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Why do we wait till an individual has passed away prior to we honour them? I think we should really overcome our embarrassment, and say it though they are with us. In this spirit, I want to inform you about the planet-altering perform of Polly Higgins.

She is a barrister who has devoted her life to developing an international crime of ecocide. This indicates really serious harm to, or destruction of, the organic planet and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people today who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to other folks, though developing a legal duty of care for life on Earth.

It would force everyone contemplating big-scale vandalism to ask themselves, ‘Will I finish up in the Hague for this?’

I think it would modify every little thing. It would radically shift the balance of energy, forcing everyone contemplating big-scale vandalism to ask themselves: “Will I finish up in the international criminal court for this?” It could make the distinction among a habitable and an uninhabitable planet.

There are no efficient safeguards stopping a couple of strong people today, providers or states from wreaking havoc for the sake of profit or energy. Although their actions may possibly lead to the death of millions, they know they cannot be touched. Their impunity, as they engage in prospective mass murder, reveals a gaping hole in international law.

Final week, for instance, the investigation group InfluenceMap reported that the world’s 5 greatest publicly listed oil and gas providers, led by BP and Shell, are spending practically $200m a year on lobbying to delay efforts to avoid climate breakdown.

George Monbiot