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Cruel Intentions — Opposition to Climate Change Response is Swiftly Becoming Illegal

“From 1957 onward, there is no doubt that Humble Oil, which is now Exxon, was clearly on notice” about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming… — Environmental Law Center’s Director Carroll Muffett in The New York Times

*****

We’ve known for some time that failing to respond to climate change is a callous cruelty of the worst kind imaginable. That continuing to burn fossil fuels and to delay a necessary transition to renewable energy will not only melt ice caps, provoke extreme weather the likes of which none of us have seen, flood coastlines and island nations, and threaten global food production, but it will also ultimately set off a hothouse mass extinction that is likely to be as bad or worse than the Permian.

We’ve known for decades now that the best, most moral, choice for human civilization is to keep those harmful fuels in the ground. To find a better way for conducting our national and global affairs and not to continue along the catastrophic business as usual emissions path. To listen to the increasingly urgent warnings posed by scientists — not the all-too-harmful dissembling of climate change deniers.

(Nature will surely grant no quarter if we do not hold the climate bad actors to account.)

And because continuing to burn fossil fuels commits so many harms on individuals, on nations, on the world, on children who are now growing up or who have yet to be born, and on the vital skein of nature itself, this activity is increasingly being viewed in the context of liability and criminality.

Corporate Support of Climate Change Denial Invites Accusations of Fraud, Consumer Protection, Environmental Law, and Securities Violations

For its actions as a leader in misinforming the public and promoting climate change denial, Exxon Mobil has found itself at the center of a maelstrom of lawsuits and investigations. The oil and gas company opposed regulations to curtail global warming. It funded organizations critical of global climate treaties and actively sought to undermine public opinion about the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by burning fossil fuels. And, in a move reminiscent of the Orwellian nightmare, the company helped to found and lead a misinformation engine called the Global Climate Coalition of businesses opposed to regulating greenhouse gas emissions. All this despite the fact that Exxon’s own scientists had previously confirmed that fossil fuel burning was indeed the cause of the warming.

By 2015, after numerous failures to respond to letters by Congressional Lawmakers and concerned citizens, Exxon was the subject of increasing scrutiny. In October of the same year, the company became the focus of a formal request from more than 40 social justice and environmental organizations to the United States Attorney General that an investigation be opened into its public deception and climate change denial campaigns. Vice President Al Gore, among other national leaders, then called for the revocation of Exxon’s articles of incorporation.

(Exxon’s own scientists told the corporation that human-caused climate change was a threat as early as the late 1950s. Exxon then spent millions of dollars to misinform the public. Image source: The Guardian.)

The outcry built as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation into Exxon’s activities. At issue was whether or not Exxon committed fraud or violated consumer protection and securities laws. Subsequently, the California Attorney General opened his own investigation into whether Exxon misinformed its shareholders, committed securities fraud, or violated environmental laws. And by mid summer of 2016, seventeen state attorney generals were involved in the growing legal action.

After various Congressional wranglings and court hearings, the case against Exxon is now headed for a New York state trial. It now appears that Exxon is likely to be found guilty of some or all of these charges. A decision that the company is likely to attempt to appeal.

Children Sue National Governments Over Human Rights and Welfare

Also in August of 2015, a group of children in Juliana vs the United States sued the federal government — arguing that its actions have endangered future generations’ rights to the degree that it threatened their survival. The government is argued to have endangered these children and to have failed in its duty to protect their access to crucial natural resources — to include a stable atmosphere and a natural world capable of sustaining the people of the United States.

(In the U.S., a variety of climate impacts ranging from sea level rise devouring coastlines, to worsening droughts, heatwaves, fires, and floods, to increasingly intense storms, to declining ocean health, air and water quality, to harm to the U.S. food and water security all threaten our children’s future well-being and survival. Their lawsuit — compelling the federal government to act decisively on climate change — continues to move forward in federal court. Image source: Common Dreams.)

The lawsuit has named President Donald Trump as a party to be held accountable. But the legal action’s overall aim is to compel the U.S. federal government to act in a decisive manner to respond to climate change in order to protect the survival and well being of future generations. The lawsuit continues to advance in federal court despite numerous calls by the fossil fuel industry and by the Trump Administration to have the case thrown out or delayed (you can read the legal argument of the plaintiffs here). At this point, the case appears likely to receive a hearing this year.

