Quantcast

Fracking Goes on Trial

Energy

Just as the British government slashes subsidies for solar power and gears up to open up large swathes of the countryside to fracking, a coalition of human rights lawyers and academics have announced an international tribunal to put fracking “on trial."

A coalition of human rights lawyers and academics have announced an international tribunal to put fracking “on trial."

Based on a descendent of the Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal of the 60's, the so-called Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), which is based in Rome, is an internationally recognized public opinion tribunal. It functions independently of state jurisdictions.

From June 1979 to the present date, the PPT has held some 40 sessions, including examining the world’s worst chemical disaster at Bhopal in the early 80's which killed thousands of people, injuring hundreds of thousands.

Tribunals apply internationally recognized human rights law and policy to cases brought before them and are nearly identical to traditional courtroom proceedings.

What this allows is ordinary people to compile and submit prima facie evidence about how the shale gas industry has impacted their health, their environment, their livelihood or human rights.

Hearings will be held both in the U.S., which has been at the forefront of the fracking boom and the UK and will take place in front of 5 to 7 jurists experts in international human rights law.

This said, the PPT will be inviting witness testimony from citizens all over the world who will be invited to also hold preliminary mini-tribunals in their own country.

The experts will then decide whether there is sufficient evidence to indict certain nation states on charges of “failing to adequately uphold universal human rights as a result of allowing unconventional oil and gas extraction in their jurisdictions.”

One of the organizers, Dr Tom Kerns, director of the Environment and Human Rights Advisory in Oregon said: “The Tribunal will consider the human rights dimensions of a range of potential impacts: human and animal health, environmental, climatic, seismic, hydrologic and economic impacts, as well as those on local physical and social infrastructures.”

Dr Damien Short, director of the Human Rights Consortium at the University of London and another one of the instigators of the PPT, added that “Fracking has taken place around the world in spite of serious public opposition and with large numbers of people alleging that their human rights have been ignored by those who supposedly represent them. This PPT aims to consider those allegations in an even handed and judicial way.”

The hearings are not due to start until the Spring of 2017, giving communities affected by fracking enough time to compile the evidence of impact and harm.

Meanwhile, the British government’s plans to slash subsidies to solar was widely condemned yesterday. Britain’s sole Green MP, Caroline Lucas labelled the government plans as “short sighted”.

“This cut would further undermine Britain’s commitment to meeting our climate change targets and deepen our addiction to dirty fossil fuels,” she said.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Mayors Flock to Vatican to Sign Pope Francis’ Climate Declaration

Citizens Can Sue Fracking Companies for Earthquake Damage, Says Oklahoma Supreme Court

Fracking Democracy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less