One of Britain’s most popular musicians is getting behind a Europe-wide campaign to force mandatory caps on emissions of carbon dioxide. Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke says cutting emissions is a matter of global survival.
Thom Yorke: “We are the oldest economies in the carbon sense of the word and we have a moral responsibility, each and everyone of us, to not just do stuff on our own because that’s not good enough, we have a moral responsibility to turn around and change the way we live and the only way we’ll ever change the way we live is to get our governments to re-write laws gradually, make us change in a way that we can understand, in a way that we can cope with. If we don’t do it, that’s it.’’
The Friends of the Earth’s “Big Ask Europe” campaign seeks a 30% emissions cut by 2020 and a 90% cut by 2050.
Nationwide Vigils for Gay Teen Slain in Apparent Hate Crime
Back in the United States, candlelight vigils continue across the country for a gay teenager murdered in an apparent hate crime. Fourteen-year-old Lawrence King of Oxnord, California was declared brain-dead on February 13th, one day after a classmate shot him twice in the head during a morning class. The suspect, fourteen year-old Brandon David McInerney, has been charged with murder and a hate crime. Students at the school say King was often taunted over his sexuality. McInerney and other male students had apparently confronted him on other occasions. King was living in a shelter for abused and troubled children at the time of his murder. A memorial website has been established at rememberinglawrence.com.
Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Exxon Valdez Suit
The Supreme Court has heard arguments in ExxonMobil’s attempt to overturn a $2.5 billion punitive judgment for the 1989 Alaska oil spill. Exxon is seeking annulment of the damages, already halved from $5 billion by a lower court two years ago. Brian O’Neill is the lawyer for more than 32,000 Alaska residents seeking damages from Exxon.
Brian O’Neill: “Punitive damages are not only for deterrence. They are also for punishment. These guys have not been punished one bit. Even today, they think they have done nothing wrong. So, punishment is needed. If you hurt 32,000 people, you hurt the livelihoods of 32,000 people, you rip apart the economy of South-Central Alaska, then you ought to be punished severely. Hopefully, they will be punished."
Exxon has already paid more than $3 billion in penalties but the $2.5 billion would go towards residents’ long-term damage. Earlier this month Exxon reported a quarterly profit of $11.7 billion dollars—the highest ever for an American company. Justice Samuel Alito has recused himself from the hearings because he owns ExxonMobil stock.
Alaskan Tribe Sues 24 Companies for Village Erosion
Meanwhile Exxon has been hit with another lawsuit in Alaska. Native-American residents from the island village of Kivalina are suing Exxon and twenty-three other energy companies for the erosion of their village. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in a US District Court, lawyers for the federally recognized tribe argued that the companies have contributed to global warming that is causing the village to flood and forcing residents to relocate.