630 million lives can be protected by cutting carbon emissions to 2 °C.
Carbon emissions causing 4 °C increase (7.2 °F) — a business-as-usual scenario — could lock in enough eventual sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people globally. Carbon cuts to meet the proposed international target of 2 °C increase (3.6 °F) reduces the figure, but still leaves a shortfall of 130 million environmental refugees.*
(*Estimates, mapping and report by scientific research organization Climate Central)
6 of our planetary boundaries can be prevented from exceeding their limits.
Planetary boundaries consist of nine “planetary life support systems” essential for human survival; beyond these boundaries there is a risk of “irreversible and abrupt environmental change.” A tenth boundary has subsequently been suggested to determine the health of ecosystems. 4 boundaries have already been exceeded: climate change, biosphere integrity, land system change and biogeochemical flows. **
90 Carbon Majors can be prohibited from dangerous industrial activity.
The results of the Carbon Major report provides documented evidence of dangerous industrial activity. Nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide emitted since the 1750s can be traced to the 90 largest fossil fuel and cement producers, most of which still operate. The research attributes 63% of the carbon dioxide and methane emitted between 1751 and 2010 to just 90 entities. 50 are investor-owned companies such as Chevron, Peabody, Shell, and BHP Billiton. 31 are state-owned companies such as Saudi Aramco and Statoil, and 9 are government-run industries in countries such as China, Poland, and the former Soviet Union.***
Nevermore has there been a time when the missing law of ecocide is required. Ecocide law is a legal route that will significantly abate sea-level rises, protect millions of lives and prevent serious harm to our planetary boundaries by imposing State and corporate responsibility for dangerous industrial activity and climate change. Ecocide crime protects lives, prevents planetary boundary tipping-points and prohibits dangerous industrial activity. Dangerous industrial activities and climate disasters are the ultimate responsibility of the very people who have the power to prevent the serious harm, at a State and corporate level.
The international crime of ecocide has yet to be implemented. The history of ecocide as an international crime goes back to the 1970’s. Ecocide was to be included as an international crime (both as a Crime against Peace and as a Crime of State Responsibility). But, it was removed both from the drafting of the Rome Statute and the Crimes of State Responsibility in 1996. You can read a summary of the history here.
Ecocide adversely impacts on many levels, ecological and cultural. Our emotions and our senses are affected; we can see and feel ecocide. Communities most adversely impacted by ecocide suffer solastalgia. At a collective level communities who lack solace or comfort when their home environment is under threat, feel a profound sense of isolation and intense desolation when unable to have meaningful say and impact on the state of affairs that causes their distress.
Without the sense of deep care for people and planet, our laws are singularly absent of proper governance. Ecocide law gives enforcement to a legal duty of care for the wider collective, for not only people and planet, but also future generations and the wider Earth community.
By prohibiting ecocide and creating a law that makes it mandatory for States and corporates to end corporate ecocide and significantly abate climate change ecocide, we can ensure for future generations a radically different outcome.
Justice belongs equally to both people and planet. Rebalancing the scales of justice restores and protects humanity, our Earth and its ecosystems from climate change. Moreover, with knowledge comes responsibilities. We have a moral – and ultimately a legal – obligation to ensure the safety, health and well-being of others, human and non-human. Ecocide law is Earth law; corporations and States have a duty to protect. Protection of people and planet can be done. How we choose to leave our Earth is our legacy.
- IUCN Red list of ecosystems
- Wildlife Justice Commission
- International Energy Statistics
- Stockholm Reslience Centre
- Carbon Majors
- Protected Planet
- Protect Planet Ocean
- Climate Central
Environmental Law portal: ECOLEX