Philippines Commission on Human Rights reveals at COP 25 world's most polluting companies can be sued for contributions to global warming

John Englart

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Author: Amnesty International

« Philippines. La décision historique de la Commission des droits humains ouvre la voie aux actions en justice liées au climat » 9 décembre 2019

En réaction à l’annonce de la Commission philippine des droits humains selon laquelle 47 entreprises exploitant les énergies fossiles pourraient être amenées à répondre de violations des droits des citoyens du pays pour les dommages causés par le changement climatique, Ashfaq Khalfan, directeur du programme Droit et politique d’Amnesty International, a déclaré : « La Commission philippine des droits humains a fait naître lundi 9 décembre une lueur d’espoir pour les victimes de la crise climatique. C’est la toute première fois qu’un organe de protection des droits humains statue que les entreprises exploitant les énergies fossiles peuvent être considérées comme légalement responsables des atteintes aux droits humains liées au changement climatique. Même si la décision de la Commission n’entraîne pas de sanctions immédiates pour les entreprises en question, son annonce historique crée un précédent juridique majeur. Elle ouvre la porte à d’autres actions en justice, et même à des enquêtes judiciaires, au terme desquelles les entreprises exploitant les énergies fossiles et d’autres grands pollueurs pourraient soit être obligés à payer des dommages et intérêts, soit voir leurs responsables condamnés à des peines d’emprisonnement pour les préjudices liés au changement climatique. Cette décision affirme également que les entreprises exploitant les énergies fossiles doivent respecter les droits humains et investir dans les énergies propres. »

 

 

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9 December 2019

Carbon Majors Can Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations, Philippines Commission Rules

Author: Isabella Kaminski, Climate Liability News

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.”

 

 

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9 December 2019

Fossil fuel firms 'could be sued' for climate change

Author: Isabella Kaminski, Independent (UK)

The head of a Philippines Commission on Human Rights panel, which has been investigating climate change for three years, revealed its conclusions on Monday that major fossil fuel firms may be held legally responsible for the impacts of their carbon emissions...

The commission was tasked in 2016 by Greenpeace South-East Asia and other local environmental groups whether 47 of the world's biggest fossil fuel firms – including Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Total – were violating the rights of Filipino citizens. It held hearings in Manila, New York and London where it heard from scientists, lawyers and people who had suffered from climate-related disasters.

Its final report, which has yet to be published, will say that these companies have clear legal and moral responsibilities to act, which includes shifting away from fossil fuels and investing in cleaner energy sources...

He [Greenpeace South Asia Executive Director, Yeb Saño] noted that a growing number of cases related to climate change are now being filed in courts across the world "and with the conclusion of this investigation, we believe many more communities will take a stand against fossil fuel companies that are putting profit before people".

ExxonMobil, for example, one of the world's largest oil and gas firms, has faced multiple legal challenges from US states and shareholders who claim it misled investors and the public over the real risks of climate change. And in Germany, utility firm RWE is being sued by Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya whose home is at risk from a melting glacier...

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9 December 2019

Philippines: Landmark decision by Human Rights Commission paves way for climate litigation

Author: Amnesty International

Responding to the announcement by the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights that 47 major fossil fuel and carbon-polluting companies could be held accountable for violating the rights of its citizens for the damage caused by climate change, Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International’s Director of Law and Policy said:

“The Philippines Human Rights Commission has today created a beacon of hope for the victims of the climate crisis.  This is the first time ever that a human rights body has said that fossil fuel corporations can be been found legally responsible for human rights harms linked to climate change. 

“While the Commission’s decision has no immediate penalties for the companies in question, their landmark announcement creates a major legal precedent. It opens the door for further litigation, and even criminal investigations, that could see fossil fuel companies and other major polluters either forced to pay damages, or their officials sent to jail for harms linked to climate change. The decision also affirms that fossil fuel companies have to respect human rights and invest in clean energy.

“We in the human rights community need to seize on the momentum created by this decision to hold polluters and governments to account.”

 

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