Carbon Majors Can Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations, Philippines Commission Rules
The world’s biggest polluters could be held legally liable for their contributions to climate change, a major national inquiry into the links between climate and human rights has concluded.
The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights announced its conclusion on Monday following a nearly three-year investigation into whether 47 of the world’s biggest fossil fuel firms—known as the Carbon Majors—could be held accountable for violating the rights of its citizens for the damage caused by global warming. The commission was responding to a 2016 petition from Greenpeace South-East Asia and other local groups.
Commissioner Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz said the commission found these companies, which include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and Repsol, played a clear role in anthropogenic climate change and could be held legally liable for its impacts. He made the announcement during the United Nations climate talks in Madrid (COP25).
Legal responsibility for climate damage is not covered by current international human rights law, Cadiz said the commission had found, but fossil fuel companies have a “clear moral responsibility.” He said it would be up to individual countries to pass strong legislation and establish legal liability in their courts, but that there was clear scope under existing civil law in the Philippines to take action...
Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), said the commission’s recognition that there is evidence of criminal intent in the companies’ climate denial and obstruction is “particularly significant and a major development for the carbon majors.”