GLOBAL WARMING SUIT

U.S. court rejects case against carmakers

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) A U.S. federal court Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of California against six major Japanese and U.S. automakers for their contribution to global warming, a spokesman for the California attorney general’s office said.

In its lawsuit filed last year, California claimed that Toyota Motor North America Inc., Honda Motor Co., Nissan North America Inc., DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. were accountable for millions of dollars by damaging the state’s infrastructure and environment.

However, the federal judge in the Northern District of California ruled that it is up to lawmakers, rather than judges, to determine to what extent automakers are responsible for global warming damage.

“The court is left without guidance in determining what is an unreasonable contribution to the sum of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, or in determining who should bear the costs associated with global climate change that admittedly result from multiple sources around the globe,” Judge Martin Jenkins wrote in the ruling.

The lawsuit was the first of its kind to seek to hold automakers liable for the damage caused by greenhouse gases emitted from their products, according to the attorney general’s office.

The suit was filed on the premise that the automakers are violating federal and state laws by creating greenhouse gases that are a “public nuisance.”

New Toyota plant

The Associated Press

Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe confirmed Tuesday the automaker is looking into a plan to build a new auto assembly plant in Japan, its first on home turf in nearly two decades.

When asked about possible plans, Watanabe told reporters, “It is true that are we are considering” building a plant in Japan. He did not elaborate.

Toyota has been reporting booming sales and appears to be on track to beat General Motors Corp. as the world’s No. 1 automaker in annual global sales and production, perhaps as soon as this year.

Last week, reports said Toyota is considering Hokkaido or northern Honshu as possible sites for the new plant.