Environment group lauds results of probe into fossil fuel violations

December 10, 2019

ENVIRONMENTAL group  Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) yesterday lauded the results of the 3-year investigation of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) into the accountability of the 47 biggest fossil fuel firms in the world for climate related human rights violations against Filipinos, which were publicly announced at a COP25 side event in Madrid.

Represented by CHR commissioner Roberto Cadiz, the CHR explained that the investigation, which it took on in 2016 upon the petition of more than a dozen civil society groups and affected communities, affirmed the reality of today’s climate emergency and its largely anthropogenic nature, and found that ‘carbon majors’ or largely polluting companies can be held liable for their contributions to climate change.

“The CHR’s statement is welcome news, especially as we observe the International Human Rights Day. For the longest time, these Carbon Majors have been recklessly emitting pollutants with no regard for the social impacts of their actions. The investigation’s trailblazing findings serve as a splash of cold water to these dirty fuel giants’ faces. No longer can they feign ignorance or shut their eyes from the reality of climate vulnerability that communities from the Philippines and across the globe have been forced to endure,” said Gerry Arances, executive director of CEED.

“The CHR’s landmark conclusion is a glimmer of hope to climate vulnerable and fossil fuel affected communities, because it basically said that ensuring people struggling to defend their rights to life and well-being are able to do so is an obligation of carbon majors. Failure to protect human rights would place them in violation of moral and, in as of yet particular circumstances, legal violations.”

The commission clarified that while the report does not bear sanctions for the 47 companies, it showed that there is room for the Philippines to already take action with existing laws. It also paves a path for jurisdictions across the globe to establish legal accountability by strengthening and creating legislation.

“We are in hopes that the CHR findings would initiate a domino effect in the climate justice conversation,” said Arances.