On April 1 of 2017, a similar lawsuit was also filed by 9 year old Ridhima Pandey against the government of India. Ridhima’s lawsuit argues that India, which is also the world’s third largest carbon emitter, has failed to put into action the promises it made by signing the Paris Agreement on climate change. The case also alleges that India has violated its public trust doctrine, its implied promise to provide inter-generational equality, and a number of national environmental laws. Ridhima’s lawsuit comes as India has increasingly succumbed to dangerous heatwaves, droughts, and floods which have harmed food production, provoked mass suicides by farmers, and put the water security of a number of provinces into increasing jeopardy.

UK Government Faces Lawsuit in 21 Days if it Fails to Act on Carbon Budget

In the UK, promises to cut carbon emissions are now legally binding. Britain’s Climate Change Act required the government to find a way to reduce the amount of carbon hitting the atmosphere by 57 per cent through 2032. And considerable progress has been made toward this goal as a shift away from coal precipitated a 33 percent drop from 1992 through 2014. However, the government’s reliance on fracking, its sand-bagging of renewable energy adoption policies, and its failure to more fully incentivize electric vehicles has now put it in a position where the 57 percent goal is falling out of reach.

In response, environmental law firm ClientEarth is giving the UK government 21 days to make good by producing a policy that puts emissions reductions back on track to meet 2032 goals. Failure to do so, says the firm, will result in a lawsuit against the government for not meeting its legal obligations to the public.

(Climate change denial may make you want to laugh or cry. But it’s a deadly serious matter.)

James Thornton, chief executive at ClientEarth, noted:

“We want to work with the government on a strong, effective emissions reduction plan, but all we get is never-ending delays. Government must publish the plan, and must consult with industry and civil society. If it continues to kick this can down the road, we will have no option but to consider legal action.”

Paradigm Shift Running Throughout Civil Society

Legal actions holding powerful corporations accountable for climate harms, holding governments to account for failing to provide for the welfare of future generations, and legally compelling governments to adhere to climate policy obligations represents a pivotal shift in the rules and standards governing western civil societies. It provides an institution that enables citizens and environmental watch-dogs to shape climate policy while holding bad climate actors to account. And this critical social advancement in the presently perilous age when climate impacts are now starting to be realized could not have come soon enough.

Links:

Pressure on Exxon Intensifies

What’s Scarier than the Permian Extinction? Burn all the Fossil Fuels to Find Out.

350.org

Business as Usual Emissions Path

Professor Calls Out Writer Who Misleads on Climate Change

Exxon Mobil Climate Change Contraversy

Exxon Spear-Headed Misinformation Campaign Against its Own Scientists

Children’s Climate Lawsuit Names Trump

Small Children Take on Big Oil

Kids Sue U.S. Government over Climate Change

9-Year-Old Sues Indian Government over Climate Change

UK Government Threatened with Legal Action Over Failure to Cut Emissions

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Hat tip to Erik

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61 Comments

  1. Erik Frederiksen

     /  April 12, 2017

    “Exxon’s own scientists had, since the 1980s, confirmed that fossil fuel burning was indeed the cause of the warming.”

    Even earlier. “The documents, according to the environmental law center’s director, Carroll Muffett, suggest that the industry had the underlying knowledge of climate change even 60 years ago.

    “From 1957 onward, there is no doubt that Humble Oil, which is now Exxon, was clearly on notice” about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming, he said.

    What’s more, he said, the documents show the industry was beginning to organize against regulation of air pollution.”

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Erik.

      Reply
    • Bill H

       /  April 12, 2017

      Erik, Excellent point. So much for the “everyone was worried about an ice age in the sixties and early seventies” meme. Mind you, it would be a clever ruse for the fossil fuel companies to spread such fears…..

      Reply
      • The 70s ice age yarn was the first climate misinformation campaign. It’s worth noting that even then a majority of the science was settled on warming. It might have been a 70-30 or 80-20 consensus then. But it was considerable, though not the 97 to 99 consensus that we have now.

        Reply
        • lesliegraham1

           /  April 13, 2017

          “A review of climate change literature between 1965 and 1979, undertaken in 2008, found that 44 papers “predicted, implied, or provided supporting evidence” for global warming, while only seven did so for global cooling.
          “Global cooling was never more than a minor aspect of the scientific climate change literature of the era, let alone the scientific consensus…” the reviewers remarked.”

          http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2014/01/the_myth_of_the_global_cooling_consensus.html

          It is a fact that not one of them predicted a “new ice age.”
          It is a fact that all of the papers about cooling concerned unrestricted aerosol pollution, and it is a fact that we stopped doing that.
          But then you all knew that anyway I’m sure.

