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  • Legal Rights Center

Landmark climate accountability bill filed

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

The province of Marinduque in the aftermath of Typhoon Paeng.

The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) lauds the filing of the Climate Accountability (CLIMA) bill, a pioneering measure that will set up a national loss and damage fund, establish a body that will adjudicate climate-related litigation, and require carbon majors to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

CLIMA, or House Bill No. 9609, was filed on 22 November 2023 in the House of Representatives by House Committee on Climate Change Chair Congressman Edgar Chatto, and Congressional Representatives Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Fernando Cabredo, Anna Victoria Veloso-Tuazon, Christian Tell Yap, and Jose Manuel Alba.

The filing comes at a propitious time as the international climate negotiations commence in Dubai, UAE, where discussions on climate loss and damage are taking center stage.

CLIMA is important for the Philippines, which is one of the least responsible countries for climate change but is projected to suffer devastating impacts. CLIMA ensures accountability from rich countries and carbon majors for being responsible for the climate crisis.

Over the years, loss and damage have emerged as a third important climate pillar, alongside mitigation and adaptation. In the context of the climate discourse, loss and damage refer to large-scale residual impacts which cannot be absorbed by adaptation. Losses and damages are already occurring across the world, with small island states and vulnerable countries like the Philippines bearing the brunt of such large-scale impacts. The devastation wrought by most recent typhoons Yolanda and Odette offer a glimpse of such impacts.

Loss and damage have both economic and non-economic aspects. Economic impacts are those which can be measured using market prices, typically goods and services traded in markets. Non-economic losses are impacts not captured in financial terms and may include harms on culture, loss of sacred places, among others.

CLIMA will allow communities to file suits against carbon majors found responsible for climate-induced disasters, whether extreme weather events to slow-onset events. When found liable, a carbon major will pay a penalty, which will be funneled into the national Loss and Damage Fund, to finance communities’ and local governments’ responses to residual impacts.

Litigation has become a viable avenue for communities and countries to bring to court carbon majors as well as rich countries guilty responsible for majority of the world’s historical (as well as current) greenhouse gas emissions. Rich countries have long opposed liability for loss and damage at the climate negotiations, to avoid facing lawsuits.

Loss and damage events have two distinct attributes: they are unavoidable and irreversible.

To establish liability, CLIMA makes use of attribution science, which establishes climate variability, or the role of natural weather systems in disasters, as well as anthropogenic climate change, or that which is attributable to human activity, such as power generation by burning fossil fuels.

CLIMA also establishes penal provisions against climate denialism and greenwashing by carbon majors.

CLIMA was drafted by LRC together with Greenpeace Philippines.

Read the full text of the bill below:

HB09609 (1)
Download PDF • 566KB

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