In December 2019, Commissioner Roberto Cadiz told COP25 that the three-year Philippines Human Rights Commission National Inquiry on Climate Change will soon release its report. He said the Commissioners have made their decision: the 47 biggest Carbon Majors have violated the human rights of Philippine citizens through their contributions to climate change, and can be held legally liable for those violations under existing Philippines civil law. Cadiz said it may also be possible to hold the companies criminally accountable “where they have been clearly proved to have engaged in acts of obstruction and willful obfuscation.”
How strong is the evidence that big fossil fuel companies knowingly concealed the hazards that they knew would result from the normal use of their fossil fuel products through misrepresentation about those products and deliberately discrediting scientific information related to climate change? Read the impressive amicus brief in the San Mateo litigation. It lays out evidence that the fossil fuel companies had actual knowledge of the risks of their products and had taken “proactive steps to conceal their knowledge and discredit climate science” while at the same time taking steps to protect their own assets from the impacts of climate change.
The brief starts this way:
“At least fifty years ago, Defendants-Appellants (hereinafter, “Defendants”) had information from their own internal research, as well as from the international scientific community, that the unabated extraction, production, promotion, and sale of their fossil fuel products would result in material dangers to the public. Defendants failed to disclose this information or take steps to protect the public. They also acted affirmatively to conceal their knowledge and discredit climate science, running misleading nationwide marketing campaigns and funding junk science to manufacture uncertainty, in direct contradiction to their own research and the actions they themselves took to protect their assets from climate change impacts such as sea level rise.”