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13 Feb 2018

Desiree Llanos-Dee, Inquirer (The Philippines)

Commentary: Climate change and people power

Climate change affects everyone on the planet, yet those least responsible bear the brunt of the consequences... [But] people are finding various ways, including legal means, to demand that corporations be held to account for fueling the climate crisis, and that governments fulfill their duty to protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens. The movement is strong and diverse, and includes groups of senior women in Switzerland; youth groups in the United States, Norway, Portugal and Colombia; fishing, farming and coastal communities in the Philippines; a citizen group in the Netherlands; and individuals from Peru, New Zealand and Pakistan.

... The eyes of the world should be on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on March 26-27... [when] for the first time anywhere in the world, a national human rights institution will begin the public-hearings phase of its inquiry into the contribution of certain companies to climate-related human rights harms driven by their business of extracting and marketing fossil fuels... The CHR’s inquiry into the big carbon polluters will continue until the end of 2018, with hearings in Europe and the United States as well. This will give the companies an opportunity to engage with the CHR and prove to people affected by climate change worldwide that they are committed to being part of the solution. By early 2019, Commissioner Roberto Cadiz, head of the CHR investigation, expects to be able to issue recommendations on how the companies in question could ease the human rights impacts of their future operations. Others, like responsible investors, can help by putting pressure on them to comply.