This week, Corporate Accountability and a global coalition of climate organizations released a first of its kind liability roadmap: a tool outlining how local to global decisionmakers can hold polluting industries liable for the climate damage they knowingly cause, while unlocking climate finance needed to address the climate crisis and implement solutions.
This roadmap, released just before New York Climate Week is the next stage in the global campaign to Make Big Polluters Pay and comes amid a flurry of lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry and polluting countries.
“The liability roadmap is about more than lawsuits and courtrooms,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan of Corporate Accountability. “This is about making Big Polluters pay for the havoc they’ve wreaked by fueling the climate crisis and about forcing them to end their abuses.”
Last September, international climate organizations launched a global call for Big Polluter liability at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in New York City. And at COP25 in Madrid, the demands of hundreds of thousands of people to make Big Polluters pay were delivered to government delegates.
“The liability roadmap is a tool we can use to call to account those who have knowingly caused the climate crisis, and make them pay,” said Sara Shaw of Friends of the Earth International, “Not only that, it lays the foundations for systemic change – reducing corporate power and ensuring resources for the much-needed just transformation.”
Liability has taken on new importance amid the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented climate disasters and is a growing area of focus for experts, activists, academics and governments alike as the industry’s long history of denial and the link between industry emissions and climate impacts becomes more evidenced. From U.S. states to Vanuatu to Peru, elected officials and people are exploring holding polluters like the fossil fuel industry liable for its long history of deceit and environmental destruction. Last year, The Philippines’ commission on human rights concluded that the fossil fuel industry can be held legally responsible for their role in climate change and an Indian fisherman challenging the International Finance Corporation (IFC) secured a precedent-setting judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Quotes from launch partners can be found here.