  2. Witchee

     /  April 12, 2017

    Let us see if we are a nation of laws.

    Reply
  3. wili

     /  April 12, 2017

    Another in a series of back-to-back excellent posts. Very impressive. Exxon seems to have been particularly influential and culpable, but many others need to be held to account, too.

    Reply
  4. wili

     /  April 12, 2017

    NZ has been hit by ‘500 year storms’ in the past few day, but is about to be hit by an even bigger one–cyclone Cook…maybe worth a look and perhaps yet another excellent main post??!!
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/91481747/here-we-go-again-cyclone-cook-to-lash-alreadyflooded-bay-of-plenty-from-noon-today

    Reply
  5. utoutback

     /  April 12, 2017

    One of the first things I did after the release of the election results last November (other than the ripping of clothes, gnashing of teeth and screaming) was to establish a monthly donation with the NRDC. I will when possible give additional donations to organizations actively involved in this fight. Also, giving support to this site when I find a little something extra in my checking account is a must. Beyond this, I have signed on with the local Democratic Party (even though I am registered as unaffiliated) to work to remove our local Republican Congressman from office.
    Be kind, do your best and don’t give up!

    Reply
  6. kay

     /  April 12, 2017

    Best news I’ve heard since November. Thanks Robert.

    Reply
    • 🙂 Corporations are powerful. But there’s nothing that can beat people power if it’s organized and motivated and persistent. We are making gains here. No sure thing. But a few key battles are being fought and won.

      Reply
  7. Illegal? I think you’re using the wrong word there. Illegal would be against the law, what you’ve written about are the lawful actions of people in response to what they (and I) see as unlawful actions by the government.

    Sorry, I know that’s a minor quibble. I did enjoy the article and the good news in it.

    Reply
    • Opposition to climate change response is becoming illegal. Meaning that delaying action on climate change is against the law — as is pretty clearly the case now in Great Britain and, as the article notes, it’s moving that way in a number of other countries.

      Reply
      • Ok, it read awkwardly to me. I’m not a grammar nazi, honest. 🙂

        I was expecting to read an article about it being made illegal to oppose a response to climate change.

        Reply
        • OK. So I admit a bit of playing with words here to target climate change deniers and people who dislike or fear so-called illegal immigrants. My apologies for the confusion. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  8. Cruel Intentions indeed 😦
    The ISSUE of Climate Change WILL eventually make it to the US Supreme Court – making another reason we needed to have stopped the corporate serving Gorsuch.

    Why do I see the subversion of the courts to corporate dominion as an issue?
    Exxon’s former CEO now US Secretary of State is guilty of ecocide. We are all complicit in consuming the energy, directly and products indirectly, but few are as informed and corrupted (by wealth and power) to actively fund lies. (Koch Brothers being others among such villainous people.) I was asked for permission to include my petition comments in print, but hadn’t seen any of the results until I recently came across this:

    “I hope Exxon is prosecuted, and its CEOs, managers and paid PR firms who were aware of the research will be criminally prosecuted as well—for putting life on the planet at risk of extinction so as to acquire financial wealth for themselves. If possible put a lien on, then confiscate, all assets of these individuals and their heirs. No benefit should remain for the greed, and no concern is deserved for those who would risk killing our future.”

    Rudy Sovinee
    Escondido

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16122015/thousands-petition-california-attorney-general-demanding-exxon-climate-change-investigation

    Unfortunately, but well planned, the SCOTUS is now rigged against taking action. Any odds on it improving in future years? Will it even matter as the policy controls of the US are now held by deniers while the planet’s balances are stretched beyond tipping points?

    Reply
  9. oldmoses

     /  April 12, 2017

    Thank you – in a sea of tragic news, this is affirmative of goodness at work in the world.

    Reply
  10. DrTskoul

     /  April 13, 2017

    The US government and the national labs, knew too and earlier…

    Reply
  11. Troutbum52

     /  April 13, 2017

    We need to clearly understand what we are up against, see : Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction (Business, Value Creation, and Society) by Christopher Wright et al.
    Link: http://a.co/jkMoGow

    Reply
  12. Erik Frederiksen

     /  April 13, 2017

    Making the opposition to action on global warming illegal can’t come soon enough. Would you believe this?

