The Brussels Diary: We're All Citizens of Europe Edition

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UKIP politicos at their publicity stunt in Brussels this week
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Alexandra Swann
On 30 June 2012 08:22

ECOCIDE

As mentioned previously, I had an 8am meeting on Wednesday morning on the subject of "Ecocide Law: A Proposal to Pave the way for a Green economy" by an annoyingly lovely lawyer named Polly Higgins. 

I call Polly's innate loveliness irritating because her proposal was so utterly bonkers it was hard to be polite, let alone take her seriously, but her intelligence and congeniality rendered courtesy imperative.

There are so few things I can say about this event that are neither offensive nor sarcastic, but I shall try.

Ms Higgins is in her own words "a lawyer who has dedicated her life to one client - the Earth'. She proposes that "Ecocide" should be the fifth crime against peace in addition to Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes of Aggression. Essentially, Polly equates human life with vegetative life and campaigns for the "well-being of all life" for, as she repeats: “if we destroy earth we destroy ourselves.”

Her arguments lacked the usual pusillanimous tedium of other Greens and her metaphors were smart; Polly compared the abolition of ecocide with the abolition of slavery - once it seemed impossible but someone took the lead - declaring we are in desperate need of a new Wilberforce. 

She believes the moral imperative of protecting the environment trumps the financial imperative of (existence, economy, growth) capitalism and calls for a new economic paradigm based on "the right values", where subsidies for renewables are greatly increased, subsidies for fossil fuels are abolished and even greater taxes are levied on carbon emissions.

We must stop seeing the Earth as a commodity, she claims, and start seeing is as a living being over which we hold a trusteeship coupled with a responsibility.

A worthy concept, Polly, but your direction is inherently flawed and your propositions impossible to implement.

Polly's suggestions would, quite simply, lead to nothing but profligate extension of taxpayer funded green lobbies and the deindustrialisation of Europe.  By equating "crimes" against the environment such as general industrial activity - not huge oil spills or burning down the Amazon - with "crimes against humanity" she is attempting to turn industrialism into a crime and thereby furthering the cause of even higher energy prices and further regulation.

Furthermore, she argues for holding people to account via a sort of ‘eco court’ - but when pollution, carbon etc are global issues and India is building 2 coal-powered power stations per week, how would she do this? Take China's government to court? Best of luck, Polly.

Worse yet, she is attempting to convert a controversial political argument - climate change - into a law; by linking human activity to climate change, then calling its externalities a ‘Crime Against Humanity’, she is committing the worst sort of eco-fascism and rendering anyone who does not believe in the agenda purported by those who advocate man made climate change a criminal.

No matter how lovely Ms Higgins may be nor indeed how rational she may make her theory sound, she is asking for the criminalisation of industrialisation and setting subsidised renewable energy as the only route to avoid such a "crime".

All she will accomplish if, God forbid, she is let loose over European Environmental policy is deindustrialisation, a further decrease in growth, higher taxes and a new set of thought police.

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