We have the solutions to the climate crisis. We know a) what’s causing the planet to heat up, and b) how to stop the progression and c) even, to a large extent, how to reverse the damage which has been done. We know what the culprit is and we possess all the technological and common sense “fixes” to save ourselves and the other forms of life (that we haven’t already wiped out) who rely on our planet remaining in this Goldilocks state which allows us to flourish.
As some of you know, last October I asked the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to open an investigation into crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, etc., against the fossil fuel industry, en masse.
After a lengthy process, they decided against proceeding to the next stage. At least for now.
In a recent Washington Post Opinion piece, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) makes the case for the fossil fuel industry, and those they employ to do their dirty work, be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for deliberately misleading the public about the dangers of extracting and burning carbon based energy. This same strategy was, of course, employed to penalize the tobacco industry for deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
I’ve studied the tobacco case and I’ve often thought that it wouldn’t go nearly far enough. First of all, the tobacco settlement was only essentially enforceable here in the US, and the fossil fuel companies export their misery all over the globe. Additionally, it might only serve to embolden foreign oil and gas giants who would be potentially strengthened by a legal maneuver primarily against American corporations. Moreover, I’ve also thought that the states Attorneys General might have too much muck in their own “backyards, making such litigation untenable.
One year ago, I might have said that it wouldn’t work (to use RICO) and would be a waste of time. Today, I think that every possible, conceivable maneuver must be attempted. The battle against fossil fuel corporations, ALEC, Heartland, et al, is already being waged on so many battlefields, and in so many nations, in so many ways. There simply can be no bigger challenge facing humanity. The problem is that this initial hurdle (criminalizing fossil fuels and those who deceive the public about their impact) IS TAKING TOO LONG!
Once we come to grips, as a species, with the mess we’ve made of our planet, well, then THAT’S when the real work, and the real pain begins. For each and every day that it takes to rid ourselves of the fossil fuel industry (and all the while our elected officials launch even more elaborate schemes to allow Big Oil & Gas to skin our planet alive)…
the solutions just get uglier and more extreme.
When I’m asked what I’d do to solve the climate crisis, I know exactly what is needed. And it’s draconian. And it cannot be imagined, nor managed, by politicians. Absolutely not even for a moment. Some people, such as the incredible Naomi Klein, refer to the solution as a sort of Marshall Plan for the planet. I think that’s putting it mildly.
But the very FIRST STEP is to shove the fossil fuel industry out of the way, make them pay for the damage they’ve deliberately done (before they start whining and complaining that they’re now broke), and get to work, on a planet-wide basis, to try and save ourselves. Sheldon Whitehouse is definitely on one of the right tracks, and I support his efforts. Please share to keep this discussion going.