The crime of ecocide

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, in the Netherlands. The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and therefore exercises its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court1.

The most recent draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report into the oceans and the cryosphere (the frozen parts of the planet), which is due to be released on the 25th of September warns that if we do not dramatically alter the way we produce and consume almost everything, then there may be a dramatic decline in fish stocks, a hundred-fold increase in damage caused by superstorms, and the displacement of more than a quarter of a billion people by rising sea levels2. These destructive changes have already been set in motion and many are irreversible3. The most dangerous are the positive feedbacks: melting of the permafrost will release carbon dioxide and methane which will reinforce the heating of the planet4. It is now likely that the Earth will be heated by another 2-3 degrees C by the end of the century, and it is possible that it may be heated much more, much sooner, if these feedbacks operate faster than expected; perhaps by as much as 8 degrees C5.

Humanity could have perhaps done something to mitigate these dire consequences if we had acted when the first IPCC report came out some 30 years ago6, but we didn’t. That is when the denialism industry kicked into gear, and all sorts of manufactured doubt as to the veracity of the science was promulgated by fossil fuel companies and their supporters, in much the same way as the tobacco industry did when the link between smoking and lung cancer was established. The worst transgressions were by many of our politicians who, despite having the scientific expertise of the nation at their beck and call, did nothing, because those fossil fuel companies and their supporters donated large amounts of money to their political parties. It is often said that you should never stand between a politician and a bag of money, in the expectation that you will be pushed out of the way or trampled on. However, these politicians and their mouthpieces have not simply trampled on individuals to get to the money, they have, at best, seriously endangered the survival of this nation, just to keep their donations up. It is unfortunate that the crime of treason only applies to assisting an enemy of the nation during a shooting war6. The damage done by these deniers far outweighs the damage any group of traitors could do to the nation by aiding an enemy. In the latter case, the nation could be overrun, thousands could die, but the land and its biota, and the surrounding oceans and their biota would likely survive. This is not the case now. The future that my children aspired to when they were asked by their schoolteachers, friends and relatives is in deep jeopardy; that of my children’s children will likely be very difficult. This is all because of venal politicians who denied the science to pad out their wallets. If they had been caught accepting money from common criminals to allow the latter to rob or murder someone, they would be held accountable. However, they have been doing much the same, but those that suffer will likely run into the hundreds of millions. That disastrous future is not only restricted to the human occupants of parts of this planet, but the rest of the biota as well. We are now in the middle of an extinction event which may rival that of one or other of the big five events of the geological past. This is the crime of ecocide; the decimation of the ecosystem which supports us. While it is not the same as direct genocide, buy attempting to wipe out a people by bomb gun or concentration camp, the result will be the same. That is criminal, and these deniers should pay dearly for it.

In Australia, the individuals and organisations listed below have denied climate science. They have actively campaigned against doing anything to mitigate the effects of climate change. For a proportion of them, that is because they are mindless drones who have little understanding of reality, let alone science. But for most of them, it is because they have a vested interest in doing nothing; they or their associated political parties get donations from the fossil fuel industry or denialist organisations. Reference to the International Criminal Court is warranted to test their complicity in the disaster that is likely to befall humanity and this planet.

Individuals: Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews, Cory Bernardi, Andrew Bolt, Brian Burston, David Bushby, Ross Cameron, Matt Canavan, Michaelia Cash, George Christensen, Rowan Dean, Jonathan Duniam, Martin Ferguson, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Pauline Hanson, Alex Hawke, Alan Jones, Barnaby Joyce, Bob Katter, Craig Kelly, David Leyonhjelm, David Littleproud, Ian Macdonald, Jennifer Marohasy, Ian McNamara, Nick Minchin, Scott Morrison, Fiona Nash, Ken O’Dowd, Barry O’Sullivan, Stephen Parry, Tony Pasin, James Paterson, Ian Plimer, Malcolm Roberts, Lyle Shelton, Ann Sudmalis, Tom Switzer, Angus Taylor, Tim Wilson.

Organisations: New South Wales Branch of the National Party, Institute of Public Affairs, One Nation, News Limited, Business Council of Australia, Minerals Council, Sky News Australia, 2GB.

PS: Any further nominations will be added as long as documentation (e.g. quotes, writings, membership of denialist organisations) of climate change denial is given.

Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/draft-climate-report-warns-oceans-rising-warming-190829132723704.html
  3. http://www.blotreport.com/environment/climate-inertia/
  4. http://www.blotreport.com/science/are-feedbacks-here-already/
  5. http://www.blotreport.com/environment/methane-and-the-international-criminal-court/
  6. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/stating-the-obvious-30-years-too-late-2/
  7. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/the-reckoning-is-coming/

7 Comments

  • Arthur Baker says:

    A reasonably-sized subset of the people listed above could also be tried in the ICC for crimes against humanity in their treatment of asylum seekers. Two birds with one stone.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    I nominate Andrew Bolt, Ian McNamara, most members of the Liberal Party, many members of the CFMMEU, parts of the ALP, most mining companies, the owners of, and many employees of, the commercial TV networks., many farmers, many fisher people, most shooters, many religious people, those who fly overseas several times a year, drivers who leave their diesel engines running when they pop into the shop, fools who collect plastic idiocies from supermarkets (chucked that in because they should be tried), and all the far right scum who have decided that this issue is political rather than simply real. I also accept that I am responsible for not doing enough even when I knew that action was required. Every person has to understand that they have contributed to the harm befalling our world. We as a species have done this. Individually and collectively we have to try and reduce the harm we are doing.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    We set our radio alarm for 5.55 am. From Monday to Saturday we wake up to our local ABC radio presenters. On Sunday we wake up to the national program called “Australia All Over” with Ian McNamara. Macca, as he is known, portrays himself as some sort of paragon, and protector, of Australian virtue and values. What he sees as Australian values anyway. It is worth while reading what Clive Hamilton says about him in relation to climate change (see link below). By the way the rest of the week we leave the radio on. On Sundays we turn it off as soon as he reaches unbearable level, which is usually very quickly. The first “ringarooma” generally does it.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/news-story/the-abc-icon-among-ozs-dirty-dozen/5d958394e1876e9eb27162e59263f0a8

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