Amended in Senate March 29, 2016

Senate BillNo. 1161


Introduced by Senator Allen

February 18, 2016


An act tobegin delete amend Section 335 ofend deletebegin insert add Section 342.5 toend insert the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to statutes of limitation.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1161, as amended, Allen. Statutes ofbegin delete limitation.end deletebegin insert limitation: California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016.end insert

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Existing law requires an action alleging unfair competition, as defined, to be commenced within 4 years after the cause of action accrued.

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This bill would, for actions brought by the Attorney General or certain public prosecutors, extend the time period for the commencement of an action for unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change to within 30 years of an act giving rise to the cause of action. The bill would revive actions that are time-barred as of January 1, 2017, as specified.

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Existing law delineates the provisions setting forth the periods prescribed for the commencement of actions other than for the recovery of real property.

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This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change in that provision.

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Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

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This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the
2California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016.

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3begin insert

begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

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(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
4following:

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5
(1) There is broad scientific consensus that anthropogenic global
6warming is occurring and changing the world’s climate patterns,
7and that the primary cause is the emission of greenhouse gases
8from the production and combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal,
9oil, and natural gas.

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10
(2) The United States Environmental Protection Agency
11(USEPA) states that the buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases
12results in impacts that include the following:

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13
(A) Changing temperature and precipitation patterns.

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14
(B) Increases in ocean temperatures, sea level, and acidity.

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15
(C) Melting of glaciers and sea ice.

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16
(D) Changes in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme
17weather events.

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18
(E) Shifts in ecosystem characteristics, such as the length of the
19growing season, timing of flower blooms, and migration of birds.

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20
(F) Increased threats to human health.

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21
(3) Impacts and damages from emissions of greenhouse gases
22that cause climate change have been occurring for many years
23and will be felt from decades to centuries after those emissions
24have occurred. The USEPA states, “[b]ecause many of the major
25greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of
26years after being released, their warming effects on the climate
27persist over a long time and can therefore affect both present and
28future generations.”

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29
(4) Reports and documentation published by researchers, public
30interest nongovernmental organizations, and media in recent years
31show that some fossil fuel companies were aware by the late 1970s
32of scientific studies showing that carbon dioxide emissions from
33fossil fuel combustion pose significant risk of harmful global
34warming. The reports and documents also indicate that by the
35mid-1980s fossil fuel company scientists were confirming in
36internal documents intended for company management that
37emissions from fossil fuel were contributing significantly to climate
P3    1change, and companies were factoring global warming into their
2own business investments.

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3
(5) By 1988, the scientific evidence of climate change and the
4significant risks it poses was widely communicated to the public
5and was confirmed in congressional testimony by the National
6Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). In that year, the
7United Nations formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
8Change and the federal National Energy Policy Act of 1988 (House
9Resolution 5380, 100th Congress) was introduced in Congress in
10an effort to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Because of
11the highly public dissemination of information, congressional
12discussion, and extensive media coverage of the robust scientific
13evidence of the risks of continued burning of fossil fuel products,
14major fossil fuel producers knew or should have known the risks
15of continued burning of their products by 1988.

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16
(6) More than half of all industrial carbon emissions have been
17 released since 1988, after the fossil fuel businesses knew of the
18harm their products might cause, and have substantially increased
19risks from climate change impacts to life, health, and property.

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20
(7) Since at least 1989, published reports indicate that some of
21these same entities have put sustained and significant efforts and
22resources into creating public doubt on the science related to
23climate change caused by anthropogenic sources.

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24
(8) Misleading and inaccurate information disseminated by
25organizations and representatives backed by fossil fuel companies,
26along with advertising and publicity casting doubt on scientific
27understanding of climate change, have led to confusion,
28disagreement, and unnecessary controversy over the causes of
29climate change and the effects of emissions of greenhouse gases.
30This type of misinformation, widely and broadly disseminated in
31the media, has long delayed public understanding of the risks of
32continuing to emit high levels of greenhouse gases, confused and
33polarized the public on the need to aggressively reduce emissions
34to limit risks from climate change, and increased damage to public
35safety, health, and property in California as well as nationally and
36globally.

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37
(9) Scientific studies indicate that climate change impacts are
38occurring in California, causing significant damage to the
39economy, environment, and public health. In a 2013 report on
40climate change indicators, the Office of Environmental Health
P4    1Hazard Assessment found that California is already experiencing
2serious and measurable impacts from atmospheric warming in the
3state’s weather, water systems, high wildfire frequency and
4intensity, plant and animal species health, and human health and
5morbidity.

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6
(10) Climate change has been tied by scientists to the severity
7and intensity of the historically unprecedented and costly drought
8that California has been experiencing since 2011 that has resulted
9in communities running out of water, agricultural water cutbacks,
10and unprecedented groundwater use that has caused subsidence
11and a loss of storage capacity in the state’s critical aquifers.

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12
(11) An independent bipartisan report, published in 2014,
13indicates that, by 2050, California will be suffering economic
14losses of tens of billions of dollars due to climate change-related
15impacts and that heat-related deaths could be twice the number
16of current traffic-related deaths annually by late 21st century.

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17
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to retroactively revive and
18extend the statute of limitation for actions that may or may not be
19barred by the applicable statute of limitation existing before
20January 1, 2017, that seek redress for unfair competition practices
21committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the
22public on the risks of climate change or financially supported
23activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on
24those risks.

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25begin insert

begin insertSEC. 3.end insert  

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begin insertSection 342.5 is added to the end insertbegin insertCode of Civil Procedureend insertbegin insert,
26to read:end insert

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27

begin insert342.5.end insert  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding Section 17208 of the Business
28and Professions Code, an action may be brought pursuant to
29Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division
307 of the Business and Professions Code against a corporation,
31firm, partnership, joint stock company, association, or other
32organization of persons that has directly or indirectly engaged in
33unfair competition, as defined in Section 17200 of the Business
34and Profession Code, with respect to scientific evidence regarding
35the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic
36induced climate change if the action is commenced within 30 years
37of an act giving rise to the cause of action.

38
(2) Actions that are otherwise barred as of January 1, 2017,
39solely because the statute of limitation specified in Section 17208
40of the Business and Professions Code has or had expired are
P5    1revived to the extent that the actions are commenced within 30
2years of an act giving rise to the cause of action.

3
(3) Paragraph (2) does not apply to an action against an entity
4who is a party to a prior action brought to enforce a cause of
5action pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200)
6of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code for
7which a final and nonappealable judgment has been rendered.

8
(b) This section applies only to actions brought by the Attorney
9General, a district attorney, or a city attorney of a city having a
10population in excess of 750,000.

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SECTION 1.  

Section 335 of the Code of Civil Procedure is
12amended to read:

13

335.  

The periods prescribed for the commencement of actions
14other than for the recovery of real property are as set forth in this
15chapter.

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