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A man holds a sign reading 'Stop climate crime'

Climate activists from the group Extinction Rebellion take to the streets of Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021 under heavy police presence to protest against political inaction on climate change, and to demand climate justice. The protest takes place as Glasgow hosts the United Nations climate change conference COP26, where world leaders gather to negotiate a response to the ongoing climate crisis and emergency.

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The submission is a comment on the Office of the Prosecutors environmental crimes policy.

"The ICC was established to end impunity for the most serious crimes,” reads the submission. Addressing the impunity of those propagating deliberate disinformation on global warming is an essential step to stopping the ongoing expansion of fossil fuels, which is threatening humanity and the living planet.”

The comment follows the WCCs submission Climate Change Disinformation: The Need for Legal Development” to the ICC in December 2023.

In the comment, the WCC recommends that two types of criminal acts be addressed under the current Rome Statute as environmental crimes. 

The first is climate disinformation. Whether the disinformation comes from the fossil fuel company executives, or from those funded and acting on their behalf, it is lethal given the small window of time left to avoid the irreversibility of climate catastrophe,” reads the comment. The harm to the physical and mental health of children and young people and the threat to their very survival require this recognition.”

The second is financing new fossil fuel extraction and exploitation. Holding accountable the banks and asset owners that continue financing new fossil fuel extraction and exploitation is a matter of survival for today's children and future generations,” reads the comment. Maximizing fossil fuel profits regardless of the harm caused to the world's population is the origin of extreme physical and psychological suffering.”

The most significant distress is carried by the world's children, the comment notes. 

Leaders of the fossil fuel industry and their partners responsible for these crimes must be held accountable,” concludes the comment.

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay noted that the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2022, identified climate justice and sustainable development as an important aspect of the WCCs work. 

It gives me great joy to know that the WCC is making some very significant climate-related contributions, especially in seeking to secure the future of children who will be most affected in the years to come,” he said. Caring for the earth—which is the Lords, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1)—requires decisive, intentional actions.”

WCC's work on Care for creation and climate justice

WCC's Engagement for Children