Today the National Whistleblower Center is launching its new Climate Corruption Campaign, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you why I believe this campaign – and the whistleblowers who will be at the heart of it – are so badly needed.
Last month, 11,000 scientists from around the world came together to issue a clarion call: “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” They predicted that “untold suffering” would ensue without an “immense increase” in effort to address the climate crisis.
The urgent need for action is clear. We must not only bear down on proven strategies like rapidly deploying wind and solar energy. We also must finally come to grips with what is happening inside the companies producing fossil fuels, the primary source of the carbon pollution driving climate change.
Last week’s announcement by Spanish energy giant Repsol to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 was quite impressive. But the commitments of other fossil fuel companies are far less clear. In my blog, I describe recent fossil fuel industry activity suggesting that legally actionable fraud may be underway. If large-scale fraud connected to climate change is indeed happening, what can be done about it?
This is where whistleblowers come in. A host of laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and the states in the past few decades encourage whistleblowers to report corporate fraud to authorities.
The Climate Corruption Campaign will be the first sustained effort to educate potential whistleblowers in fossil fuel companies about their rights, secure them qualified attorneys, help them deliver cases to prosecutors, and when those cases lead to successful prosecutions, help them secure financial rewards. (It will soon also enlist whistleblowers to help counter the illegal timber trade, out of recognition that deforestation is another key driver of climate change.)
I truly believe that in the next three years, thanks to whistleblowers, our society will be far better positioned to hold accountable the industries that currently hold so much sway over our planet’s future.