By Prof İbrahim Özdemir, UN advisor – Professor İbrahim Özdemir is a UN advisor and an ecologist teaching at Üsküdar University. He has served as Director-General at the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Ministry of Education and was a leading member in drafting the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC.
On Monday, earthquakes in my country Turkey and neighboring Syria left a trail of unprecedented devastation and a death toll surpassing 16,000 people at the last count.
We do not know for sure what triggered this horrific natural disaster, but we do know there is growing scientific evidence that climate change increases the risk of such tremors, together with tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
“If a fault is primed or ready to rupture, all that is needed is the pressure of a handshake to set if off […] Environmental changes associated with rapid and accelerating climate breakdown could easily do the job,” professor of geophysics and climate hazards at University College London Bill McGuire pointed out back in 2012.
The impact is not limited to the Arctic. As melting glaciers change the distribution of weight across the Earth’s crust, the resulting “glacial isostatic adjustment” drives changes in plate tectonics that could lead to more earthquakes, awaken volcanoes and even affect the movement of the Earth’s axis.
This particular consequence of global warming “warns us of a seismically turbulent future,” one recent study concluded.
Unfortunately, it is not just earthquakes. Climate and weather-related disasters have surged five-fold over the past five decades, killing over two million people, with 91% of the casualties in developing countries. And it is only getting worse.
Is there accountability for Big Oil’s ‘ever more invasive ways’?
Fossil fuel companies bear significant responsibility for the climate emergency yet enjoy near-total impunity. At the same time, they are consistently reaping record profits — while ordinary citizens across the globe struggle to pay their household bills.
What is more important: interests of few, or our planet and its people?
I am not suggesting a conspiracy. These cases solely go to show how fossil fuel interests still hold extraordinary clout across sectors and national borders, despite ever-increasing proof that they are among those ultimately responsible for climate change and the ongoing climate emergency.
The problem is systemic: there is a long-demonstrated preference for the interests of fossil fuel firms and their allies rather than the people and the planet.
No wonder UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently demanded that fossil fuel companies that do not set a “credible course for net zero” by 2030 “should not be in business”.
Governments must take this message seriously by joining forces to end this giant profit-making scheme against the planet.
How? Instead of being sued by them, governments should consider whether and how to hold fossil fuel firms liable for the damages their operations have caused to countless victims worldwide. The potential proceeds should be then invested in accelerating net zero.
Otherwise, we will see more tragedies like what has befallen my country.
Professor İbrahim Özdemir is a UN advisor and an ecologist teaching at Üsküdar University. He has served as Director-General at the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Ministry of Education and was a leading member in drafting the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC.
2022 Study: Long-Term Forecasting of Strong Earthquakes in North America, South America, Japan, Southern China and Northern India With Machine Learning – “Earthquakes of great intensity that are caused by natural processes cannot be avoided but only forewarned with their often catastrophic and damaging impacts minimized.”
UN Climate Chief Pachauri links earthquakes to AGW! ‘Given that human actions are increasingly interfering with the delicate balance of nature, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis will occur more frequently, said Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri’
2015: Newsweek: More earthquakes coming due to ‘climate change’ – AGW ‘can affect the underlying structure of the Earth’ – UCL’s Professor Bill McGuire’s recent book Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes, he ponders the effects of the 100m rise of sea-levels that’s threatened should all the remaining ice on the planet melt.’