Climate Crisis On Trial: Taking it to Court

Climate Justice Trials

“One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

At 2C There Will Be 1000 Million Refugees.
According to the paper “The Future of the Human Niche” authored by climate expert and renowned scientist Timothy Lenton, At 2C of global warming there will be 1000 million refugees. This is an estimate, but it is meant to notify global society and provide a benchmark science warning. The paper further states:
“Populations will not simply track the shifting climate, as adaptation in situ may address some of the challenges, and many other factors affect decisions to migrate. Nevertheless, in the absence of migration, one third of the global population is projected to experience a MAT >29 °C currently found in only 0.8% of the Earth’s land surface… As the potentially most affected regions are among the poorest in the world, where adaptive capacity is low, enhancing human development in those areas should be a priority alongside climate mitigation.”
Further, if you need more evidence and discussion, this Carbon Brief analysis shows some prospective time frames for the world to reach 2C:
  • The world will likely exceed 1.5C between 2026 and 2042 in scenarios where emissions are not rapidly reduced, with a central estimate of between 2030 and 2032.

  • The 2C threshold will likely be exceeded between 2034 and 2052 in the highest emissions scenario, with a median year of 2043.

In other words, if we don’t cut emissions, this mathematical probability becomes mathematical certainty. Sadly, to date these science warnings have largely gone unheeded by larger society. This continues despite strong public outcry for action as well as continued reprisals from well-known scientists and speakers within the climate science and environmental movements.

For example, eminent climate scientist, Professor James Hansen sometimes called the father of climate science, has been speaking out about this issue, providing warnings, and demanding action on the issue since he testified to the US Congress in 1988. However, because of continued gross negligence and failure of governments and leaders to act, Hansen and others have had to increase their demands as well as take part in civil disobedience, strikes and lawsuits.

James Hansen was arrested in 2018 for protesting. He was arrested to this prior in 2013 and 2011 as well. Additionally, James Hansen began civil actions against the oil industry in 2017 and called for a wave of climate lawsuits at that time. He also championed the landmark youth climate lawsuit, Our Children’s Trust also known as “Juliana V. US“.

Former Nasa scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilisation because judges are less likely than politicians to be in the pocket of oil, coal and gas companies.

“The judiciary is the branch of government in the US and other countries that is relatively free of bribery. And bribery is exactly what is going on,” he told the Guardian on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Bonn.

Without Hansen and his fellow Nasa researchers who raised the alarm about the effect of carbon emissions on global temperatures in the 1980s, it is possible that none of the thousands of delegates from almost 200 countries would be here.

But after three decades, he has been largely pushed to the fringes. Organisers have declined his request to speak directly to the delegates about what he sees as a threat that is still massively underestimated. Instead he spreads his message through press conferences and interviews, where he cuts a distinctive figure as an old testament-style prophet in an Indiana Jones hat.

Because the science warnings to date have gone unheeded, these court and civil actions become increasingly necessary for all of us. According to studies, more than 96% of people are concerned about the high incidence of youth and adult climate anxiety. This is only exacerbated by the lack of action on this issue. Prominent youth activists like Greta Thunberg of Fridays for Future, have asked, “this is an existential emergency, why aren’t we acting like it?”

Other groups including Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion, Burning Pink, and Just Stop Oil have also asked society this question, and now they are bringing this to the courts. We all should be.

Roger Hallam
Photo Credit: Just Stop Oil

Roger Hallam is one of the the former co-founders of Extinction Rebellion in the UK. He is also the co-founders of Burning Pink and Just Stop Oil. His message has been resounding, impassioned, and clear-headed from the start. Roger Hallam has said repeatedly that it is time to “tell the truth and act like it is real.”

Human society mobilized globally during the pandemic and did what was necessary to save lives during the height of that ongoing crisis. But we still have not done made a similar response to the climate crisis, which continues to unfold unchecked at an alarming rate.

Dr. Liz Bolten’s Plan-E is just one method that we could use to mobilize, but it has also been marginalized and ignored. This continued lack of response is a stunning bombshell considering how desperate the situation is.

Reports have discussed that continued climate inaction could cost the US alone $2 Trillion annually in the future. $2 Trillion is a massive projected expense. So why aren’t we acting like there is a crisis situation? Cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, distraction, denial and disinformation campaigns from the most powerful elite world leadership all play a part in this. Roger Hallam refers to this as the Final Death Project (explanatory video lecture).

