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39 Ecology L.Q. 831 (2012)
Deceitful Tongues: Is Climate Change Denial a Crime

handle is hein.journals/eclawq39 and id is 851 raw text is: Deceitful Tongues: Is Climate Change
Denial a Crime?
William C. Tucker*
The consequences of global warming and associated climate changes are
now apparent. No longer can there be any doubt that anthropogenic (human-
caused) warming of the Earth is happening, caused mainly by greenhouse gas
emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, from burning fossil fuels. Climate change
poses a grave threat to humankind. The world is already experiencing the
consequences of global warming: more frequent and prolonged droughts,
increasingly severe and more frequent storms, rising sea levels worldwide
threatening coastal and vulnerable island populations, the melting of mountain
glaciers and polar ice sheets, increased intensity of tropical cyclones and
hurricanes, and more frequent and widespread fires. Without immediate action
to curb greenhouse gas emissions, climate change can only get worse. In the
period since the issue of global warming was brought to the attention of the
general public in the late 1980s, both the legislative and the executive branches
of the United States government have launched a number of initiatives to assess
the threat and formulate policies to address it. Nevertheless, two decades later
the United States government has failed to take effective measures to address
climate change domestically or to assert international leadership on achieving
meaningful carbon emission reductions. It is now well-documented that a shift
in public opinion and failure of political will on climate change took place at
the turn of the millennium, a change which can be largely attributed to a
sophisticated, nationwide public relations campaign designed to conceal the
dangers of burning fossil fuels from the American public by deceiving it as to
the true state of climate science. Yet this deception is arguably punishable as
Copyright C 2012 Regents of the University of California.
. William C. Tucker, A.B. cum laude Harvard College, J.D. Northeastern U. School of Law, is
an Assistant Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II. He is writing here in
his individual capacity and not as government counsel. All opinions expressed herein, including but not
limited to positions on legal or policy issues, are entirely his own and are not to be construed as those of
EPA or of the United States. Furthermore, this paper is not an indictment and does not and is not
intended to allege any criminal or tortious actions on the part of any specific individual, corporation, or
organization. Its purpose is rather to begin a public discussion of whether the deceptive practices
described herein, given their potentially devastating consequences to humanity, rise to the level of
criminal fraud under U.S. law.


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