The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change

By Kathleen Dean Moore
Orion Magazine
November 9-12, 2021

As activists in the streets of Glasgow make clear, climate change is not only a global environmental catastrophe, but a global crisis of justice. In a series of four articles, climate ethics writer Kathleen Dean Moore reports on an international human rights court ruling that transnational fossil fuel corporations and governments, in collusion, are directly violating rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

ORION magazine online is releasing an article each day, November 9 through 12. On Friday, November 12, the entire series will be available together.

The articles can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 11/9/21. “The Human Rights Case Against Climate Change”

In the first, and so far only, case of its kind, an international Tribunal of ten judges found that “there exists an axis of betrayal between transnational oil and gas corporations and governments,” which threatens the greatest violation of human rights the world has ever seen.

Wednesday, 11/10/21. “Fracking and Climate Change Violate the Human Right to Clean Water”

A recent judgment from an international rights Tribunal condemned “deadly large-scale experiments in poisoning humans and nonhumans that the fracking industry is currently conducting in violation of the Nuremberg Code.”

Thursday, 11/11/21. “Climate Change Violates the Right to Life”

It will not do to say, “It’s too bad that an estimated 83 million people will die from the effects of climate change in this century alone, but that is the price we have to pay to stay in a business that annually earns $2.1 trillion, as it keeps the lights on and the world economy growing.” A human life is not a chit, something that can be cashed in for something else.

Friday, 11/12/21. “Follow the Science. Follow the Money. Follow Your Conscience.”

Climate change is fundamentally a moral crisis and can be powerfully confronted on that field of engagement. Steeped in a toxic mix of capitalism and colonialism, causing wise-spread suffering and injustice, the fossil fuel industry is in terrible moral peril. “We’re not going to win this as bean counters,” Naomi Klein wrote. “We’re going to win because this is an issue of values, human rights, right and wrong.”

The articles are based on a new book, Bearing Witness: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change, ed. Thomas A. Kerns and Kathleen Dean Moore, published by Oregon State University Press.