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Manila, Philippines – As Typhoon Kammuri (locally known as Tisoy) wreaks havoc in the Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines urged world leaders to listen to the voices of communities and reaffirm actions to hold big polluters[1] accountable for human rights violations from climate change impacts. The onslaught of Kammuri coincided with the opening of the UN climate talks this week  in Madrid, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued dire warnings on “the point of no return.” 

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño said COP25 comes at a pivotal time when countries must acknowledge that we must urgently stop drilling, digging and burning fossil fuels. A UN Environment Program (UNEP) report released last month[2] revealed that the world is producing more fossil fuels than ever, inconsistent with the need to keep global temperature rise safely within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Saño also expressed concern over the potential damages of Kammuri, which has now displaced nearly 25,000 individuals from the Bicol region (data as of writing) and threatens to destroy livelihood sources in low-lying areas[3].

“The Philippines is regularly battered with extreme weather events that are getting more severe with climate change. We’re currently facing another strong typhoon, yet we are still dealing with the same problem—the same greed of big polluters that have stolen our future and blocked progress to attain climate justice,” he said. “We are in a climate emergency. Now more than ever is a time to act. We strongly call on our world leaders to not simply deliver speeches, instead work together to protect our people. We must use this platform to expose the climate complicity of the fossil fuel industry and take concrete actions to ensure they are accountable for the harms they cause, particularly in countries that are the most vulnerable.” 

During the COP25, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines, represented by Commissioner Roberto Cadiz, is also expected to release the long-awaited Resolution to the National Inquiry on Climate Change, the landmark investigation on the responsibility of 47 of the world’s biggest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement companies for human rights impacts resulting from climate change[4].

Greenpeace, along with 13 civil society organizations and 18 individuals from climate-impacted communities[5] who signed the Petition, remain hopeful that the CHR will issue a Resolution that will support the call for climate justice, as well as the protection of the rights of Filipinos and the global community. 

Notes to editors: 

[1] Fossil fuel companies, dubbed as big polluters, have contributed the lion’s share of cumulative CO2 and methane gas emissions. A Petition was filed in 2015 to investigate major investor-owned fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, BHP Billiton, Suncor, and ConocoPhillips, for their responsibility in the human rights violations stemming from climate change. Read more: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-philippines-stateless/2016/07/86837911-memorandum-for-the-petitioners_received-copy-rdc.pdf

[2] SEI, IISD, ODI, Climate Analytics, CICERO, and UNEP. (2019). The Production Gap: The discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. Retrieved from http://productiongap.org

[3] Typhoon Kammuri entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on November 30, 2019. Greenpeace teams are on the ground to join and bear witness to Filipinos rising up in the face of the climate emergency. Read more: https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/story/3824/live-blog-typhoon-kammuri-tisoy/

[4] The NICC is the first of its kind in the world and its resolution is expected to become a precedent for future climate litigation in the Philippines and in other countries. The Petition sought an investigation on “carbon majors,” the world’s biggest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement companies, for violating or threatening the human rights of Filipinos by significantly contributing to climate change and failing to reduce emissions. Read more about The Climate Change and Human Rights Petition in the Philippines: https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/press/1237/the-climate-change-and-human-rights-petition/ 

[5] Fourteen human rights and environmental groups, namely Greenpeace, Sentro, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Dakila, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Philippine Human Rights Information Center, Mother Earth Foundation, Ecowaste Coalition, 350.Org East Asia, Nagkakaisang Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, Alliance of Youth Organizations and Students-Bicol, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, and Nuclear Free Bataan Movement. 

[6] Media is advised to stand by for the expected release of the CHR Resolution. Requests for interviews will be entertained. 

Media contact:

Angeli Cantillana, Communications Campaigner
Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
angeli.cantillana@greenpeace.org | +639954191496 or +639985959733