Amended in Senate May 10, 2016

Amended in Senate March 29, 2016

Senate BillNo. 1161


Introduced by Senator Allen

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(Coauthors: Senators Jackson and Leno)

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February 18, 2016


An act to add Section 342.5 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to statutes of limitation.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1161, as amended, Allen. Statutes of limitation: California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016.

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

This bill would, for actions brought by the Attorney General orbegin delete certain public prosecutors,end deletebegin insert end insertbegin inserta district attorney,end insertbegin delete extend the time period for the commencement ofend deletebegin insert reviveend insert an action for unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts ofbegin delete anthropogenic inducedend deletebegin insert anthropogenic-inducedend insert climate changebegin delete to within 30 years of an act giving rise to the cause of action. The bill would revive actionsend delete thatbegin delete are time-barredend deletebegin insert is time barredend insert as of January 1, 2017,begin delete as specified.end deletebegin insert and woulend insertbegin insertd authorize the action to be brought within 4 years of that date.end insert

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

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

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

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

3

SEC. 2.  

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

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.

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:

13(A) Changing temperature and precipitation patterns.

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

15(C) Melting of glaciers and sea ice.

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

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

20(F) Increased threats to human health.

21(3) Impacts and damages from emissions of greenhouse gases
22that cause climate change have been occurring for many years and
23will be felt from decades to centuries after those emissions have
24occurred. 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.”

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 fossilbegin delete fuelend deletebegin insert fuelsend insert were contributing significantly to
P3    1climate change, and companies were factoring global warming
2into their own business investments.

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
6Aeronautics 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.

16(6) More than half of all industrial carbon emissions have been
17released 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.

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.

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.

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

5(10) Climate change has been tied by scientists to the severity
6and intensity of the historically unprecedented and costly drought
7that California has been experiencing since 2011 that has resulted
8in communities running out of water, agricultural water cutbacks,
9and unprecedented groundwater use that has caused subsidence
10and a loss of storage capacity in the state’s critical aquifers.

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

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

24

SEC. 3.  

Section 342.5 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure,
25to read:

26

342.5.  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding Section 17208 of the Business
27and Professions Code, an actionbegin delete may be broughtend delete pursuant to
28Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division
297 of the Business and Professions Code against a corporation, firm,
30partnership, joint stock company, association, or other organization
31of persons that has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair
32competition, as defined in Section 17200 of the Business and
33begin delete Professionend deletebegin insert Professionsend insert Code, with respect to scientific evidence
34regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of
35begin delete anthropogenic inducedend deletebegin insert anthropogenic-inducedend insert climate changebegin delete if
36the action is commenced within 30 years of an act giving rise to
37the cause of action.end delete
begin insert that would otherwise be barred as of January
381, 2017, solely because the statute of limitation has or had expired,
39is revived and, in that case, the action may be commenced within
40four years of January 1, 2017. Nothing in this subdivision shall
P5    1be construed to alter the applicable limitation period of an action
2that is not time barred as of January 1, 2017.end insert

begin delete

3(2) Actions that are otherwise barred as of January 1, 2017,
4solely because the statute of limitation specified in Section 17208
5of the Business and Professions Code has or had expired are
6revived to the extent that the actions are commenced within 30
7years of an act giving rise to the cause of action.

8(3)

end delete

9begin insert(2)end insert Paragraphbegin delete (2)end deletebegin insert (1)end insert does not apply tobegin delete an action against an
10entity who is a party to a prior action brought to enforce a cause
11of action pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200)
12of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Codeend delete

13begin insert actions alleging claims described in paragraph (1)end insert for which a
14final and nonappealable judgment has been rendered.

15(b) This section applies only to actions brought by the Attorney
16begin delete General,end deletebegin insert General orend insert a districtbegin delete attorney, or a city attorney of a city
17having a population in excess of 750,000.end delete
begin insert attorney.end insert



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