Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Is rendering countries uninhabitable terrorism?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-01

New Scientist and Scientific American are now saying that a "tipping point" has been reached with the climate, and that massive readjustments are necessary, including mass migration away from the equator, and large areas once dependent on glaciers for food and water (including Spain) will become unproductive if not uninhabitable.

If giving aid and comfort to terrorists who would destroy a city, even in ignorance, is treated as a serious crime, then perhaps politicians who have given aid and comfort to highly damaging industries that are about to render entire countries uninhabitable should be treated likewise.

So… giving carbon credits to industries like coal?  Especially when none can claim ignorance of the damage?

  • "Sue Big Carbon like Big Tobacco" (2008-01-03)
  • "Economic Destruction Is Terrorism" (2008-01-03) includes comments from the Australian Attorney General’s website by Prof Taylor on the equivalence of wilful economic destruction (one consequence of climate change) with terrorism, even to the relatively insignificant (in climate terms) destruction wrought by corporate shenanigans.
  • Kevin Rudd described the arsonists that set fire to Eastern Victoria in the early 2009 as terrorists
  • "The scope of treason and sedition: Has the executive offended?" (2007-08-01) looks at interpretations of the criminal code, and changes mooted under Howard (I cannot remember if they got through) that include economic damage under treason and/or sedition.

7 Responses to “Is rendering countries uninhabitable terrorism?”

  1. Jacques Chester said


    Terrorism is violence against civilians, meant to inspire fear, in order to achieve some political goal.

    If it gets applied to everything it loses its meaning.

    Terrorism is becoming for the “right” what fascism has been for the “left” for years: a general label applied to anything or anyone they dislike.

    But let’s try and keep its meaning clear.

    • zombinol said

      Fear also comes from the sovereign protecting its economic interests by turning justice on its head, the anti terrorist laws effectively reinstated some form of sovereign law at the expense of common law.

      And the doctrine of preemption or as we used to call it – “being the aggressor and launching the first attack of the conflict”. This also instills fear and is a form of terrorism.

  2. opit said

    Complaining about your semantics leads me to want to consider another category : Genocide.

  3. Dave Bath said

    Point taken about terminology, however, KRudd used it for arsonists (which I wouldn’t), and in "Economic Destruction is Terrorism" (2008-11-03) you can see a paper at the Fed Att Gnl website by Prof Taylor on the equivalence of economic destruction and terrorism based on the severity of the outcome. Similarly grave offences include treason and sedition, which includes economic actions (see "The scope of treason and sedition: Has the executive offended?" (2007-08-01) which provides a link to paper on the semantics of sedition under Howard, with sedition and/or treason including actions where “The aim might be to dissuade tourists from visiting Australia or to damage the economy.”

    I should probably add these to the “see also/notes” section of this post.

    Opit@2: Yep… Genocide… Crimes against humanity…. good call. The apparatus already exists, so perhaps those countries that are extremely affected first can start on the case already.

    Whatever the terminology, the actions/inactions that will lead with 99% certainty to massive destruction can probably already be classified as massive crimes with international applicability. If I was to release a virus that integrated oncogenes into the host genomes of humans and/or food sources, with the exact timing of effects unknown (but probably within 50 years), that would be a crime of similar proportions to climate-based destruction, and with similar fuzziness on the times and victims. Would the release of an oncogenic retrovirus today that wouldn’t have much effect for decades be considered a crime that could be prosecuted now?

  4. opit said

    Chris Floyd had a ‘gotcha’ moment with me today : not that he isn’t entitled. Sometimes fantasies seem all that are left
    Two points I’m afraid : Belgium will no longer support international warrants ( if Rick B at Ten Percent on WordPress was right : I’ve learned he doesn’t have to blow hot air ) and the Organization took steps to head it off years ago
    Which led me to muse : ‘I wonder what Australian legislation – besides the War Measures Act and Official Secrets Act – might have been passed to provide PYA for Russ et alii? Just a thought.

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