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Thread: Should issues of Climate Change be criminalised?

  1. #1 Should issues of Climate Change be criminalised? 
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    Hi, i was just wondering whether is legislation in place that criminalises actions affecting climate change?
    And if not, would it be possible to introduce legislation with the aim of criminalising climate change causes?
    Also if anyone even has any possible legislationg suggestions for combatting possible climate change causes that would be great!


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  3. #2  
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    The first thing to look at is how well other laws prohibiting or regulating environmental dangers work.

    We've done a lot to clean up many rivers from the worst of their obvious pollution, but not all rivers and not all pollutants. Contamination of soils and cutting down forests are both subject to various legal restrictions in most countries - and their effect and their enforcement varies from mild through ghastly to counter-productive.

    The two major successful programs in the environmental arena were the Montreal Protocol to outlaw CFCs gobbling up the ozone layer (the biggest culprits were just about to run out of their patent rights anyway) and the Air Quality Agreement/ Acid Rain Treaty reducing aerosols that were killing forests and the fish in lakes.

    Those models were what I thought we were working towards back in the 90s for CO2 emissions, but that process has been delayed because it's more like the tobacco failure than those other matters that were more successfully pursued and acted on.

    NO laws of this kind have ever been passed, let alone successfully enforced, without support from industry or the public at large or both.


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  4. #3  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The first thing to look at is how well other laws prohibiting or regulating environmental dangers work.

    We've done a lot to clean up many rivers from the worst of their obvious pollution, but not all rivers and not all pollutants. Contamination of soils and cutting down forests are both subject to various legal restrictions in most countries - and their effect and their enforcement varies from mild through ghastly to counter-productive.

    The two major successful programs in the environmental arena were the Montreal Protocol to outlaw CFCs gobbling up the ozone layer (the biggest culprits were just about to run out of their patent rights anyway) and the Air Quality Agreement/ Acid Rain Treaty reducing aerosols that were killing forests and the fish in lakes.

    Those models were what I thought we were working towards back in the 90s for CO2 emissions, but that process has been delayed because it's more like the tobacco failure than those other matters that were more successfully pursued and acted on.

    NO laws of this kind have ever been passed, let alone successfully enforced, without support from industry or the public at large or both.
    The UK Clean Air Act has criminal penalties, so certainly in the UK it could be done, given sufficient popular support as you say.

    Most of such environmental legislation requires a body of settled expert consensus, but there is no reason why legislation cannot help lead popular opinion. In fact is hard for popular opinion to form at all on scientific topics without something that disturbs the status quo and gets people's attention. Governments that supinely wait (usually for ever) for popular opinion to form before acting are either using it as an excuse for inaction or are showing no statesmanship.

    I think in Europe now the science is settled and popular opinion understands it enough for appropriate legislation. In N america and Australia, there seems to be a big and raucous lobby claiming the science is all stitch-up by lefties (like you ).

    The big question though is what would one legislate against, or in favour of? Carbon emissions are an inescapable fact of our lives and will be for some time to come. So I'm not sure I can think of any activities that could be criminalised for the private citizen. It may therefore be that instruments such as carbon taxes to drive frugal behaviour are more practical in the real world.
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