluting cars which would make more sense since it's the people who use the cars, but taxation addresses only the people in California. This lawsuit has a bigger chance of influencing international policies than the state of California would have if it would try to get to the same ends through normal political proceeding.
     
  17. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You think that a lawsuit with no foundation in the law would gain more media coverage than a law requiring the industry to comply with new regulations being passed in California? I don't.

    If the government of California was serious, it would attempt to change the law.
     
  18. Wiley One Gems: 8/31
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    Blackthorne is dead on. Sueing is just today's copout for taking responsibility. Instead of sueing the vehicle manufacturers, California should be pushing for tighter regulations/laws. If it passed there it would set a precedence for other states or even a federal law
     
  19. Gawain Gems: 4/31
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    I haven't noticed California surcharging registration fees for higher-polluting vehicles--could it be that the voters might rebel?
     
  20. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    And this might eventually lead into international regulations. Might, eventually.

    I'm not thinking that the lawsuit would pass, but it is IMO taking a step in the right direction.

    There's huge political pressure from car manufacturers and other industry influencing political organs. Lobbying works, and they have a lot of money to lobby with. Influencing judicial authorities is more difficult.

    But the important thing is that as passing a law would get more coverage, getting to that point takes time. They're suing now and got the coverage for an important subject faster this way. Acting this way they've got people talking more about global scale environmental issues already. The article emphasized many times that this is a global crisis. Passing a local law would create discussion, but about smaller scale issues.
     
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