Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for climate change: Greenpeace

Press release - December 12, 2013
Quezon City, Philippines—Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for the deaths and damages brought on by climate change impacts, Greenpeace said today in a press conference in Quezon City. The group exposed an independent, ground-breaking study(1) that names 90 companies responsible for more than 60% of the world’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and called on the Filipino people, as victims of climate change, to demand that the culprits be responsible for the harm they have caused.

The report, “Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010,” published last month in the scientific journal Climactic Change, estimates how much oil, coal and natural gas has been extracted since the industrial revolution and how much these resources had contributed to the current levels of carbon in the atmosphere. This means that those who have been the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions so far can now be named and challenged on their contribution to climate change and the impacts we are now experiencing. Among the worst climate culprits are oil companies Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Saudi Aramco, Gazprom and Shell. Most of the named companies have not let up their plans to exploit more fossil fuels which will continue to damage the climate while they reap the financial benefits at the cost of the environment.

“This report is significant because we are able to name the culprits. We can now pinpoint, fingerpoint and hold companies accountable for climate pollution,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. “In the same way that we can hold factories accountable, for example, for dumping toxic chemicals in a lake and endangering lives, we should be able to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for dumping greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and abetting climate change effects like extreme weather which can destroy whole cities.”

“In the past decade alone, extreme typhoons have cost the Philippines tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions in damages,” said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry continues to rake in profits to the detriment of the people and the planet. As one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change impacts, it’s about time that we--as a nation--hold these companies liable for their role in abetting global warming and our addiction to fossil fuels.”

Greenpeace is calling on President Benigno Aquino III to take the lead in seeking climate justice by holding fossil fuel corporations accountable for the loss of lives and tens of billions in damages caused by climate change impacts. This can be done through exploring legal action by the Philippines in an international court.

Meanwhile, the environment group also called on the government to develop a sustainable master-plan for climate resilience for the country which includes establishing decentralized renewable energy (RE) systems. This can start with the rehabilitation plans of provinces devastated by Yolanda. With the massive and costly work needed to get Eastern Visayas back on its feet, Greenpeace said that the Philippine government must rebuild the country with climate resilience firmly in mind.

“If the country is aiming to be climate-proofed, it must avoid, rather than use, fossil fuel power generation which led to the problem in the first place,” said Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Visayas, being naturally abundant with renewable energy resources, can be transformed into a model for climate-resilience.”

Greenpeace said that the on-going reconstruction after typhoon Yolanda should be seen as an opportunity to establish sustainable climate-resilient communities using renewable energy (RE) systems. A de-centralized energy system through renewable energy connected to micro-grids will maximize the use of the country’s vast RE potential, and provide reliable and safe power to communities as compared to diesel power barges and centralized power through climate-harmful coal plants.

For more information, please contact: 

Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +639175216804 

Therese Salvador, Media Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +639178228734

Note:

(1) http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/briefings/climate/2013/MRR-8.3-7Nov13.pdf

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