    “a growing chorus of critics on the other end of the political spectrum say Mr. Pruitt has not gone far enough. In particular, they are angry that he has refused to challenge a landmark agency determination known as the endangerment finding, which provides the legal basis for Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and other global warming policies.

    These critics say that Mr. Pruitt is hacking only at the branches of current climate policy. They want him to pull it out by the roots.”

    Reply
    • This is the result of unregulated lobbying and misinformation by the fossil fuel industry. Basically the equivalent of a baited and blind mob screaming for blood. In this case, the blood of the Earth and a dead civilization. Spiritually, humans are increasingly being divided into two subsets — preservers and destroyers, orcs and elves. And it’s all-too-obvious what happens if the destroyers win out. The right, these days, stands for just about everything that is wrong with the world. And it must be defeated.

      Worth noting that The New York Times just hired a climate change denier from the Wall Street Journal for its op-ed page. Shame.

      Reply
    • The ice there is crashing. We might see near ice free this summer. Will probably see near ice free by the early to mid 2020s and will certainly see ice free conditions for periods by the early 2030s. Not a stable system at all. And one that will tend to swing very widely when Greenland starts to really get involved.

      Reply
  13. Bob

     /  April 13, 2017

    Thanks Robert: Although i knew most of the story in bits and pieces you put it together into a much bigger more important picture. I have said many times that the Canadian Supreme Court is our last stand against climate injustice. Mr Trudeau may yet have to face this reality as he attempts to build five major hydrocarbon pipelines across Canada. Native groups and some environmental organizations are now going to court. Looking forward to the Scientists March nest week here in Victoria. Hope others around the world are gathering too.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 13, 2017

      +1

      Reply
    • We’ve got so much work to do. The responsibility for this is falling down to the courts and the people — with the people bearing the heavier load. Trudeau may be a mile better than Harper, but he’s still miles behind where he needs to be. And poor Canada is firmly in the grips of the resource curse.

      Reply
  14. Latest presentation from Julianne Stroeve – author of “Faster than Predicted” from 2007:

    http://www.ecra-climate.eu/images/documents/GA2017/Presentations/8-March/Arctic/1_Julienne_Stroeve.pdf

    best,

    Alex

    Reply
  15. Spike

     /  April 13, 2017

    Superb article on the great East Antarctic Ice Sheet here.

    http://www.nature.com/news/antarctica-s-sleeping-ice-giant-could-wake-soon-1.21808

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  April 13, 2017

      The researchers say that they have some intriguing preliminary results from the most recent interglacial period, between 129,000 and 116,000 years ago — when the globe was as warm as it is today. The ice sheet retreated just slightly less at that time than it did during the much warmer Pliocene. “That’s a big surprise,” says van de Flierdt.

      “If the results prove to be robust, I’d say it’s really interesting,” says Maureen Raymo, a geochemist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. “This may mean that you can lose a certain amount of ice quite easily with a little bit of warming,” she says.

      Reply
      • Lately seems that warming thresholds are more important that heat over time. If that’s the case, then we’re in more trouble than we realized.

        Reply
  16. I think RS raises an important and often-overlooked point in this post. Scientists and well-informed nonscientists have expended a huge amount of time and effort arguing with or trying to convince strongly motivated vested interests and ideologues on the science of climate change.

    What may have been a good-faith discussion 30 years ago long since changed into a transparent campaign of obfuscation, delay and buying time. Every year of business as usual was (and is) worth billions of dollars in revenue to fossil fuel producers, and that pays for a lot of lies. One cannot have a scientific debate with those who are fundamentally dishonest and whose motives are antithetical to objective research.

    The strategy of taking the political, health, and economic aspects of climate change to the courts, where either a preponderance of evidence or findings beyond a reasonable doubt are the necessary thresholds for civil and criminal proceedings, respectively, may be one way to short-circuit the denier tactic of insisting on an unobtainable 99.99% scientific certainty before taking action.

    Of course Republicans have long recognized the importance of the courts in their attempts to hold back change. This is one of the reasons for their desperate measures to hold onto power and stack the courts with their preferred judges. U.S. state and federal courts are not the only legal venues in the world, but for climate change action they will be some of the most important ones over the coming years.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your insight, Magma. I couldn’t agree more. It’s like a game for some people. A cruel, harmful, what should be illegal, money-making game of deception that basically plays chicken with civilization suicide.

