Chapter 20: Carbon major companies and liability for loss and damage
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Fossil fuel intensive, or carbon major, corporations are responsible for approximately two-thirds of historic global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and have contributed almost half of global temperature increases, and therefore to consequential loss and damage. Climate attribution science has important implications for liability, including legal liability, for these entities in the context of climate change. The investigation by the Philippines Human Rights Commission was inspired by and specifically focuses on the loss and damage experienced by survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, and provides a forum to connect the activities of 47 carbon major entities to the loss and damage experienced by individuals from extreme events. The recent Lliuya v RWE case relied specifically on Richard Heede's attribution work to connect the activities of a German utility with climate impacts experienced in Peru, with a request for RWE to contribute to the costs of adaptation. Many carbon majors are high-profile industry actors, and attempts to fix liability on to them, and to incentivize transitions within their sector, will be instructive for other high-emitting industry actors. These entities are often transnational, with parent companies registered in global North countries with significant extractive activity occurring in the global South, where incidents of loss and damage occur. This chapter will focus on transnational initiatives which attempt to curb carbon major activities, and the consequential loss and damage that results.

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