Should we start suing fossil fuel companies for damages linked to climate change?
Ahaha that was a trick question. Of course we fucking should.
Here’s a thought experiment.
Climate change is real. The effects of climate change are destructive. People die because of climate change. Businesses lose millions of dollars. Economies lost billions. Some countries are in danger of being completely obliterated.
So, keeping that in mind, should climate change denial be a crime?
It’s amazing how many people will reflexively balk at that idea,1 so let me put it another way. Should it be illegal–for a given definition of “illegal”–for tobacco companies to deny, or at least act as if they deny, smoking causes cancer? Because, spoiler alert: it kind of is, at least in practice (tobacco companies can’t advertise cigarettes as having “health benefits” any more, for example).
So, I ask again: climate change is real and climate change is destructive. Should acting like it isn’t–particularly in the course of enriching ones own interests–be considered criminal negligence?
So you know how there’s that whole “97% of scientific papers on climate change agree anthropogenic global warming is real” thing? Which has the corollary that “3% of papers don’t”?
Well. Someone reviewed that outlying 3%. Guess what they found? No, seriously. You’ll be shocked, I’m sure.
Incidentally, I have a childhood friend who moved to the US as an adult and married a climate scientist. She (the climate scientist, also an ex-pat Aussie) got so sick of, basically, people at dinner parties being like “GEORGE SOROS CONSPIRACY!” that she retrained and got a job doing compliance for a Wall Street finance company. Oh, and also opened a hipster cafe in Brooklyn.
So you see? You see what climate denialism does? It makes otherwise perfectly nice academics get jobs in finance and contribute to gentrification! Talk about damaging effects…