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Guardian Wants To Make Ecocide An International Crime

Guardian Wants To Make Ecocide An International CrimeNOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT / by Paul Homewood / 3h

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier

The Guardian has let the fruitloops out!

The Paris agreement is failing. Yet there is new hope for preserving a livable planet: the growing global campaign to criminalize ecocide can address the root causes of the climate crisis and safeguard our planet – the common home of all humanity and, indeed, all life on Earth.

Nearly five years after the negotiation of the landmark Paris agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and associated global warming to “well below 2.0C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”,we are experiencing drastically accelerating warming. 2020 was the second warmest year on record, following the record-setting 2019. Carbon in the atmosphere reached 417 parts per million (ppm) – the highest in the last 3m years.Even if we magically flipped a switch to a fully green economy tomorrow, there is still enough carbon in the atmosphere to continue warming the planet for decades.

The science is clear: without drastic action to limit temperature rise below 1.5C, the Earth, and all life on it, including all human beings, will suffer devastating consequences.

Yet only two countries – Morocco and the Gambia – are on track to meet the 1.5C target. The largest emitters, including the United States, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are putting the world on course for 4C. At that rate, the polar ice caps will melt, causing dramatic sea level rise that will – in combination with other devastating effects like strengthening storms and droughts – cause mass famine, displacement and extinction.

Currently, much of humanity feels hopeless, but the establishment of ecocide as a crime offers something for people to get behind. Enacting laws against ecocide, as is under considerationin a growing number of jurisdictions, offers a way to correct the shortcomings of the Paris agreement. Whereas Paris lacks sufficient ambition, transparency and accountability, the criminalization of ecocide would be an enforceable deterrent. Outlawing ecocide would also address a key root cause of global climate change: the widespread destruction of nature, which, in addition to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, has devastating impacts on global health, food and water security, and sustainable development – to name a few.

Ecocide shares its roots with other landmark concepts in international law, including genocide. Indeed, ecocide and genocide often go hand in hand. Around the globe, ecological destruction is also decimating indigenous communities.To give just a few cases: Brazil’s Yanomami are facing mercury poisoninggenerated by the 20,000 illegal miners in their territories. 87% of Native Alaskan villages are experiencing climate-related erosion, even as they face growing calls to drill on their lands.

Conviction for ecocide would require demonstrating willful disregard for the consequences of actions such as deforestation, reckless drilling and mining. This threshold implicates a number of global and corporate leaders through their complicity in deforesting the Amazon and Congo basins, drilling recklessly in the Arctic and the Niger delta, or permitting unsustainable palm oil plantations in south-east Asia, among other destructive practices.

As a term, “ecocide” dates to 1970, when Arthur Galston, an American botanist, used it to describe the appalling effects of Agent Orange on the vast forests of Vietnam and Cambodia. On the 50th anniversary of the concept, we can take heart in the growing civic will to officially make ecocide an international crime. 

If they has been paying attention at the time, they might have realised that the Paris Agreement was a sham from the start, as developing countries got off scot free, allowed to carry on increasing emissions as much as they wanted.

And, while they are busy bashing capitalist companies, maybe they could care to explain what they would do about China and other countries, who would simply ignore the new laws.

In any event, where on earth would you draw the line? They blame corporations for deforestation, but much of happens at a local level; would they prosecute a farmer in Brazil, for instance, for clearing his land? And should politicians be prosecuted for mandating biofuels?

Or what about the car driver, who fills his car up with petrol?

It is clear that their main priority is to attack capitalism, as this statement makes clear:

But ecocide would not just be a punitive measure for corporate leaders.

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