Two Australian researchers say that governments and companies will face an increase in law suits for their role in global warming, due to the damage it causes to health and communities, and they think these claims have a good chance of succeeding. Insurance companies, who have had to pay the costs of most of the weather damage, may be the first ones to bring these suits.

Researchers Joseph Smith and David Shearman say the scientific evidence showing the “human signature” on global warming is as great as that linking cigarette smoking with cancer. Smith says, “The potential grounds of liability are now quite clear and the scientific evidence is at a point where, in many cases, it would meet the legal requirements for civil standards of proof, that is the balance of probability being greater than 50%.” He cited the recent law suit in California against six major car manufacturers seeking monetary damages for their alleged contributions to global warming and the harm to the environment, economy and public health.

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