I ask you to consider this:
If climate change can reasonably be expected to cause severe consequences, including large-scale loss of material goods, wealth, land, livelihood, and life; and
If any person intentionally conceals the extent of the consequences or their likelihood of occurring; or
If any person intentionally prevents action to forestall those consequences;
Then, regardless of that person’s motivation, he surely commits a crime against humanity and deserves to be tried accordingly.*
Given that there is considerable evidence in favour of climate change occurring, that it is dangerous and will only get more so, that Exxon has given substantial contributions to organizations and individuals whose job it is to obfuscate the truth about climate change, and that Rex Tillerson has been the responsible person at Exxon during the time of the contributions, I believe there is sufficient evidence to charge Rex Tillerson with crimes against humanity.
The prosecution could call virtually any climate scientist working in the field today. Mr. Tillerson’s richly compensated defence team can only counter with paid shills possessing highly dubious credentials. Some previously worked with the tobacco companies to conceal the truth about the danger of cigarette smoking. Many still do.
Some will see this charge as overdue. Others will see it as the work of an insane “environmentalist.” I suggest that, if Copenhagen turns out to be a dud, and if the rich people and companies and countries keep getting richer while many others are driven from the land by desertification, sea level rise and storms, the spread of pests, and other signs of the End Times, that there will be blowback.
It is not impossible that some of the countries first affected will do something desperate, like geoengineering without international approval. Bangladesh, for example, will be devastated by even a small sea level rise or stronger storms; their country is virtually flat and right at sea level.
The Bangladeshis might look at climate change rather more urgently than we do. 100 million people will be displaced by each metre of sea level rise – a level looking all too likely to occur this century.
Many of them will be Bangladeshis, or from other countries that will be partially drowned, that will see tens of millions driven inland into already crowded areas, that will see tens of millions lose their homes, their businesses, their properties – to become climate refugees. There may be 50 million climate refugees by 2010.
Nobody has to worry much about repercussions from the tiny nations already or about to be gone (Tuvalu and Maldives, for example); too powerless. But a group of these nations, united in common cause – and a crisis of this nature will surely help cooperation in this manner – could decide to “do something.” And who could blame them?
But perhaps a less destabilizing first step could be arresting Rex Tillerson and charging him with crimes against humanity, for deliberately acting to conceal the threat from climate change and for stalling action on protecting ourselves. Why would Bangladesh and the other climactically-damaged countries not arrest Rex Tillerson and any other paid denier they could get their hands on?
With or without UN support, which the US would no doubt veto anyway? At some point, people will be driven to desperation because they have nothing to lose. And they may well hold some of our corporate titans and their scientific prostitutes and paid shills to a higher moral standard than we yet have.
* I realise that the charge of crimes against humanity applies only to “a government or a de facto authority,” but this is the other end of the stick that corporate leaders picked up when they decided to make it their business to “influence” governments.
Editor's note: Watch out for Brian's next installment: The Case for Treason.
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