Judgment Day: Final retribution for the ecocidal psychopaths

Feb 9, 2024
Burning world

100 Fossil Fuel CEOs directly and knowingly threaten all life on Earth.

As a medical oncologist and palliative care physician I feel a strange resonance with the modern killing fields of petromachy (the oils wars), where the true enemies, behind the mephitic black liquid, are the demonically evil, amoral, virulent, cunning, banal, and totally self-obsessed petrocrats, the fossil-fuel CEOs, whom I liken to malignant stem cells, the driving force behind the wildly necrotic (death-causing) cancers, that defy any attempt at therapeutic restraint, to terminate the lives of innocent patients, whether young or old, and often in a brutal and ghastly fashion.

The rampaging impact of fossil-fuel exploitation is truly multifarious, raising world temperatures universally and exponentially, melting vast ice shelves, triggering climate tipping points, facilitating pandemics, exterminating innumerable species, and threatening our own with extinction. This process accurately reflects the most malevolent of cancers, where fever and sepsis are common, where internal bodily controls (homeostasis) are readily transgressed, and where no tissue is safe from the infiltrating deadly ‘gestapo’ cells.

Furthermore, just as entrenched denial flourishes in all populations in the face of the incomprehensible environmental catastrophe, so too does it arise in the poor cancer patient and her family, when the threatening cloaked figure of death is seen, often lurking nearby, perhaps knocking at the door. Proposals to challenge climate denial, to enrage and activate the community, have so far been unsuccessful.

Some international judicial progress may be emerging however, on multiple fronts, with ecocide increasingly being recognised as “unlawful or wanton acts, committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.” The countries with domestic ecocide laws are France (2021), Georgia (1999), Armenia (2003), Ukraine (2001), Belarus (1999), Ecuador (2008; 2014), Kazakhstan (1997), Kyrgyzstan (1997), Moldova (2002), Russia (1996), Tajikistan (1998), Uzbekistan (1994), Vietnam (1990), with Brazil, Mexico Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Iceland, and the European Parliament currently actively considering the matter. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) lists four crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression (added 2010), with ecocide a possible fifth crime, if the Statute is amended.

Published this month, Climate Homicide: Prosecuting Big Oil for Climate Deaths represents the culmination of much legal scholarship, but generally refers to Fossil Fuel Companies (FFCs) as the criminal entity, rather than named executives, with negotiated settlements tied to the criminal conduct charged, for example: restructuring the defendant corporation into a public benefit corporation; reforming the board of the defendant corporation to include agents that will align future conduct with the public good; refraining from further exploration of fossil fuels sources, and so on. Given that 100s of millions of human deaths will have resulted from FFC activity, many would expect at least 100s of FFC executives to receive serious custodial or even capital sentences, but few are hopeful.

Somewhat similarly, Leif Wenar, in “Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World” (2015), addresses the common “resource curse” of poor non-democratic states, where exploitation and morbidity abound, with enrichment of the political elites and Big Oil , but no possible restorative solution serving all parties is ever found. Indeed, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, Venezuela’s oil minister in the early 1960s and one of the founders of OPEC, was the first to call attention to the oil curse. Oil, he said in 1975, was not black gold; it was the devil’s excrement. We are drowning in the devil’s excrement.”

FFC behaviour would seem potentially subject to terrorism legislation, such as that in Australia, as a result of threatening and intimidating behaviour, that “causes serious physical harm, creates a serious risk to the health and safety to the public, endangers life, causes death, and seriously damages property.” This behaviour seems readily amenable to legal action, should a ‘white knight’ arise.

More courage is displayed in It’s Time to Try Fossil-Fuel Executives for Crimes Against Humanity” from Jacobin (2019), beginning, “It isn’t hyperbole to say that fossil-fuel executives are mass murderers. We should put them on trial for crimes against humanity.” Just one hundred fossil fuel producers — including privately held and state-owned companies — have been responsible for 71 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released since 1988, that have already killed at least tens of thousands of people through climate-fuelled disasters worldwide, but which “could easily creep up into the hundreds of millions.” The FFC knew of their own turpitude by 1988. Furthermore, “the business model of the fossil-fuel industry is incompatible with the continued existence of anything we might recognise as human civilisation.” The FFC’s behaviour constitutes a Crime Against Humanity in the classical sense: “a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack, including murder and extermination.” Thus, the author raises the Nuremburg precedent, particularly with Royal Dutch Shell, which is based in the Netherlands, which in turn is a party to the Rome Statute.

Beyond these uninspiring propositions lie more imaginative, radical, definitive and even extra-judicial solutions to the existence of FFCs, that may be triggered by global chaos and the full horror of impending human decimation, if not human extinction.

Finally, some psychopathological observations on the behaviour of FFC executives, which may transcend the well-known Dark Triad of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, to become the Dark Polygon, which includes understandably bizarre behaviour such as necrophilia (loving death and the dead), annihilationism, petrolavia (washing in oil), petrophagy (eating fossil fuels), petrobibia (drinking oil), and the resultant faecal incontinence of the “Satanic excrement.”

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