After Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines and damaged more than 1 million homes in 2013, Greenpeace Southeast Asia petitioned the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights to declare the world’s largest fossil fuel companies “accountable for either impairing, infringing, abusing or violating human rights” because of their contribution to climate change. Earlier this month, the commission issued its conclusions. In a damning and lucidly written report, the commission found that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies had “engaged in willful obfuscation and obstruction to prevent meaningful climate action.” The companies continue to deny climate science and try to slow a transition away from fossil fuels, the report said, driven “not by ignorance, but by greed.”
Also this week, a new study found that pollution was responsible for an estimated 9 million deaths around the world in 2019. Fully half of those fatalities, 4.5 million deaths, were the result of outdoor air pollution, which is typically emitted by vehicles and industrial sources like power plants and factories. The report noted that countries with lower collective incomes often bear a disproportionate share of the impacts of pollution deaths, and called on governments, businesses and other entities to abandon fossil fuels and adopt clean energy sources.