      Reply
    • Witchee

       /  April 13, 2017

      +1

      Reply
  17. Abel Adamski

     /  April 13, 2017

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-14/remote-community-swaps-diesel-for-solar-panels/7508300

    With the promise of cheaper power, the community transformed.

    “With solar and with [population] numbers we were able to get services. We’ve got School of the Air now because we’ve got 15 kids,” Mr Smith said.

    The increased size of the community has generated jobs as well.

    Munungurra Aboriginal Corporation won two government contracts — one to provide housing repairs and maintenance, and another running Work for the Dole programs.

    Mr McInnes believes Munungurra’s experience will be replicated.

    “After one we will do two, three, four [communities], he said. “There’s opportunities for very similar outcomes for remote communities that are reliant on diesel — it’s about saving money.”

    Worth reading

    Reply
  18. wili

     /  April 13, 2017

    Do we have any New Zealanders on here who can let us know what’s going on at ground level there? Of course, they may well have more pressing things to do right now than keep us informed!

    Reply
  19. Genomik

     /  April 13, 2017

    San Francisco has less than a million residents yet is considering spending billions to make the city safe to large storms (made worse by climate change)! This in a city, while having massive tax revenues never has enough to pay its workers and for services. Now CC related rapairs will mean less money spent on residents and city workers. I can’t even limagine the costs to elevate Miami and Mar a lago!

    “Those are steps being taken outside of the major capital investments. The City has established a standard to have a collection system that wouldn’t flood during conditions of what’s known as a five-year storm, defined as 1.3 inches of rainfall in three hours. It is the same engineering standard in other major cities like Seattle, Chicago and New York, according to SFPUC project manager Stefani Harrison.

    To improve the system to handle a more intense 100-year storm would cost $15 billion.

    “The bottom line is to get The City up to our 5-year storm level of protection, we are already looking at spending $2.3 billion,” Harrison said. She added that “if we invest that $15 billion, then we would have much more flood protection for larger storms. But in 2004, we had a 200-year storm — there is always going to be a bigger storm.” ”

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sf-may-offer-buy-homes-owners-impacted-flooding/

    Reply
    • Genomik

       /  April 13, 2017

      I guess if I was one of these home owners in flood prone areas I could sue to make the city repair, and/or bring suit to the gov to stop global warming. Even better, cities like San Francisco, facing spending 15 billion dollars, should sue the federal gov to address climate change as a smarter way to prevent spending. I’m sure a lot of this is going on but the article above does not even mention climate change. It’s a shame but maybe there’s opportunities for groups to help harness these folks disaffected by CC into large lawsuits against the gov that can really make a difference.

      I’m sure that’s already happening but in the spirit of this article, I think the courts could really be relevant here.

      As a SF taxpayer myself, I don’t want to spend $15B on repairs that never needed to happen in the first place. It’s essentially The oil industry shifting costs to taxpayers.

      I expect a lot more of this in near future as many cities are in worse shape than SF.

      What non profits etc groups are working on bringing together affected folks into lawsuits wrapped up in a CC bow?

      Reply
    • DJ

       /  April 13, 2017

      ‘ I can’t even limagine the costs to elevate Miami’. I read articles about Florida’s response to rising sea levels, and to me it just shows an astonishing refusal to come to terms with reality. Raising roads, raising seawalls, adding pumps – new residential construction elevated on pads 6″ or a foot about the surrounding ground – this is mitigation that will be good for what, 30 years at best? This is thinking to address the immediate ‘King Tide’ issue, as if it’s an issue that will pass, a cyclical problem that will go away once the cycle reverts, like there’ll be good and bad ‘King Tide’ years, not planning for a relentlessly worsening situation where EVERY year the floods are going to be worse. Sea level rise doesn’t even have the variability of ‘weather’ within the context of long term climate trends. No cooler season is going to cause the sea level to retreat, even on a temporary basis.

      I don’t mean to denigrate the efforts of the people responsible for doing what they can to deal with the immediate municipal issues, and in some ways, those people have no choice but to put band-aids on the visible wounds, and I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job given the constraints they operate under – more than I thought was being done, but in the bigger picture, the short-sightedness, the refusal to look at implications as little as 30 – 50 years into the future is mind boggling.

      Reply
      • They’re trying to catch up to present conditions. The coming conditions haven’t even been planned for really. The best thing places like Miami could do is enact 100 percent carbon free zones within their cities. Some of these cities won’t make it even if they do this. But carbon mitigation is the best chance they’ve got. You just can’t adapt if you keep burning fossil fuels.

