In the Spring / Summer of 2019, while Australia is burning and insurance companies are starting to fess up that homes are un-insurable, Australia's PM hugs the very people to whom he denies there is a link between climate change and bush fires. Half of Australia looks the other way while the rest are gobsmacked at the guile and just plain creepiness of the positioning.Meantime in court rooms around the world, environmentalists are increasingly bringing governments and companies to account. In the past, many of these cases haven't gotten up as wins, but that is starting to change. These kinds of cases not only have the direct impact of the outcome of the specific case, which is usually far reaching, but they also influence what is considered to be acceptable around here. For instance, laws are (slowly) changing to put responsibility on the producers of products to be responsible for the life cycle of products. (Think about plastic packaging.)Ironically, it's not even the win that's making the big differences. It's the confessions, the exposures and the realisations. The confessions of who knew. The knowledge of what they knew. What they chose to cover up or act on. And what is likely to happen next.
People of the State of New York v. Exxon Mobil Corp. is a lawsuit filed on October 24, 2018, in the New York Supreme Court. The suit alleges fraud by Exxon Mobil Corporation to mislead the company's investors about management of risks posed by climate change.In a New York court room this past week, Exxon ex chief Rex Tillerson confessed that Exxon knew climate change was a real issue (and 'with us forever more'), but asserted that Exxon couldn't really be blamed for their actions as Exxon was only providing products that were demanded by society...Tillerson said that consumers were complicit in the devil's deal as their never ending demand for higher standards of living were directly linked to fossil fuels.
A Dutch court upheld a legal order on the Dutch government this month to accelerate carbon emissions cuts and put all governments on notice that they must act or be held to account. One of two newly opened coal plants, which under emissions reduction targets should never have been started, will have to be shut down to comply with the original court ruling, according to a report by CE Delft in 2016.
There are literally hundreds of cases in play around the world where environmentalists, children and citizens are taking governments to court and governments are taking corporations to court for environmental damage and fraud.
During the UN summit this year, a group of 16 children from five continents, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, filed a legal complaint against five countries in a bid to force legal changes to amplify the fight against climate change.
As Scott Morrison gave his sincerity hugs out to people who had lost everything in bush fires and wondered what a country responsible for only 1.3 percent of global emissions could do, many other Australians heard the words of Dutch Judge Tan de Sonnaville: “ANY POSTPONEMENT OF EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS EXACERBATES THE RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT CANNOT HIDE BEHIND OTHER COUNTRIES’ EMISSIONS. IT HAS AN INDEPENDENT DUTY TO REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM ITS OWN TERRITORY.”The chief executive of Climate Analytics, Bill Hare, an Australian co-author of Brown to Green, a report on the performance of G20 countries, told Guardian Australia:
“AUSTRALIA IS BEHIND [ON] CLIMATE ACTION IN NEARLY EVERY DIMENSION. AUSTRALIA’S EMISSIONS ARE INCREASING AND THERE’S VIRTUALLY NO POLICY IN PLACE TO REDUCE THEM.”
THE LEADERSHIP OF THE COUNTRY IS EFFECTIVELY TELLING LIES ABOUT THEIR PERFORMANCE, AND CONTRADICTING THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT’S INFORMATION."
In the end, even if Scomo plays patsy, the rest of us are on the internet and reporting from around the world is intensifying with every basis point of temperature.