Calls on DENR to instead demand climate reparations from fossil fuel companies
QUEZON CITY, Philippines (15 June 2023)—Greenpeace Philippines on Thursday held a satirical “thank you” protest at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to demand that the agency scrap its partnership with Shell Pilipinas, and stop being complicit to the shameless greenwashing of climate destruction brought on by Shell’s fossil fuel operations.
Activists dressed as Shell executives, accompanied by a Grim Reaper symbolizing climate destruction, delivered a mock “Certificate of Extreme Gratitude,” and flowers to DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, and held a satirical appreciation ceremony at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City. The materials were received by DENR Stakeholders Management and Conflict Resolution Division Chief Julie Gorospe-Ibuan.
The activity was meant to take a swipe at what the environment group says is a “reprehensible partnership” between a government agency established to protect Filipinos and the environment, and a company whose massive carbon emissions have been found by studies and legal proceedings to have substantially contributed to climate destruction and related human rights harms.
“This obscene partnership between DENR and Shell is a slap on the face of the millions of Filipinos impacted by the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu. “The DENR is literally sleeping with the enemy. They need to be reminded that their job is to be on the side of Filipino communities, not the companies who are responsible for climate change in the first place. Secretary Loyzaga should tell Shell that if they are sincere in helping the environment and people, they must stop fossil fuel expansion and pay Filipinos reparations for losses and damages from climate impacts.”
The group reiterated that the 2022 Climate Change and Human Rights (NICC) report already found factual basis that fossil fuel companies, including Shell, are morally responsible for human rights harms to Filipinos brought on by climate impacts. Meanwhile, during the 58th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB58) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Bonn, Germany, Climate Change Commission Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert Borje said that the Philippines in the past decade suffered USD 12 billion in climate loss and damage.
“Shell Pilipinas is using the DENR for empty propaganda meant to boost their public image,” said Yu. “In reality, around the world, Shell continues to drill for oil and gas even when they know this will worsen climate change. Early this year, Shell reported that its global profits for 2022 amounted to a record USD 40 billion; this happened as the world experienced worsening floods, drought and typhoons that is costing governments and people trillions in damages.”
“As a youth representative from a climate-vulnerable country, I strongly urge the Philippine government to fight for our fundamental human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment by saying no to the greenwashing strategies employed by fossil fuel companies,” said Jairus Ismael Chiu, a youth climate leader from Bohol. “To the DENR, when the Filipino people from the future—assuming there is one—decide to look back at our history, what kind of DENR do you want yourself to be remembered as? An agency that fought for the human right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment, or one that succumbed to the interests of a few and enabled the accelerated destruction of our planet?”see full quote below
Greenpeace, along with communities devastated by consecutive extreme weather events, called on the Philippine government and world leaders to demand loss and damage reparations from the Carbon Majors—the world’s biggest climate polluters, including Shell—during COP27 last year. The group also delivered this demand to the Shell Pilipinas headquarters earlier this year. The company ignored said demand.
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Full quote from Jairus Ismael Chiu, youth climate leader
Organizations: Kabiling Lunhaw, Angat GenC Bohol, and Youth 4 Just Transition
“The climate crisis continues to affect people devastatingly and their communities, especially the youth. This is manifested in increasing health-related issues, disrupted school schedules and ineffective learning environments due to weather concerns, as well as unstable and unpredictable sources of income because of extreme climate events, among many others.
“As a youth representative from a climate-vulnerable country, I strongly urge the Philippine government to fight for our fundamental human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment by saying no to the greenwashing strategies employed by fossil fuel companies.
“For decades, fossil fuel companies like Shell have known the consequences if they continued their interests in crude, oil, and natural gas, yet they chose to push for these ventures. Now, the Filipino people are paying with their lives and livelihoods. They are one of the most vulnerable population groups to the effects of the climate emergency, hence the need for fossil fuel companies to pay for loss and damages!
“To the DENR, when the Filipino people from the future—assuming there is one—decide to look back at our history, what kind of DENR do you want yourself to be remembered as? An agency that fought for the human right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment, or one that succumbed to the interests of a few and enabled the accelerated destruction of our planet?”
Maverick Flores, Greenpeace Communications Campaigner
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