Polluting industries should be held liable for the damage caused to the climate and environment, climate justice advocates said at the launch of a Liability Roadmap on Tuesday.
The Global Liability Roadmap, launched in several countries across the world, aims to make big polluters pay for the harms they cause the environment.
At the launch in Lagos, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the executive director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), said the industries have profited richly from the environmental chaos across the globe and are driving climate change and undermining attempts to address it.
The polluting industries include the fossil fuel, mining, agribusiness, oil and gas industries, who have fueled the climate crisis in times past.
“These industries’ abuses have not only knowingly fueled the climate crisis, their actions have also undermined progress to address it including at institutions like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They have willfully delayed action, costing lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage,” he said.
Mr Oluwafemi added that the Big Polluters are attempting to profit from the pandemic, demanding government bailouts and rolling out PR schemes that paint them as saviours in this crisis.
“These corporations have eroded the power of governments to effectively address global disasters like the climate crisis and COVID-19. They are the ones who should be paying, not being bailed out.
“They have simultaneously driven the deforestation, extinction and biodiversity loss crises that drive animals out of their habitat and enable pathogens to spread around the world. They have extracted wealth from and perpetrated environmental racism in communities of colour and Indigenous communities around the world,” he said.
Ronke Ige, an Associate Director of CAPPA, said the roadmap will help relevant authorities take legal, civic and administrative actions against the big polluters of the environment.
She said the roadmap contains guidance for decision-makers and movements at four levels of action: international, national, local, and multilevel.
The activist said there is a need to support communities that are at the frontline of the pollution and give them succour.
“There is need to provide publicly governed mechanisms that channel large-scale finance to directly support the communities on the Front lines of the climate crises, protect the rights of local communities, indigenous people, peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, nomadic and rural peoples, and women as stewards of nature.
“We must protect the rights of local communities, Indigenous peoples, peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, nomadic and rural peoples, and women as stewards of nature.
“We must also recognize and protect the rights of nature in harmony with protecting rights of the stewards, acknowledging nature sustains all life on Earth and must be respected, preserved, and treated with reverence,” she added.
The group, alongside other partners, is resolute on driving advocacy towards the protection of the environment and the climate.