PARIS (Agencies): A petition has been filed with the Philippine Human Rights Commission against what is termed Carbon Majors for the violation of the people’s human rights resulting from the impact on climate change from their high level polluting industrial activity in the country.
Twenty individuals and 13 environmental groups in The Philippines have signed the petition, which was filed in September.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Paris on November 6, a signatory to the petition, Father Edu Gariguez, from the National Secretariat for Social Action Caritas, said that there is a need to run after the big polluters, including coal, oil and gas producers for what he called their climate sins.
CBCP News reported him as saying, “What is worse is that the poor and the marginalised are the ones who have suffered most from the threats of these climate change induced actions by these big polluters.”
The petition quotes Climate Communications, Overview: Current Extreme Weather and Climate Change, as saying, “The various possible factors contributing to the occurrence of super-typhoons like Yolanda and other extreme weather events now include human-induced climate change. Natural variability is now occurring on top of, and interacting with, background conditions that have already been altered by long-term climate change. According to scientific experts, ‘(w)hile natural variability continues to play a key role, climate change has shifted the odds and changed the natural limits, making certain types of extreme weather more frequent and more intense’.”
Father Gariguez said in Paris, “We are no longer strangers to strong typhoons such as Yolanda and the recent Lando, which spell indescribable miseries to our people. If we don’t act now and do something to stop polluters from harming further our environment, then when are we going to do it?”
The petition names 50 multinational companies as respondents of the petition, which is believed to be the first human rights complaints against big polluters.
Ten of these companies have branches or subsidiaries in The Philippines: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton, BP, Anglo American, Lafarge, Holcim, Taiheiyo Cement Corporation.
Human Rights commissioners, Roberto Cadiz and Gwen Pimentel-Gana are also in Paris for the Climate Change negotiations.