The first trials in which the defendants were charged with “Crimes Against Humanity” took place at Nuremburg, Germany in the wake of the Second World War. Since that time, such crimes have been defined to include mass murder and genocide as well as dehumanization, extermination and “experiments” conducted on humans without their consent. The definition also includes other atrocities carried out, by order or consent (active or de facto), of a government. While crimes against humanity have not been codified into international law, efforts at creating written statutes are being undertaken by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.

While they’re at it, the people working at the Initiative need to include climate change denial as a crime against humanity.  At the top of the list of criminals who should be charged, apprehended and put on trial: Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries.

Here at The Ring of Fire, we have been posting articles for years, exposing climate change deniers and the “biostitutes” who have put obscene amounts of time and resources into making certain that the planet is forever chained to the use of toxic fossil fuels. Evidence demonstrating direct links between the use of carbon-based energy sources and global warming has existed for six decades and more. Throughout that time, courageous leaders such as President Jimmy Carter have attempted to sound the alarm. Virtually every time, those who have spoken out have been silenced by the power of Big Money – corporate interests so desperate to maintain their control over the world’s energy resources that they are willing to sacrifice our children’s future and  the very planet we live on in order to preserve their power and wealth.

Now, even Wall Street is speaking up, if only out of self-interest. Citibank recently released a report demonstrating that failure to take action on the climate now will cost $44 trillion over the next 25 years. And that’s just the financial costs. Over a year and a half ago, a study from the University of California in Berkeley noted that warming temperatures result in increased rates of violent behavior.

We haven’t even touched on droughts, rising sea levels and desertification that will surely lead to mass starvation and wipe out coastal communities throughout the world. All of this – just so the Koch Brothers, BP, Exxon-Mobil and others can continue to make obscene amounts of money and maintain their fascist control over the world’s population.  It’s not just the fossil fuel industry: defense contractors such as Raytheon is salivating over the prospect of future wars and other “security issues” that will result from the consequences of global climate change. All they see is another opportunity to profit.

These bastards are being enabled by legislators throughout the country, who are passing laws making it illegal to even talk about climate change or suppressing such information. Climate change deniers are placed in positions of power from which they can defend their pimps in the fossil fuel industries and push for legislation that will not only allow, but encourage them to continue destroying the planet in the name of profits.  Case in point: GOP Representative David Schweikert of Arizona. This isn’t just happening in the US, by the way; in 2013, newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot vowed to repeal that country’s carbon tax and other climate initiatives that had been put in place by the previous government.

At the same time, these shameless fossil fuel industry whores use their media exposure to attack scientists and others who are speaking out. Politicians such as James Imhofe of Oklahoma, whose own constituents have been affected by fracking, are one example. Pseudo-Christians like Pat Robertson think these climate-related disasters are punishments from an Almighty Deity for so-called “sins” such as homosexuality. Need we mention the gang of idiots who are riding this year’s GOP Presidential Clown Car? Even President Obama himself is unable to demonstrate consistency on the issue.

And behind it all, high-paid lobbyists like Jack Gerard, backed by corporate money, are busy bribing and threatening lawmakers who aren’t toeing the line, as well as the Oil Industry and their use of rhetoric, lies and half-truths in order to manipulate their GOP whores.

Meanwhile, as these criminals continue to line their pockets and stuff their off-shore bank accounts, the planet continues to burn – threatening to doom all of us. If this does not constitute crimes against humanity, what does?

Some nations that are currently feeling the brunt are attempting to take action. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution, declaring that climate change “poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world and has implications for the full enjoyment of human rights.” This was later affirmed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which issued a statement on the issue: “[Global climate change] will potentially have implications for the full range of human rights.”  This December, there will be yet another attempt to get the world’s nations to take meaningful action on climate change at the Conference of Parties in Paris. Hopefully, the urgency of the situation will motivate conference participants to take the problem more seriously than they did in Copenhagen, six years ago.  At the same time, several nations – including Costa Rica, Ireland, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Samoa, all of which are under immediate threat from rising sea levels – have pledged to make the issue of human rights part of the discussion and actions taken in connection with climate change.

Meanwhile, what about those responsible? A year and a half ago, our own Mike Papantonio and Progressive journalist Thom Hartmann discussed the possibility of bringing civil lawsuits against climate change deniers. It seemed like a good idea then. However, since that time, it has become increasingly apparent that global corporations and their handmaidens in government and the media have crossed the line from simple negligence to willful, criminal action.

It’s time to take off the gloves. These people and institutions are depraved murderers. We need to start labeling them as such.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.