        Reply
        • DJ

           /  April 13, 2017

          On a global level I totally agree – our only chance to avoid a ‘Permian ++’ event sometime in the next couple of hundred years is a very rapid end to FF-based carbon emissions. But for cities like Miami, I think the ship has sailed. The sea level rise that’s locked in, even if FF-based emissions were reduced to 0 tomorrow is going to cause huge disruptions for these large, sea-level urban centers. Who in Miami or Florida is talking right now about what Miami’s going to look like with sea levels 3 to 6 feet higher than they are right now?

        • DJ

           /  April 13, 2017

          I should add that I don’t want to fall victim to Dunning Kruger here – my knowledge of sea-level rise mitigation options is minimal at best, so maybe Florida has all kinds of great plans to deal with this. But it just seems like common sense that if you put your house on a 6″ pad so the water stays out when the king tide floods the road and the lawn, it’s not going to help much when the sea level’s 3 feet higher and everything except your house is under water half the day on a normal day. But again I appreciate the risks associated with ‘common sense’, I see it all the time with deniers – ‘how bad can it be if the temperature’s only 3 degrees higher – if anything the winters will be more bearable!’

  20. coloradobob

     /  April 13, 2017

    Scott Pruitt requests funds for a 24/7 fleet of bodyguards, as the EPA is poised to cut health and safety programs

    While the draft budget for the EPA obtained by the Washington Post this month shows massive cuts to environment, health, and climate change programs—including the elimination of a program to prevent childhood exposure to lead paint—it also includes a request to hire 10 additional security guards to create an around-the-clock personal security detail for Pruitt, the New York Times reports.

    https://qz.com/955875/scott-pruitt-requests-funds-for-247-fleet-of-bodyguards-as-epa-poised-to-cut-health-safety-programs/

    Reply
    • He feels he needs personal protection. Why? Because people are rightly angry about his cuts to emissions standards which will result in loss of life and worsening climate disasters.

      Reply
      • “Every administration is a mixed bag,” [Myron] Ebell tells TIME. “I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed. I would say I am anxious.”

        I can’t imagine in what reality these people have to be living to be anxious about not potentially being able to REMOVE the measures that would secure anything resembling a future for their progeny, save perhaps for getting a few dollars less and the seething contempt of those who know that what they’re seeking to do is pour fuel on humanity’s pyre.

        Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  April 13, 2017

    Rainy Season Starting Late for Dire Somalia Drought Areas

    Dr. Jeff Masters

    Somalia, site of the world’s deadliest weather-related disaster of the past 34 years–the 2010 – 2011 drought and famine, which killed 258,000 people—is under dire threat again, thanks to a multi-year drought that has gripped Eastern Africa since the second half of 2015. After the rains of the main March – June rainy season were deficient in 2016, the important “short” rains of October – November 2016 essentially failed, causing crop failures and severe food shortages. Insurance broker Aon Benfield estimated damages from the drought of $1.9 billion, with $825 million of that total for Somalia, based on the U.N. appeal for that amount of money in aid for the region. During March, at least 136 people died of hunger in Somalia due to the drought, according to the International Business Times, and hundreds more have died in a cholera outbreak this year.

    An April 5 report from Reliefweb warned:

    The humanitarian situation in Somalia is on the verge of catastrophe, and concern is growing that the trajectory is worryingly similar to Somalia’s 2011 famine disaster, when an estimated 260,000 people died. Today an estimated 6.2 million, more than half the country’s population, face acute food shortage and the number of severely malnourished children is on the rise. This desperate situation comes against a backdrop of protracted conflict that has disrupted livelihoods and vital services such as health and water, sinking the country deeper into crisis.

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/rainy-season-starting-late-dire-somalia-drought-areas

    Reply
  22. Re the Twitter post: “We are the biggest disappointment of all species” … can we change that to “We are the biggest disappointment of all cultures and economic systems”? To be fair, the climate change emergency was not created by “humans” but by the Western / EuroAmerican worldview, patriarchal anti-nature culture, and increasingly globalized economy.

    Reply
    • A bit too vague, really. You can’t blame the entire west. The primary responsibility rests at the feet of the fossil fuel industry — wherever it resides. Anti-western sentiment is vastly counter-productive when western liberal institutions are a primary factor pushing responsible solutions (UN etc).

      Reply

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