general has sued carmakers DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford and
subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota for global
warming impacts on the state. Interesting that the state isn’t trying to
hold individual car owners — the ones who actually drive and produce the
emissions at issue — liable for the alleged damage.
This suit seems rather reminiscent of the lawsuits first filed
by U.S. cities against gun
manufacturers in the late 1990s. Critics at the time pointed out, of
course, that it’s the people who actually shoot the guns who should be held
liable for any damage caused by them. Congress was sufficiently alarmed by the
prospects, however, to pass the Protection
of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, shielding firearms manufacturers from such
extended liability claims. Perhaps the House and Senate should put their heads together
on a Freedom to Traffic in Automobiles Act.