In a effort to hold automakers accountable for global warming, California is suing Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and three other automakers, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, claims the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California is the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions.
The lawsuit also names Chrysler, Honda and Nissan, claiming their vehicle emissions have contributed significantly to global warming and harmed the resources, infrastructure and environmental health of California and the state's residents.
The complaint states that under federal and state common law the automakers have created a public nuisance by producing "millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide."
Carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases have been linked to global warming.
The lawsuit comes after California passed legislation supported by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that requires the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2020. California was the first state to mandate reduction of greenhouse gases.
California has also issued rules to force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks but enforcement of those rules is being delayed because of a lawsuit by automakers.