47 firms called to answer alleged human rights violations on climate change

47 firms called to answer alleged human rights violations on climate change

Companies involved in the manufacture and retail of fossil fuel products have been called to respond to alleged human rights violations regarding climate change.

Filipinos and civil society organizations, including Greenpeace Southeast Asia, have filed a legal petition against 47 energy companies. This makes it the first national human rights investigation on climate change.

These 47 companies include the Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total, GlenCore Suncor, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) already sent copies of the complaint to the involved companies of “the world’s largest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement producers.” The companies are expected to submit their response within 45 days.

“We just want to live a decent and peaceful life, without fear and being at the mercy of big corporations that only care for their profits. Our only choice is to defend our rights. We want those most responsible to be held accountable. We want justice and to regain the ability to protect the little that we have left for our children”, said Veronica Cabe, one of the petitioners from Bataan. Communities are against coal storage and proposals for a new coal-fired plant in the area.

The petition also asked the CHR to require the companies to submit plans on their plants to “eliminate, remedy, and prevent the devastating effects of climate change,” and to monitor the people and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“Ultimately, those who have profited most from pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must bear the burden of preventing the havoc already being wreaked by climate change. This is the first step in that process. The courageous Filipino people are the first to put the world’s largest carbon producers on notice that they must account for their emissions,” said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

This would be the first time that the CHR will take steps in addressing the impacts of climate change on human rights and making private sectors accountable for what they do. Hearings are expected to commence in October this year, Greenpeace Philippines said.

The petitioners are also calling the companies’ business plans into question and asking the governments across the world to keep fuels in the ground.