Searching For Justice Against The World’s Worst Mass Murderers.

Let’s talk about climate change as what it really is.

Mass murder.

I do not mean attempted or planned mass murder.

I’m using present tense on purpose.

It’s happening right now.

In 2021, the world’s largest study of mortality related to global climate linked five million deaths each year to abnormal temperatures. {1}

In the same year, two other studies came out which raised further alarms:

One of the studies finds the number of deaths caused by high temperatures increased by 74% globally between 1980 and 2016. Deaths related to extreme cold increased 31% since 1990, a new report, the first of its kind, finds.

And those numbers may actually be fifty times larger.

The news that environmental activists in Montana won a historic case, with a judge ruling "that Montana’s oil and gas policies are infringing on young people’s constitutional rights to a safe environment," is good to hear.

That a freshman congressperson from New Mexico has introduced a "bill aimed at compensating oil field workers and immediate relatives for uninsured medical costs related to air pollution and heat-related illness" is a nice change of pace.

But they still seem like a very dim light in a world — quite literally — on fire.

But they may be more useful than it appears.

Trying to hold those responsible for climate change as responsible for criminal murder charges would be near impossible.

But it certainly seems like the Montana ruling has now created a precedent acknowledging that climate change, caused by emissions from fossil fuels, creates an unsafe environment. The proposed federal legislation — should it become law — also explicitly ties temperature increases and illness.

We have international research studies that quantify how unsafe that environment is, to the tally of several million deaths annually.

And we know that fossil fuel companies — and their individual executives — were aware of climate change, its effects, and their role in it decades ago.

They knew what they were doing. They did it anyway. They tried to hide evidence that they did it. And millions of people — real people — have died because of their actions.

And that, to me, sounds like it could just be grounds for a whole mess of civil wrongful death lawsuits. Filed not against large corporations, but the individuals serving on the boards of those corporations. The lawmakers who have accepted their lobbying (screw you, Manchin, your yacht, and your epi-pen price-gouging daughter). All of them.

After all, they knew decades ago what the effects of their actions would be, and they still haven’t stopped. They actively misled the public about climate change. Their actions directly opposed efforts to halt climate change. This is not a secret.

Every person involved in any of those actions is personally responsible for those who have died this year and every year due to temperature and weather related events.

Every. Last. One.

They knew what they were doing. They did it anyway. They tried to hide evidence that they did it. And millions of people — real people — have died because of their actions.

We must do everything possible to hold them accountable for their premeditated crimes.

I am not a lawyer, and have never been. My basis for this idea is based off of some quick — very quick — research. And I have no clue what legal mechanisms are available outside of the US to be able to drag these individuals — not just the corporations, but the individuals — into court.

That said, there is enough evidence out there, enough already tied together by published and acknowledged research as well as judiciary precedent, that I hope those who are familiar with jurisprudence will take this idea and turn it into a whole mess of lawsuits and a whole lot of justice.

And in the meantime, as the entirety of humanity looks down the barrel of a gun loaded by fossil fuel executives and their political cronies, well… I’ll just say I wouldn’t want to be one of the people who did anything to help load that environmental gun.

{1} As an aside to the "pro-life" crowd, that’s more than five times the number of deaths than there were abortions per year in the US. Figure your priorities out.

Featured Image by Kristina Kasputienė from Pixabay