19 March, 2017 - 1:51 am

Actions on climate change should be characterised by immediacy and ambition. With the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to limiting temperature rise, phasing out fossil fuels, and fulfilling and protecting human rights. But as we can see, unfortunately, this reality is denied by some countries that keep on looking towards fossils to fuel their growth and development (e.g. the Dutch government appealing the verdict to the case filed by Urgenda Foundation to make more stringent greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2020, new government of the US which completely disregarding climate change, etc.).

Despite decades of public calls for urgent action to tackle climate change, events such as these continue to increase – government incentives to kick start the switch to fossil/nuke free energy, global temperatures, the strength and frequency of extreme weather events, and the number of people impacted.

The Big Polluters want to safeguard their profits, continue to wield political and economic influence and maintain business as usual while their operations continue to drive climate change and impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally.

In Sept 2015, fourteen civil society organisations based in the Philippines, including Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines filed a Petition with the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR). They are joined by 18 Filipino individuals living on the frontlines of climate change. In December 2016, the CHR announced that public hearings will start from April 2017, despite apparent opposition from fossil fuels companies.

Petitioners who have brought their cause to the CHR believe that the fossil fuel producers should be held accountable for the human rights impacts of climate change and ocean acidification because the companies have contributed the lion ́s share of GHGs and have failed to curb emissions despite having knowledge of climate risks and the capacity to do so.

The petitioners are bringing stories of courage and hope to the global platform, reminding people to reclaim their power to go against the Goliath companies.

Fighting similar battles with common enemies, our partner communities and organisations from last year’s Break Free are mobilized to expand the call not just end the age of coal but all fossil fuels in support of the petitioners. Break Free is a uniting platform where the communities can echo, share, and amplify their local energy issues and their calls for climate justice. The merging of networks will be a compelling display of strength and solidarity within and across the communities globally, which can boost the confidence of local groups in being part of this global fight.

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