An open letter to those who signed the lawyers’ statement on the global death project

“There is a special place in Hell for those who stand by in a moral crisis” Dante

Heating the planet kills people. The more time passes, the worse it gets. The worse it gets, the more people will die. But planetary heating is not an accident. It is a consequence of a set of deliberate actions. Specifically the action of putting carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. 

How should we view the actions of governments and corporations that commit significant resources to ensuring that our societies and economies remain hooked on fossil fuels? They know full well that the consequences of their actions will be mass loss of life. To plan to continue emitting carbon, knowing full well that it will result in the death of millions, constitutes mass murder.  The governments and corporations behind these plans are guilty of crimes against humanity.

The public letter that you have signed Lawyers for 1.5˚C – humanity’s lifeline acknowledges as much by stating that there is “substantial evidence that breaching the 1.5 ̊C temperature goal established by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change risks mass loss of life and threatens the conditions for a stable civilisation, including the rule of law” and that “there is substantial evidence that governments and businesses, individually and collectively, continue to pursue courses of action which they know to be inconsistent with that limit.”

Agreeing that this reality is happening by signing a public letter and then not acting directly to stop such a monstrous event is an act of cowardice beyond description. Lawyers, at least those with integrity and honour, have risen up against criminal governments dozens of times in the past two hundred years. Why are you not following their example?

By providing legal services to fossil fuel corporations and governments in their pursuit of “extracting every last drop of oil and gas” you could be seen as aiding and abetting the commission of a crime. Do you want to face trial for complicity in murder? Those who are young today, but will suffer tomorrow will expect justice.  As you stand by and allow the murder of people in the Global South today, as shown by the recent events in Pakistan, so they will stand by at your upcoming day of reckoning. Justice will be done and will be seen to be done.

This is not an elite intellectual game, this is mass genocide imposed on the poorest most vulnerable people on the planet by the rich and powerful, knowingly facilitated by you and your colleagues. Last week you looked on while fifty of your fellow citizens were imprisoned for acting to stop this genocidal death project. More political incarcerations in one week than at any time since the Suffragettes. The judiciary has exposed those citizens to the abuse and violence of our prisons and you know what prisons are like.

Now it’s your turn to act. Pray for your forgiveness. Take hold of whatever courage you can muster. And go gracefully into battle. 

Here’s how to start:

  1. Publicly apologise to our young people for your failure in the face of thirty years of overwhelming evidence detailing the destruction of conditions required for humanity to survive.
  2. Make another public statement, detailing that it is unconstitutional, illegal, and utterly immoral for any UK lawyer or judge to participate in the prosecution of climate protesters. 
  3. Then blockade the oil refineries and depots until you too are jailed and your face is pushed into blood and urine in some dark corner of a British prison cell. 

To speak to lawyers entering civil resistance email [email protected]

Just Stop Oil

28 September 2022