Climate Homicide

All-male panels, Tortuguita, and a car powered on free-range chickens


“No prosecutor in any jurisdiction is bringing homicide charges of any kind against fossil fuel companies for even a single death related to climate change,” Public Citizen’s David Arkush and law professor Donald Braman write in “Climate Homicide,” a draft law-review paper. “They should.”

Their extensive essay lays out how fossil-fuel companies are guilty of many legal variations of homicide: “negligent homicide, manslaughter, misdemeanor manslaughter, depraved and malignant heart murder, and felony murder.”

“In the United States, corporations have been held criminally liable—including for homicide—for over a century,” they note. A fossil-fuel company found guilty of murder could be broken up, restructured as a public benefit corporations, fined, and have executives jailed.

As they warn, “if our criminal legal system cannot focus more intently on climate crimes—and soon—we may leave future generations with significantly less for the law to protect.”

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Well, there’s diversity in grooming.

Congress is lurching back into business this week. On Wednesday, the anti-clean-water, pro-highway-expansion Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) helms the first House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing under GOP control, with an organizational meeting followed by an all-white-male panel about the transportation supply chain. Coincidentally, Graves is also a white man!

Also on Wednesday, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) are chairing a pointedly bipartisan hearing on the Farm Bill’s trade and agricultural titles with administration officials; this is an all-female panel! USDA officials Alexis Taylor and Jenny Moffit and USAID official Sarah Charles are the witnesses.

On Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) kicks off the session with a hearing on the Department of Energy’s implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; one expects him to be less interested in the energy-efficiency programs and more in FEED Studies for Production of CMM from Coal-Based Resources and the Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program. Manchin’s current anti-climate crusade is trying to kill the electric-vehicle incentives in his own Inflation Reduction Act.

Climate hawk Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is challenging Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) for the 2024 election. Sinema continues to caucus with the Senate Democrats, and incumbents are trying to stay mum on who they support. Sinema, like Manchin, was one of the attendees of the Davos wankfest. Slate’s Christina Cautarucci mocked the Davos coverage from Semafor’s Ben Smith, whoclocked Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—who, in a possible biblical reference, dressed in sheep’s clothing—at a party hosted by Anthony Scaramucci.”

David Peisner mournfully updated his profile of Tortuguita, the soft-spoken prison-abolitionist who was one of the leading spirits of the South River Forest encampment against Cop City. Peisner’s story about them was first published in December; a month later, Tortuguita was slain by Atlanta-area police. In a prophetic interview with Peisner, Tortuguita said:

“What I’m saying is, if they do a huge crackdown and completely try to crush the movement, they’ll succeed at hurting some people, they’ll succeed at destroying some infrastructure, but they’re not going to succeed at stopping the movement. That’s just going to strengthen the movement. It will draw a lot of attention to the movement. If enough people decide to do this with nonviolent action, you can overwhelm the infrastructure. That’s something they fear more than violence in the streets. Because violence in the streets, they’ll win. They have the guns for it. We don’t.”

Georgia police claim that Tortuguita (aka Manuel Teran) shot at them with a handgun he had purchased in 2020 before they gunned the activist down.

Fossil fascist Tucker Carlson, who blames affirmative action for the police murder of Tyre Nichols, is also blaming wind farms for the deaths of whales. No mention of the relentless warming of the oceans.

I was chugging along reading Lee Harris’s deep dive into Ithaca’s pursuit of decarbonized electrification through a thicket of public and private initiatives (many of which flow through Jigar Shah, who co-founded clean-tech investment firm Generate Capital and now runs the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office). Hired to lead the effort is Donnel Baird’s BlocPower, whose business model is opaque and, Harris found, changes depending on whom you ask, but apparently includes “environmental justice carbon offset tokens” on the blockchain. Makes you think!

Climate denial is surging on Elon Musk’s Twitter, and fossil-fuel companies spent nearly $4 million on Facebook to spread climate misinformation during COP27.

From Reclaim Finance: “Citigroup and Bank of America have done more to support the expansion of fossil-fuel companies than any other lenders claiming to target net-zero financed emissions.”

Bill McKibben’s Third Act is organizing a national day of action against the banks on March 21, 2023.

CLIMATE CASH: The Carmack Collective is accepting applications for its $10,000 exploratory grants, and the Global Warming Mitigation Project is accepting applications for its ten $50,000 Keeling Curve Prizes.

GOOD MOVES: Former Power Shift ED Dany Sigwalt is now managing director of the Green Leadership Trust. ProPublica journalist Rachel Glickhouse has joined Grist to manage reporting partnerships.

JERBS: NPR is hiring a climate editor ($120K, DC preferred) and a climate and health reporter ($102.5K, DC preferred); both are one-year grant-funded positions. The youth climate activism group Our Climate is seeking an executive director ($100K-$120K, DC). The Union of Concerned Scientists is hiring a director of government affairs for their climate and energy program ($148K-$167K, DC) and a managing director for their climate and energy program ($200K-$220K, Cambridge, Mass).

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