Recently elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other climate change-denying politicians should be charged with “criminal negligence” for their “willful blindness,” climate expert and environmental activist David Suzuki stated in separate public appearances during a trip to Australia this week.
Abbot, who is known for his climate change denialism, came into power this month and almost immediately axed Australia's national climate watchdog, the Climate Commission. He has also promised to toss out the country's carbon-trading program.
On two separate occasions Suzuki called out Abbott and like-minded politicians for "very, very dangerous" denialism, beginning with a speech at the University of NSW on Saturday in which he accused Abbott of “criminal negligence," adding that the ultra-rich are also to blame for pushing denialism in the never-ending quest for profit:
Environmentalism is a way of seeing our place within the biosphere. That’s what the battles were fought over. The barbarians – that is, many of the politicians and corporate executives that environmentalists have been fighting all these years – are driven by a totally different set of values, by the drive for profit, for growth and for power.
And on Monday, on Australia's ABC program Q&A, Suzuki was asked, "David, you've urged, at least twice, that legal ways should be found to jail politicians for denying what you call the science of climate change. David, do you still hold that view?"
You bet. I think there is a category called willful blindness. Our problem is we have no means of holding our so-called leaders - people we elect to political office to lead us into the future - we have no way to keep them accountable, except booting them out of office. But the reverberations of what they do or do not do today are rippling far beyond the coming years. There will be generational impacts. Now, if you have people who stand up to take positions of leadership and they deliberately suppress or ignore information vital to making an informed decision, I think that's willful blindness, and willful blindness, I understand, is a legal entity that you can sue people for.
Suzuki added, "I think it’s a crazy, dangerous situation if we’re going to marginalize science in favor of political priorities. I think that’s very, very dangerous."