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Governments’ denial and dismissal of climate change – a crime against humanity

poster-climate-FranceThe climate Titanic And The Melting Icebergs, COUNTER    by  — June 30, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act” –George Orwell

March 2016 set a new record temperature for that time of year, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The global temperature was 2.30 °F (1.28 °C) warmer than the average for March from 1951 to 1980, which is used as a baseline.

In total, CO2 levels have risen from ~280 to ~407 ppm since the 18th century, currently rising at a rate of ~3 to 4 ppm/year as measured at Mouna Loa observatory, Hawaii

Little mention is made of the existential threats posed by the climate and nuclear issues in the context of the current elections in the US and Australia.

According to the world’s climate research institutions and the bulk of the peer reviewed scientific literature, the Earth has now entered a critical stage at which amplifying feedback effects to global warming transcend points of no return. Manifestations of a shift in state of the climate include; current rise in CO2 at 3.3 parts per million per year, the fastest recorded for the last 65 million years; extreme rises in Arctic temperatures; a plethora of extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods and fires; demise of habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef where corals die due to high water temperatures and coral bleaching; and other developments.

The extreme rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the onset of the industrial age, and the corresponding rise in mean global temperatures as a direct result of the rise in carbon gases, pose an existential risk to the future of nature and civilization.

The consequences of further burning of the vast carbon reserves buried in sediments and in permafrost and bogs can only result in a mass extinction of species which rivals that of the five great mass extinctions in Earth history.

Thus, according to James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist:

Burning all fossilfuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimaterecord and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate systemwould be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes,including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, exterminationof a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastatingregional climate extremes.”

Conducted with the knowledge of the consequences of continuing combustion of carbon constitutes an act whose lingual description exhausts the resources of the English language. The term‘crimes against humanity and nature’ comes to mind.

Is there anything in international and national laws which can avert the continuation of current carbon emissions?

The manifest paralysis of the global political system in the face of the climate impasse, evidenced by the failure of a succession of UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change to undertake meaningful steps to reduce CO2 emissions, requires a search for alternative avenues to limit the deleterious consequences of continuing carbon emissions as reported by the IPCC Working Group II, and pending the report by Working Group III.

Traditionally, political and economic negotiations aim ata compromise. Unfortunately, no negotiation is possible with the basic laws of physicswhich dominate the climate system.

Do global and national legalsystems offer any possibilities in this regard?

In exploring potential legal restrictions on carbon emission, I believe the following international and nationalinstrumentsare relevant.

Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum,which says:

“…crimes against humanity are particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority…”………

July 4, 2016 - Posted by | general

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