FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Trump’s Crime Against Humanity

There is a different and better case to be made for the impeachment of President Trump than what we have seen so far.

The current charges against Trump raised by the Democrats–collusion with foreign governments to subvert American elections, obstruction of justice, emoluments, tax evasion, etc.–are serious enough, if proven.

But there’s a far worse charge to be laid at his feet: climate change denial as a crime against humanity. And no even Trump’s denying it.

Climate change denial, as the Wikipedia tells us, is “denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its impacts on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions.”

Not only has Trump denied any human role in climate change; he has also purposely and systematically obstructed attempts to remedy its consequences. In the face of overwhelming evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are accelerating global warming, and putting millions of people at risk for property and life, the Trump administration has insisted on promoting fossil fuel energy at the expense of renewables.

Depriving people of a viable future–which is what Trump’s anti-climate policies amount to–would seem to quality, by any measure, as a crime against humanity. His policies, unlike any of the other impeachment accusations he currently faces, pose an existential threat to humanity. This is precisely what youth activist Greta Thunberg and many others have been trying to point out.

Crimes against humanity were first articulated at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, where they were broadly defined as systematic, harmful actions taken by organized forces against a general population. These include, it is important to note, not only the atrocities we usually think of (genocide, etc.), but other high crimes such as political repression, racial discrimination, and religious persecution.

The pursuit of crimes against humanity needs more support than current international institutions seem able to provide. Their perpetrators too often escape arrest and trial. By contrast, the very act of filing articles of impeachment citing climate change denial as a crime against humanity would greatly help to substantiate it as the serious crime it appears to be.

A Congressional impeachment in the United States on the basis of climate change denial would establish, in one decisive step, if successful, a constitutionally sanctioned precedent applicable to all federal officials in the United States. It would also give a much-needed push towards accelerating the shift in national energy policy from fossil fuels to renewables. Not least, it would be an example to the world.

Impeaching Trump as a climate change denier would apply the constitutional power of impeachment to the reconstruction of social and environmental justice, including corresponding changes in public policy. It would mean that the most democratic organ of the federal government, the House of Representatives, would use an important, legitimate tool of governance–impeachment–to defend the public interest.

Impeachment is a political and constitutional, not a legal, process. All it takes is for 218 members of the House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against any federal official for any reason that they can agree to call a crime. Conviction and removal from office require the assent of two-thirds of the Senate.

The only punishment constitutionally allowed, removal from office, is sufficient for the purposes of good government. Other penalties for such crimes, if any, would have to be separately adjudicated through the legal system.

The Founders saw impeachment as a last resort, to be used only when other constitutional mechanisms of government no longer function to secure justice. We have arguably reached that point on climate change issues. And just as Trump constitutionally won office losing the popular vote while gaining a majority in the electoral college, just so Trump can constitutionally be impeached, even on a partisan vote, by the House. Call it following a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

But the Senate will never convict him, we are told. Fine, let them take on the onus of defending a climate change denier. Republicans have been concerned to put Democrats on the record regarding impeachment. Democrats ought to be equally concerned to put Republicans on the record regarding climate change. It’s time to hold people accountable.

More articles by:

Adrian Kuzminski is a scholar, writer and citizen activist who has written a wide variety of books on economics, politics, and democracy. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What the Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
David Yearsley
Watching Star Wars in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail