Human Rights

Climate Litigation Has Become a Global Trend, New Report Shows

Read time: 4 mins
Fossil fuels out of Africa protest at COP22

Originally published on Climate Liability News.

Climate change-related lawsuits, once mostly limited to the U.S., have now been filed in nearly 30 countries, targeting governments and corporate polluters, according to the latest analysis of the trend. 

A new report was published this month by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. It tracks the progress of the suits — filed since 1990 — as they have expanded beyond the U.S., and predicts the trend will continue. 

What Terrible Injustices Are Hiding Behind American Energy Habits?

Read time: 7 mins
Wayuu woman makes soup in La Guajira, Colombia

When someone charges a cellphone or flips on the lights, what costs are felt by the far-off communities that produced the coal or gas powering that home? What happens to those same communities when a utility decides to switch from coal power to natural gas? And what keeps these impacts of American energy habits hidden from view?   

New research helps provide some clarity. A study led by Noel Healy from Salem State University in Massachusetts analyzes the hidden but interconnected injustices that can occur throughout the world’s fossil fuel supply chains.

Is Climate Science Denial Leading to Human Rights Violations, Asks Philippines Commission

Read time: 3 mins
Boy walking through Typhoon Ketsana floodwaters in Milan in 2009

By Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center. Originally posted on Climate Investigations Center.

As climate change liability — who is to blame — increasingly lands in courtrooms around the globe, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights is taking a different and unique approach, investigating climate change impacts as a human rights infringement. The commission has held a series of hearings this year to investigate the role of fossil fuel companies (also known as “carbon majors“) in causing climate change, concealing climate science, delaying policy solutions, and facilitating the climate crisis of the Filipino people.

Amid Concerns About Trump's Authoritarian Bent, Oil Executive Calls for "Strong Rule of Law"

Read time: 9 mins

Harold Hamm, America's richest energy billionaire and the CEO of shale driller Continental Resources,  spoke at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum last Thursday with an unusual message.

“We've got a President coming in that understands the rule of law, that understands business,” Mr. Hamm said.

Mr. Trump's promoters often cite his business experience. Mr. Trump, however, has rarely been praised for his understanding of the rule of law — which is the fundamental concept that the rules apply to everyone, from the most to the least powerful, and that governments must respect people's rights.

Lilley Feels the Heat Over Climate Denial and Links to Torture Regime

Read time: 4 mins

Peter Lilley has come under attack for his paid work for the oil-rich Kazakhstan regime responsible for torture and the suppression of free speech.

Rachel Burgin is fighting Lilley for his Hitchin and Harpenden seat at the general election, and early in the campaign, criticised his £15,000-a-year post advising the Kazakh government-funded Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFA).

The former cabinet minister has also been accused of promoting Uzbekistan’s cotton industry, despite the claim by human rights activists that the country’s harvest is heavily reliant on state-sponsored child labour

Digging Out of Canada’s Mining Dilemma

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

It sometimes seems people in the mining and fossil fuel industries — along with their government promoters — don’t believe in the future. What else could explain the mad rush to extract and use up the Earth’s resources as quickly and wastefully as possible?

Global mining production, including fossil fuels, has almost doubled since 1984, from just over nine-billion tonnes to almost 17-billion in 2012, with the greatest increases over the past 10 years.

China-Canada Investment "Straitjacket:" Interview with Gus Van Harten Part 3

Read time: 16 mins

This is the third and final post in the series China-Canada Investment “Straitjacket:” Exclusive Interview with Gus Van Harten. You can access Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Canada has already begun the short countdown to the day the China-Canada Investment Deal becomes ratified in the House of Commons, although the nation has been granted no opportunity to clarify or discuss the full economic or environmental significance of the agreement - the most significant in Canada's history since NAFTA.
 
Prime Minister Harper, who signed the agreement in Vladivostok in September, is forcing this deal through with such force and brevity it makes the undemocratic Omnibus budget bill C-38 look like a dress rehearsal. 
 
International investment lawyer and trade agreement expert Gus Van Harten has landed center-stage in the controversy as one of the only figures willing and qualified to speak up against the investment agreement. He told DeSmog that Canada's rush to enter into an investment deal of this sort endangers Canadian democracy, threatens Canadian sovereignty and could fracture the government's loyalty to its people. 
 
In this post, the final segment of our interview with Van Harten, he discusses in more detail just how bad this deal is for Canada economically and how much it threatens to corrupt our way of doing business. 

China-Canada Investment "Straitjacket:" Interview with Gus Van Harten Part 3

Read time: 16 mins

This is the third and final post in the series China-Canada Investment “Straitjacket:” Exclusive Interview with Gus Van Harten. You can access Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Canada has already begun the short countdown to the day the China-Canada Investment Deal becomes ratified in the House of Commons, although the nation has been granted no opportunity to clarify or discuss the full economic or environmental significance of the agreement - the most significant in Canada's history since NAFTA.
 
Prime Minister Harper, who signed the agreement in Vladivostok in September, is forcing this deal through with such force and brevity it makes the undemocratic Omnibus budget bill C-38 look like a dress rehearsal. 
 
International investment lawyer and trade agreement expert Gus Van Harten has landed center-stage in the controversy as one of the only figures willing and qualified to speak up against the investment agreement. He told DeSmog that Canada's rush to enter into an investment deal of this sort endangers Canadian democracy, threatens Canadian sovereignty and could fracture the government's loyalty to its people. 
 
In this post, the final segment of our interview with Van Harten, he discusses in more detail just how bad this deal is for Canada economically and how much it threatens to corrupt our way of doing business. 

In Throes of Keystone XL Controversy, Obama Admin OKs Alaska Offshore Drilling

Read time: 3 mins

With all eyes on the ongoing battle over whether or not the Obama Administration and the State Department will approve the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, it was easy to lose another huge piece of news in the scuffle pertaining to the Obama White House. 

On October 3, the Obama Interior Department rubber stamped approval for offshore drilling in the Arctic off the northwest coast of Alaska in the Chibucki Sea. Reported the ​Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration said Monday it was moving forward with oil-drilling leases off the coast of Alaska issued by the Bush administration in 2008, a victory for oil companies in the battle over Arctic Ocean drilling.

(Snip)

The Interior Department's decision is the latest example of the Obama administration siding with energy companies against environmentalists amid a weak economy. Last month, President Barack Obama withdrew proposed ozone-emission rules that businesses said would have killed jobs.

According to an Alaska Dispatch​ story, the area that received drilling approval is 2.8 million acres and companies bid $2.6 billion in an auction for drilling rights, with fossil fuel conglomerates Shell and ConocoPhillips leading the way. The Associated Press​ (AP) wrote, “Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc…spent $2.1 billion for the leases in 2008.” 

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