This Friday, April 22nd (Earth Day), OR Books will publish Climate Defense Project co-founder and staff attorney Ted Hamilton’s new volume on climate change and the law. Beyond Fossil Law: Climate, Courts, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future follows the courtroom battles of the Valve Turners as they sought to assert the climate necessity defense and justify their climate direct action. The book also examines how the legal system facilitates the degradation of the climate and how activists and advocates are crafting a new law of climate justice. You can purchase copies here, and check out Ted’s appearances at Yale Law School and on Leonard Lopate at Large. A fuller description of the book is below:
Beyond Fossil Law: Climate, Courts, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future answers a pressing question for the future of the planet: why is it legal for companies to pump dangerous gases into the atmosphere but illegal for regular people to stop them? Reviewing the current state of “fossil law”—the rules and regulations that allow the disruption of the global climate system—the book explains how financial interest, colonial power, and outmoded legal ideas block efforts to prevent global warming. Moving from a historical account of the origins of fossil law to ongoing battles to criminalize climate activism, the book reveals how courts, prosecutors, and police enforce the dominance of the fossil fuel industry.
But people are fighting back. Beyond Fossil Law tells the story of the Valve Turners, a group of climate activists who successfully stopped the flow of tar-sands oil to the United States in 2016. Their courtroom battles to justify an act of civil disobedience were a major step forward in crafting a new, democratic law of climate justice. Ted Hamilton examines similar efforts to dismantle fossil law, from the rights of nature movement in Latin America to groundbreaking lawsuits against governments in the United States and Europe. He shows how climate legal activism is closely linked to grassroots campaigns against government and industry abuse, and offers strategies for crafting a new law of climate justice.