Climate Change

Published on December 11th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill


Philippines Launch Human Rights Investigation Into 50 Big Polluters

December 11th, 2015 by  

The Philippines has revealed that it will launch an investigation into whether fossil fuel companies are to be held responsible for the impacts of climate change.

The announcement was made in a press conference on December 4 in Paris, during the United Nations COP21 climate change negotiations, revealing that the Philippines Commission on Human Rights (CHR) would launch an investigation on December 10 that could hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the impacts of climate change that are being felt around the world — and which are only expected to increase.

The announcement comes following a petition made by Greenpeace Southeast Asia, filed on 22 September, which called for the investigation. Greenpeace Southeast Asia was joined by 14 organizations and 20 individuals in calling for the investigation, and in excess of 100,000 signatures have been garnered in support of the initiative.

The petition requested the Philippines Commission on Human Rights:

  • to officially put these companies on notice

  • to request plans from these companies on how they intend to eliminate, remedy, and prevent damages (or threatened damages) resulting from the impacts of climate change

  • to recommend to the government that it provides a human rights mechanism where victims of climate change can be monitored and assisted

This is the first ever human rights investigation into big polluters by anyone, and will include an investigation of big companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, and more. These companies, among others, are numbered among 90 legal entities identified in a 2013 Climatic Change journal article, Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement produers, 1954—2010

“The response of the Philippines’ Human Rights Commission to the petition signals a turning point in the struggle to avoid catastrophic climate change,” said Kumi Naidoo, the International Executive Director at Greenpeace International. “It opens a critical new avenue of struggle against the fossil fuel companies driving destructive climate change.”

“This should hopefully inspire other human rights commissions around the world to take similar action. If I were a CEO of a fossil fuel company, I would be running scared. This is yet another indication that we are seeing the end of the fossil fuel era.”

“This investigation is not just about how fossil fuel companies do business, but that they do business at all in the future,” added Zelda Soriano, legal and political advisor at Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “It’s time we held those to account who are most responsible for the devastating effects of climate change.”

“We’re absolutely behind the Commission on Human Rights in seeking the opinion and cooperation of UN human rights experts and scientists, and its courageous investigation into these distant and faceless companies.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Dragon

    I hope this gets somewhere but fossil companies have a long history of corrupting the legal process with bribes to get off with a slap on the wrist, at most. Ie Chevron dumping in the Amazon ruined a huge amount of tribal land and Chevron paid some witnesses to say the prosecutor had doctored evidence. Even though the tribes won, the court eventually said Chevron didn’t need to pay anything due to the corruption charge against the prosecutor. The case has gone on for decades and is only alive because the prosecutor is so tenacious and is still trying to get money from Chevron from other countries.

    Only when fossil companies lose their tremendous war chests will we be likely to hold them accountable in any meaningful way.

    • wattleberry

      Oh yes, it won’t be pretty considering we’re trying to bring in a concept that has not really existed in human history, with evidence showing despoilation started as soon as we came on the scene. Nonetheless, when we see the continuing fall in oil values , they are likely to find that much of the contents of those chests will have evaporated .

  • wattleberry

    Wow, this momentous development marks a sea change(pardon pun) in the treatment of the FF industry, putting it firmly on the defensive. It can only accelerate its demise and could even turn into a rout.
    COP21 is likely to be remembered for the effectiveness of the concerted protests of the most at risk ocean communities, punching way above their weight.

  • sault

    Plus, they need to incorporate the fact that the fossil fuel companies knew their products were causing climate change since the early 80’s. We need to keep in mind that Exxon scientists determined climate change was real and humans were causing it around 30 years ago. Cumulative emissions up to that point can be seen as an honest mistake, but the trillion-odd tonnes of CO2 emitted since then are undoubtedly their fault.

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