My colleague Amy Harder reports...
Both sides of a lawsuit on damages from climate change will today in court reaffirm the scientific consensus that human activity is extremely likely to have caused global warming over the last century.
Why it matters: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said he wants to host a public debate about the degree to which humans are driving up Earth's temperature. Wednesday’s hearing in a San Francisco federal district court, where California cities are suing big oil companies, is surprisingly providing that debate.
The intrigue: The hearing will contradict doubts expressed by Pruitt and other Trump administration officials that human activity is the leading driver of climate change. Even the defendants — who include Exxon, Shell and Chevron — are expected to confirm the scientific consensus.
Big picture: Wednesday's hearing, in a case brought by San Francisco and Oakland, is part of a broader legal push by liberal cities alleging that big oil companies have concealed what they knew about climate change and are liable for billions of dollars of damage.
- Quoted: “While conservative think tanks, political pundits, and industry-funded researchers are at liberty to say whatever they want, the courtroom demands a higher level of integrity. I expect the defendants will underscore points of uncertainty in the science, and highlight difficulties in attributing causation to particular actors. But the basics of climate science are not legitimately open to debate,” said Michael Burger, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Go deeper: Amy wrote about the lawsuits here, and this San Francisco Chronicle piece sets the table for today's action.