Climate Change is Quite a Story

You Want Some Juicy Deception?

Mary Liz Thomson
Jul 19, 2018 · 6 min read

Check out the new book:
Unprecedented Crime, By Peter D. Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth. Clarity Press, Inc.

To comprehend the epoch we live in it helps to grasp the role that oil interests and climate change play. No matter what your other passions are — the humanity threatening consequences of global warming impacts everything, sooner than you think. Turns out the oceans have been absorbing the increasing heat for a while, along with mercury from burning fossil fuels. One result is that oxygen producing plankton are suffering, which diminishes the oxygen we all have to breath. Whole swaths of the planet around the equator could become unlivable from the heat by 2050.

What’s true is that Climate Change now has been studied on an epic scale and the consequences are bad. The massive amount of data collected from all over the world shows that it is caused by human activity. 99% of Climate Scientists agree on that. Only a minuscule amount of other types of scientists deny this. With our record heat in 2018 and more fires and floods around the planet, the consequences are closer than they have ever appeared.

An excellent overview to catch anyone up to date on the current issue and how we got here is a new book called “Unprecedented Crime”; Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival”, by Dr. Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth. The authors lay out important foundations summarizing the cumulative science of climate change, the known consequences, and the growing number of affordable solutions. They expose the story of climate deniers, the role of the media in limiting climate change news, and the impact of oil subsidies. Then they make a detailed case for the criminality of inaction using Human Rights based legal challenges.

Because the science is so strong and the risks so great, to not react is now being considered by many people around the world as a legal crime. According to a survey by the United Nations there are nearly 900 climate change lawsuits going on in 24 countries. The authors say,

“Since the United Nations Paris conference in late 2015, climate change indicators have escalated so quickly that an emergency response is imperative if civilization is to avoid breakdown and eventual collapse. … To continue with business-as-usual at this late date is to knowingly, and therefore deliberately, compound this crime “.

A groundbreaking case highlighted in the book is Our Children’s Trust Lawsuit, filed in federal court in 2011, the authors tell us “by 21 young plaintiffs who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the US government”. National Geographic called it the ‘Biggest Case on the Planet’. Last week on July 9, 2018, The Trump Administration tried to block the case from going to trial again. Numerous times the court has upheld the right to trial. It is scheduled for October 29, 2018.

Co-Author Elizabeth Woodworth is a writer on climate change science and activism publishing on Global Research. Co-Author Dr. Peter Carter is founder of the Climate Emergency Institute in BC, Canada. They have created a great up to the moment overview that showcases the potential power of using legal accountability to push forward solutions to climate change.

Underlying the whole story of the book is the seriousness of the threat to humanity that global warming will bring if left unaddressed. Climate scientist’s predictions have largely turned out to be true, yet many people do not see the problem as a current threat. While maligned most of his career, NASA’s James Hansen’s original 1990 predictions that temperatures would increase 4.3º C by 2100, turned out to be incredibly accurate and very close to what scientists say today. The book also points out that, “The IPCC says it could be as high as 7.8°C. … These are not tolerable degrees of climate change for our species, nor most others”.

When put in that perspective, there could be heat that many humans can’t survive as soon as 2050, thus gravely affecting the lifetimes of more than half of the people alive today. (50.5% of the world’s 7 billion people are under 30 years old).

Why hasn’t the public and the world’s leader reacted with more alarm to such a great coming calamity, even when there are affordable solutions?

The authors point to climate science denial and the intentional campaign to seed doubt in the minds of the public about the truth of climate science. The deniers themselves knew the science to be true because their own scientists told them so, “In 2015, we learned from its own research that Exxon has known since 1980 that global warming is real”. Still these “oil men” decided their wealth and power was worth more. Perhaps they gambled that global warming would never affect them personally. Perhaps they were right. Men like The Koch Brothers (who are major financiers of climate change denial) are in their 70s. Woodworth and Carter tell us,

“The American Petroleum Institute convened a Global Climate Science Communications Team in 1998. The team’s mission, exposed in a leaked 1998 memo, was to initiate “a national media relations programme to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science”.”

This campaign was able to spread disinformation by overwhelming the media with so called “experts who provided balance”. They put a lot of money into it too. The arguments they introduced are easily countered, but they intentionally created doubt with false reasoning like blaming the role of the sun (the sun has been in a cooling phase relative to earth for the last 35 years).

Even after these denier “experts” had been exposed widely as imposters with no climate science credentials in books such as Merchant’s of Doubt, they still appeared widely on TV. Woodworth and Carter show how they were “featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, and PBS in a striking number of TV appearances.”

No wonder then that people around the world are now challenging the lack of action on climate change as criminal. Unprecedented Crime lays out the arguments and legal reasoning behind the numerous current lawsuits, telling us:

“In the United States the Public Trust Doctrine was first applied to coastlines and stream beds but has since expanded to include the guarantee of clean water and clean air”. The Children’s Trust lawsuit is using the Doctrine to pressure the US government to protect the future climate of children.

Lawsuits such as this are crucial to defining who is responsible for our climate and what will be done about it. They aren’t going away. Another case in the News right now is a UK lawsuit brought by activists of Plan B. They are pushing the government to lower carbon targets for a more livable temperature increase of 1.5º C (The aim of the Paris Accord), instead of the UK target now used of 2º C degrees.

Youth also seem to be especially important players in the climate action movement, as they have the most to lose. This Saturday July 21, there will be worldwide marches mobilizing to demand action on climate change, organized by the youth movement, Zero Hour.

When it comes to the Paris Accord, authors Carter and Woodworth point out that it is the oil producing nations who have still not ratified the agreement. It makes for an interesting way to understand current global alliances. “The US, now an oil exporter, will by reneging join the list of oil producers that have not ratified, the largest being the Russian Federation. Other significant oil and gas producers that have not ratified include Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Venezuela, Oman, Uzbekistan, and Ecuador”.

The authors of Unprecedented Crime provide extensive research that makes it a great reference book for all the areas they cover, including solutions. They remind us that the potential for new technology is there to meet our energy needs. But, they say, we have to get into an “Emergency Mode” if we are to take enough action in time.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store