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6 May 2022

Philippines: Commission on Human Rights releases national inquiry on climate change & calls for carbon majors to be held accountable

In 2015, NGOs and communities impacted by typhoon Haiyan filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and asked the institution to conduct an inquiry about the alleged human rights violations resulting from climate change linked to the 47 biggest fossil fuel companies .

On 6 May 2022, the Commission released its report.

Key findings include:

  1. "Carbon Majors’ products contributed to 21.4% of global emissions (p. 99). The Carbon Majors had early awareness, notice, or knowledge of their products’ adverse impacts on the environment and climate system, at the latest, in 1965. (pp. 101-104)
  2. Carbon Majors, directly by themselves or indirectly through others, singly and/or through concerted action, engaged in willful obfuscation of climate science, which has prejudiced the right of the public to make informed decisions about their products, concealing that their products posed significant harms to the environment and the climate system. (pp. 108-109)
  3. In addition to liability anchored on acts of obfuscation of climate science, fossil-based companies may also be held to account by their shareholders for continued investments in oil explorations for largely speculative purposes. (p. 109)
  4. All acts to obfuscate climate science and delay, derail, or obstruct this transition may be a basis for liability. At the very least, they are immoral (p. 115). Climate change denial and efforts to delay the global transition from fossil fuel dependence still persists. Obstructionist efforts are driven, not by ignorance, but by greed. Fossil fuel enterprises continue to fund the electoral campaigns of politicians, with the intention of slowing down the global movement towards clean, renewable energy. (p. 110)
  5. The Carbon Majors have the corporate responsibility to undertake human rights due diligence and provide remediation (p. 110). Business enterprises, including their value chains, doing business in, or by some other reason within the jurisdiction of, the Philippines, may be compelled to undertake human rights due diligence and held accountable for failure to remediate human rights abuses arising from their business operations (pp. 113-114)."

More details on the process from Greenpeace's website here.