Green Criminology and Global Warming


Scientific Essay, 2008

7 Pages, Grade: 84


[Green Criminology and global warming]

[Taking a critical analysis of the greening of criminology with a more specific look at global warming and various external and internal factors. This paper also provides approaches aimed at controlling environmental crime.]

Global warming is one environmental issue among many; however, it is the greatest threat facing the human species. By in large, global warming is not caused by any given individual’s negligence, but by the very structure of industrial capitalism. Most of global warming comes as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from large corporations. It is hard to overly criticize these large capitalist corporations considering almost every person in Western civilization uses something made by them. That does not give them an excuse; large corporations still cause irreversible damage to the environment. It is a capitalist crime against humanity. With greater global awareness, the environment has become a significant and more pertinent topic for scholars. More specifically, scholars have realized the need for collaborative input by all involved actors, including criminologists, which has lead to the greening of criminology. Criminology is the social science approach to the study of criminal activities. As more academia agree that environmental degradation is actually a crime and should be treated as such, there has been greater need for criminologists. The real problem with global warming lies within the lack of centralized command or control. It is almost impossible to attack environmental crime when there is no unity in direction among countries. This paper will analyze the current global conditions concerning environmental crime, as well as identify any possible solutions or obstacles to solving this global epidemic with green criminology.

As in most cases with new areas of thought, such as green criminology, there is some ambiguity of definitions. The environment simply refers to all living and non-living things naturally occurring on earth. Therefore, environmental crime is any unnecessary or excessive degradation to these specified things. Although commentators can use the term environmental crime for this situation, environmental criminology is a term that already belongs to the study of crime in specific environments; therefore scholars coined the term green criminology. Green criminology has a large depth of environmental crimes such as spilling hazardous waste, marine depletion, water depletion, and global warming to name a few.[1] The environmental crime analyzed in this paper is global warming caused by companies’ unlawful dumping of greenhouse gas emissions. More specifically, it is emissions produced by large corporations and transnationals.[2] Greenhouse gas emissions should be the greatest concern for green criminology, simply for the fact that it is so far reaching. No matter where the crime occurs, the results are felt by plants, animals and people everywhere. Knowing this, it is a rather alarming stat that “the burning of fossil fuels releases about 6 billion tons of carbon into the air each year”.[3] To put that in perspective, a fully-loaded Boing 747 jumbo jet weighs about 4000 tons[4] and thus one would need 1.5 million jets to equal just the burning of fossil fuels, which is still only a portion of total global warming. In typical social movement fashion, the environment slowly became more apparent in global debates and discussions over time. By the “late twentieth century, the work of environmentalists, in conjunction with other non-governmental social movements, directly or indirectly challenged the hegemony of the state and market definitions of criminality and other social evils.” (toxic p.11) In other words, the definition of crime was broadened to include otherwise overseen instances such as white collar crime, including pollution. Criminologists were at first reluctant to accept environmental degradation as crime. As global awareness rose, the government of Canada established and implemented the Canadian Environmental Protection Act which includes six specific schedules. By making certain environmental crimes illegal, it instantaneously introduced criminologists into the study of the environment and its degradation.


[1] Eamonn, C., Lee, M., Plummer, K., South, N., and Iganski, P. (2004) Criminology – A Sociological Introduction. The Greening of Criminology. Routledge: UK. p.315

[2] Beirne, P., and South, N. Eds. (2007) Issues in Green Criminology: Confronting harms against environments, humanity and other animals. The corporate colonisation of nature. Willian Publishing. p.232

[3] Eamonn, C., Lee, M., Plummer, K., South, N., and Iganski, P. (2004) Criminology – A Sociological Introduction. The Greening of Criminology. Routledge: UK. p.317

[4] Boeing. (2008) 747 Family. Technical Statistics. Accessed on Dec. 12 2008. (

Excerpt out of 7 pages


Green Criminology and Global Warming
Ottawa University
Special Topics in Criminology
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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420 KB
7 works cited
green, criminology, global, warming, introduction
Quote paper
Cory Contini (Author), 2008, Green Criminology and Global Warming, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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