The world’s first national inquiry into the human rights impacts of climate change takes a crucial leap forward today, as the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights hears evidence at a two-day hearing in Manila.
ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and 44 of the world’s biggest producers of fossil fuel products have been summoned by the Commission to answer charges of endangering people’s lives and livelihoods by knowingly contributing to dangerous climate change.
ClientEarth lawyer Sam Hunter Jones said: “This is a huge moment in the fight to make fossil fuel producers pay their fair share of climate change costs. These companies have made life increasingly dangerous for the people of the Philippines and around the world, and there is mounting evidence that they have known the risks of their activities for at least the past 50 years.”
“Climate change threatens human rights, including people’s rights to life, food, water, sanitation, housing and health. Climate change must be viewed through this lens, and the Philippines investigation promises to set an important global precedent. We call on these multinationals to participate fully in the hearing and hope that the Commission will find that governments and companies must act now to protect people from extreme weather and rising seas.”
The complaint was originally made by Greenpeace Southeast Asia, along with 13 other NGOs and 18 individuals. They claim the companies knew about the devastating impact of their business but did not cut emissions to protect people.
Hunter Jones added: “It is now time for the world’s biggest producers of fossil fuel products to explain how they will lend their weight to the most important challenge of our time.”