2008-11-22

Putting Global Warming Laggards on Trial

Ballsy.

That is perhaps best word to describe a class action lawsuit filed this week in the International Criminal Court in The Hague in Holland against national governments refusing to act on reducing carbon emissions.

The suit was filed by climate activist Danny Bloom who is asking for "US$1 billion dollars in damages on behalf of future generations of human beings on Earth - if there are any"

No Joke

The lawsuit is specifically seeking damages from "all world leaders for intent to commit manslaughter against future generations of human beings by allowing murderous amounts of fossil fuels to be harvested, burned and sent into the atmosphere as CO2, causing possible apocalyptic harm to the Earth's ecosystem and the very future of the human species.

The point of the suit of course is not to wring money out of carbon emitters, but to embarrass the legions of laggard governments in advance of upcoming international climate negotiations next month in Poland.

According to Bloom, the legal action "is about trying to protect future generations of mankind, humankind, and a positive judgment in this case will help prod more people to take the issues of climate change and global warming more seriously. We fully intend to make all world leaders of today responsible for their actions in the present day and age."

This case is a legal long shot no doubt, but Bloom's team said ""it's up to the court to decide whether this case has any merit. We fully expect the court to agree to at least hear the case and make a responsible and measured decision later."

It would also be the first case of its kind to seek to act on behalf of future generations for the irresponsibility of their ancestors.

The need to put world leaders on the hot seat is very real. International climate talks like the one happening next month in Poland have happening for over a decade yet global emissions just keep climbing. A recent report showed that in spite of international commitments, carbon emissions of 40 industrialized countries rose by 2.3 percent between 2000 and 2006.

That said, those countries that signed Kyoto saw their overall emissions fall by 17% below 1990. The disgraceful outlier among those nations is Canada, whose emissions ballooned by over 20% in spite of having ratifying Kyoto.

Canada's Prime Minister Harper has called Kyoto a "mistake" and he seems openly contemptuous of such international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Mr. Harper is of course not alone in the responsibility for Canada' terrible climate change record. The Canadian public recently handed him another mandate in a general election.

Back to Mr. Bloom. His lawsuit seems directly targeted towards such irresponsible nations like Canada that have refused to take this issue seriously. If he wins, Bloom is planning to donate the $1 billion in damages to the Nobel winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Godspeed Mr. Bloom.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Canada is indeed a disgrace, and has done absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

When Mr Harper was (unfortunately) elected for the first time he cancelled a home energy efficiency programme that was initiated by the previous Liberal government so he not only does nothing with respect to emissions but is also counter-productive. This is the predictable outcome of having a prime minister from Alberta, the province with the most polluting industry on Earth.

Good luck with putting Mr Harper and Canada on trial!

dan said...

Hello Mitch,

Thanks for a very good post on the ICC lawsuit. The rightwing denialists have risen up on their blogs to denounce this left and right, with such titles as "Litigous Lunacy" and "Ballsy isn't the right word...."

Litigous Lunacy wrote: "This is quite something. Darn those Canucks. As we saw with his defense of eco-vandals in England, I wonder if Dr. James Hansen will rush to The Hague to testify for this one? And if by some furthest stretch of the imagination, this lawsuit is successful, what then? Will Pachauri use the spoils to whittle down the number of lifetimes if will take to erase his own carbon footprint? I wonder if Danny Bloom is related to omnipresent blog commenter, and Sierra Club representative, Steve Bloom? BTW Steve, we are still waiting, over a year now for your answer."