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article imageDenial of climate change is 'evil,' says head of Elders group

By Karen Graham     Mar 26, 2019 in Environment
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former UN special envoy for climate change says that denial of climate change is not just ignorant, but a “malign and evil," as it denies human rights to the most vulnerable.
Robinson made her verbal attack in a speech on Tuesday at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) at Kew in London. Ms. Robinson is also being awarded the annual Kew International Medal for her “integral work on climate justice."
According to the RBG press release, not only is Mary Robinson a world-leading advocate for environmental and human rights, but she was also the first female President of Ireland. "Mary is a member of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to work for peace, justice, and human rights," according to the RBG.
Robinson also told The Guardian she supports climate protests and school strikes for climate founded by “superstar” Greta Thunberg.
Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish political activist seeking to stop global warming and climate change. She hit the international spotlight when she addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2018, and the World Economic Forum at Davos in January this year.
Robinson said, “there is room for civil disobedience as a way of communicating, though we also need hope," a reference to the young people of the world who are taking global warming seriously.
In her speech at Kew, Robinson was very forthright in speaking about the impacts and the ignorance of climate change deniers. She said, “I believe that climate change denial is not just ignorant, it is malign, it is evil, and it amounts to an attempt to deny human rights to some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.”
n Somalia  some 363 000 children under five are malnourished  of whom 71 000 are severely malnourish...
n Somalia, some 363,000 children under five are malnourished, of whom 71,000 are severely malnourished and face a high risk of disease and death.
“The evidence about the effects of climate change is incontrovertible, and the moral case for urgent action indisputable. Climate change undermines the enjoyment of the full range of human rights – from the right to life, to food, to shelter and to health. It is an injustice that the people who have contributed least to the causes of the problem suffer the worst impacts of climate change.”
Robinson's angry words come from seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand. She said, “In Africa, I saw the devastating impacts on poor farmers, villagers and communities when they could not predict when the rainy season was going to come.”
The petroleum industry has lost its legitimacy
Robinson attacked the oil, gas, and coal companies in her speech, saying “We have entered a new reality where fossil fuel companies have lost their legitimacy and social license to operate.” These are harsh words for an industry that is more concerned about profits than global warming.
A passing car shows the scale of a petroleum coke pile on Chicago s South Side. (May 4  2015).
A passing car shows the scale of a petroleum coke pile on Chicago's South Side. (May 4, 2015).
The UK government also got a tongue-lashing for the £4.8 billion support given by its export finance body for fossil fuels from 2010-16. The UK is not the only nation that has done this. The U.S. readily sells the dregs of heavy oil from Canada to India. Petroleum coke or pet coke is the bottom-of-the-barrel leftovers from the refining of Canadian oilsands crude oil and other heavy oils.
“It stirs painful memories of past exploitative behavior to see the UK and other rich, industrialized countries proclaim their good intentions and act in a progressive way at home, whilst effectively exporting their emissions to poorer foreign countries and leaving them to pay the price socially and environmentally.”
US President Donald Trump has made dismantaling key Obama-era policies on healthcare  the environmen...
US President Donald Trump has made dismantaling key Obama-era policies on healthcare, the environment and immigration a cornerstone of his young administration
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
U.S.President Donald Trump was also criticized by Robinson for his “egregious act of climate irresponsibility” in withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. “Bad leadership has consequences now that are really bad for the people in the poorest communities, including in the US,” she told The Guardian.
Robinson may be just one voice. However, with the youth climate movement taking place around the world today, Robinson will be joined by millions of voices of those inspired to take up the torch with their children. The science is not fake news, nor is it a hoax, contrary to what climate change deniers think.
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