Attorney General Jerry Brown's request to meet with the heads of General Motors, Toyota, Honda, and three other automobile makers to settle the state's greenhouse gas emissions suit brought by former attorney general Bill Lockyer was rebuffed February 6. The lawyer representing the automakers, which also include Nissan, Ford, and Chrysler, said that he would be happy to send industry attorneys to Sacramento to tout the car companies' "efforts to improve fuel efficiency." A possible meeting between Brown and the chief executive officers, however, was not on the automakers' agenda. In a letter released February 1, Brown called for a meeting to resolve the suit alleging that vehicle carbon dioxide emissions create global warming. The suit alleges that a warmer climate has led to rising sea levels, heat storms, and more intense wildfires. It specifically claims that the resulting high ocean level causes erosion along the state's 1,075 miles of coastline and exacerbates saltwater intrusion into the state's key water supplies in the Delta. "With the current public, state and Congressional focus on global warming and possible solutions, this is the right time for the state and automakers to find cooperative approaches and resolve litigation in a constructive manner," Brown wrote. Also on February 1, the attorney general opposed the automakers' motion to dismiss the state's nuisance suit in the federal district court in Oakland. The auto industry's attorney, Theodore Boutrous, replied this week, "The reality is that these issues simply cannot rationally be addressed through a tort lawsuit seeking damages against businesses for making essential, lawful and comprehensively regulated products that play such a crucial role in California's economy and culture." The state's suit seeks damages for the harm caused by motor vehicles' contribution to global warming. In a motion requesting that the court reject the automakers' motion to get the suit tossed, the attorney general stated, "Global warming, right now, is costing California tens of millions of dollars to address significant harms to its infrastructure and natural resources, including flood control system degradation, coastal erosion, snow pack depletion, species impacts, and harm to the public health." It rejects the auto industry's claims that the underlying issues are not state legal matters but are federal issues preempted by U.S. law. Automakers and California are engaged in additional battles over vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The industry sued the state for implementing former Assemblymember Fran Pavley's AB 1493, passed in 2002. It requires car manufacturers to cut tailpipe emissions beginning in 2012. That suit is on hold while a lawsuit brought by California, New York, and other states seeking to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 as a pollutant under the Clear Air Act (Circuit, Jan. 19, 2007) awaits a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a majority of legislators and policy makers agree that cutting vehicle emissions, which make up 41 percent of the state's greenhouse gases, is key to meeting the reduction goals in AB 32. That state law seeks a 25 percent cut in global warming gases in California by 2020. The utility sector is the second-largest source of CO2 in the state and faces mandated cuts under AB 32.