Philippines human rights commission delivers win of the year for climate justice

Philippines - A new decision from the Philippines' Commission on Human Rights puts pressure on fossil fuel companies and is the biggest climate win so far this year.

Heavy flooding in the Philippines from tropical storm Agaton in 2021 was made worse by to the burning of fossil fuels.
Heavy flooding in the Philippines from tropical storm Agaton in 2021 was made worse by to the burning of fossil fuels.  © Bobbie ALOTA / AFP

The commission took seven years to investigate big polluters' responsibility for causing the climate crisis.

On May 3, it announced that fossil fuel companies had violated human rights by ramping up global warming and blocking efforts to stop climate change, according to Inside Climate News.

Their decision, released in a special report, calls the companies out for "extracting, producing, and selling fossil fuels", which are the direct cause of the climate crisis.

The statement is the result of seven years of investigation in a petition to hold the companies that cause climate change accountable.

Unequal climate impacts

According to Our World in Data, the island nation of the Philippines puts out a fraction of a percent of the world's yearly CO2 emissions. But it still gets slammed with worsening typhoons every year.

These heavy tropical storms have dangerously high winds and drop a lot of rain in a short amount of time.

In 2021 alone, the Philippines got hit by 15 typhoons, killing hundreds, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, and causing tens of millions of dollars in damages, according to Reuters.

The petition that led to the hugely significant investigation was sparked after super typhoon Haiyan slammed into the country, killing over 6,000 people, crushing over one million homes, and causing lasting damage that the Philippines still haven't recovered from.

The decision to place the blame for the effects of climate change squarely on fossil fuel companies doesn't carry any direct consequences yet, but it sets the stage for ongoing and future lawsuits to get the polluters to pay.

Cover photo: Bobbie ALOTA / AFP

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