Roger Hallam Testifies in Court, February 2023
The ongoing “Burning Pinktrial for which Roger Hallam is now giving evidence in court will be one to follow as its outcomes will impact climate justice matters, activism and civil disobedience internationally. Burning Pink (or Beyond Politics as they were first known) were a political party and direct action campaign launched in June 2020. Roger Hallam is quoted here on this matter stating the following:

Roger Hallam replied that if these civil society organisations were fully aware of what’s locked in to our future then any reasonable person would consent to an action that highlights what this means. We’re not just moving towards 2˚, but to 4˚ round about 2050 -2075 – that would mean HALF the world’s population on the move. These are estimates – it could be a lot worse (or better, if that’s the word). It’s all in gold standard peer-reviewed scientific papers.” – Real Media.Press

Again, Hallam, in his own words, is working to tell the truth and act like it’s real. Listen here to his closing remarks at the Burning Pink trial (audio). This is the only rational response, why aren’t the rest of global judiciary bodies being rational? Why aren’t the legacy media getting behind this settled science with 100% consensus? Why aren’t our governments following the science and planning to reduce fossil fuel exploration and use? Why aren’t they putting real mitigation and adaption strategies fully in place? All of these questions and more need to be answered by our highest courts, governments, leaders and society. And if they try to evade the question, we must put it to them again and again.

We are talking about billions of lives and all life in the biosphere on the line in a mass extinction event. Responsibility must be taken. Legal action must be demanded. Further, academia has woefully left climate endgames and “human extinction” dangerously unexplored. We are now in a crisis situation with billions of lives on the line and the question of human survival as a species before us. This is a tough and controversial issue. But failure is not an option.

Hallam was cleared last week of one charge along with his colleagues, according to this report in The Guardian. Hallam has been acting on his truth in this matter from the beginning. He has also been campaigning hard for all of us to get involved. Sadly, these actions are also going ignored by mainstream news and society. Even James Hansen’s court case failed in the US, although it is being appealed. The larger global society continues to shown no signs of making any real response to the climate catastrophe; despite that it is now making headlines nearly every single day.

Hallam faces major opposition. Worse still, for several years mainstream climate experts have avoided Hallam. However, in this case, if Hallam can avoid the prior mistakes of the faulty science of doomism’s prior failings, there is a chance he can rise above at this juncture, and tell the world just how close we are to catastrophe. We must stand with those who stand up to bullies on behalf, and that is exactly what Hallam is doing while the rest of us watch.

Further, all life faces major opposition in that the “banality” of the entire elite global neoliberal enterprise has not prioritized this matter, which Hallam is working doggedly, tirelessly, and thanklessly on all of our behalf to make an excellent case that this inaction constitutes gross criminal negligence on the part of the wealthy elite global owner class. The judiciary, the courts, and juries are going to play a large role in this issue moving forward. But we need still need at least a billion climate activists as Greta Thunberg has said. We need more protestors, more civil disobedience, and more lawsuits. We need everyone to get involved.

We should not imagine ourselves as having less to do than, for example, the suffragettes, the civil rights protestors or other activists throughout history who had to endure trials, suppression, violence, protest, jailing, and tribulation to make necessary changes in society. Just because we overcame these past issues in some measure, doesn’t meant the fight is over. Getting action on the climate crisis is going to take just as much strategy and difficulty. All those who want action on the climate crisis should stand in solidarity now more than ever and rise to this challenge. Brave individuals like James Hansen, Greta Thunberg and Roger Hallam are leading the way. We need a billion more like them.

Stay calm and join the rebellion.
Join Just Stop Oil, Fridays for Future, Scientist Rebellion,Scientists’ Warningand others. Follow them on social media, where your clicks matter.

Arrested Activists Should Matter to Us All: ‘For All Life’
Greta Thunberg’s recent detention in Germany was real. This has been fact checked. A lot of disinformation is now being spread that the climate strikes and actions underway globally are not real, or are staged, or are just a game for these activists. Be assured that this is real. This is not staged. It is not fake. Youth activists and adult activists are being arrested, detained, jailed, fired and fined in large numbers all over the world right now on all of our behalf and on behalf of the planet.

The least we can do is support them, follow them, give them likes and shares on social media where your clicks matter. Join them as you are inspired. This is a fight “for all life” in the biosphere as Stuart Scott, the former director of Scientists’ Warning, once said. Don’t keep calm. The Earth is being destroyed by psychopaths. Go out and make change. Let’s do this. Join them. Strike now!

~For All Life on Earth~ 🌍🌹🌱

Author: Scientists’ Warning Foundation, Science Communicator & Climate Librarian Shani Cairns
Date: February 27, 2023