An usual hearing took place Wednesday before a federal judge in San Francisco, where both sides presented court-ordered \u0022tutorials\u0022 on climate science.\u0022This will be the closest that we have seen to a trial on climate science in the United States, to date,\u0022 Michael Burger, a lawyer who heads the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told McClatchy earlier this month.The proceedings stem from a lawsuit brought by San Francisco and Oakland against oil and gas giants BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell. The California cities say the fossil fuel companies knew they were driving the climate crisis, intentionally misled the public à la Big Tobacco, and should shell out funds to pay for both past and future damage caused by climate change.In the estimation of Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, the proceedings mean \u0022The industry is now facing the reckoning its internal documents suggest it knew was coming decades ago.\u0022As Common Dreams reported U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ordered the cities and companies \u0022to conduct a two-part tutorial on the subject of global warming and climate change.\u0022Among the eight questions Alsup asked (pdf) the sides to answer in their tutorials are: \u0022What are the main sources of CO2 that account for the incremental buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?\u0022 and \u0022What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on Earth?\u0022As such, Grist reported, the proceedings \u0022will give Americans the opportunity to follow along as big polluters finally go on record about climate science and climate denialism.\u0022Writing earlier this month at NRDC\u0026#039;s onEarth, Jeff Turrentine argued:There\u0026#039;s really no way for oil companies to come out of this thing looking good. If they acknowledge that the science is real, they lend support to the plaintiffs\u0026#039; argument that oil companies have known all along that their activity contributes to climate change but have continued to engage in it anyway. On the other hand, if their spokespeople try to cast doubt on the science in any way, they risk looking like fools, or knaves, or both.Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer representing Chevron, did not fully dispute the science. Rather, according to Jessica Wentz, who is among those inside the courtroom, \u0022it appears that Chevron\u0026#039;s strategy is to portray climate science as a field that is characterized by significant uncertainty and conflicting scientific theories.\u0022\u0026nbsp;Amy Westervelt\u0026rlm;, also in the courtroom, added: \u0022Fairly amusing to have the Chevron lawyer\u0026#039;s IPCC presentation followed by an IPCC contributor pointing out how much science has moved on since last assessment.\u0022Lawyers for the other firms did not speak over objections to the court\u0026#039;s jurisdiction.Wiles said \u0022The decision by ExxonMobil and others to sit out the tutorial is yet another indicator that they are not comfortable being as forthcoming in public as they are in private.\u0022According to Alyssa Johl, Alsup gave the other companies a two-week deadline to agree or disagree with each of Chevron\u0026#039;s statements.Concluding the #climatetutorial, Judge Alsup tells counsel for other fossil fuel defendants that they have 2 weeks to file statements specifying whether they disagree with any points / concessions made by Chevron\u0026#039;s attorney. Should be interesting to see their responses!— Jessica Wentz (@jess_wentz) March 21, 2018This post has been updated from its original version to include comments from Wiles.