Fossil fuel firms 'could be sued' for climate change

(The Independent, 10 Dec 2019) Filipino human rights committee finds world’s biggest oil companies have legal and moral responsibilities to act, as Greta Thunberg says children's rights being violated.

The world’s most polluting companies could be sued for their contributions to global warming, a major human rights inquiry has found in what has been described as a “landmark victory for climate justice”.

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 announcement was made by commissioner Roberto Cadiz during COP25 international climate talks in Madrid, which have seen a growing focus on human rights issues.

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.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Yeb Saño described the inquiry’s conclusions as a “landmark victory for climate justice”.

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The Independent, 10 Dec 2019: Fossil fuel firms 'could be sued' for climate change