Marc Lee who is the senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and chair of the Progressive Economics Forum writes in one of his latest articles that we should see fossil fuel expansion as a crime against humanity. Lee writes:
"But I think we need to up the ante for those pursuing business as usual, the relentless expansion of oil and gas infrastructure that is causing these problems and guaranteeing that they will be worse in the future. Actions that lead to mass deaths and displacements, either directly due to a weather event or indirectly from impacts on land and livelihoods, beg for some accountability. Iâ€™m no international law-talking guy, but I believe that these things can only be called crimes against humanity.
Letâ€™s say that again. Efforts to expand the oil and gas industry, like the
pipelines, are crimes against humanity. Expanding the coal industry, like the
proposal to export
megatonnes of Washington state coal, is not just bad environmental policy, but a crime against humanity."
"[...] I may be willing to give a grace period for actions take before 2000 or so, on the grounds that we did not know better (though we actually did). Nor would I punish regular folks (including me) who burn fossil fuels because of the structure of the world we live in and the lack of alternatives. This is about the dealers not the addicts; about the need for urgent change in response to the unfolding crisis.
It matters not whether such actions today are â€œlegalâ€ (almost all genocides were legal at the time) but they are deeply immoral and wrong. Major shareholders and senior executives in big fossil fuel industries â€“ and the politicians that dote on them â€“ need to understand that their profiteering off of destabilizing the climate will pay a price. Thatâ€™s a little thing we call justice."
You can read his whole article here. Related posts: UN official says biofuels are a â€œcrime against humanityâ€ and Dr James Hansen says we should prosecute climate change liars.