Climate change conference as last chance – Also for the Indonesian island of Pari
Climate change is advancing ever more rapidly and unleashing its destructive consequences, especially for people in the countries of the Global South. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), beginning on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheik, could be the last chance to turn the tide. The inhabitants of Pari island have already taken action: they are demanding climate justice and have thus initiated legal proceedings against the Swiss cement corporation Holcim. They are demanding, among other things, compensation for climate damage already suffered – an issue that also stands at the top of the agenda at COP27.
“Loss and damage” – these terms refer to the devastating consequences of climate change and are among the focal points of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which begins next Sunday in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. In this context, the legal action taken by four inhabitants of the Indonesian island Pari against the cement corporation Holcim have thus acquired even more relevance and urgency. As a so-called “carbon major,” Holcim is one the largest CO2 emitters worldwide and thus bares a significant share of the responsibility for climate change and its resulting ecological and economic losses and damages.
The inhabitants of Pari are among those who suffer from the unchecked CO2 emissions of corporations such as Holcim. Their livelihoods are in acute danger due to rising sea levels and the increasingly frequent flooding of the island. In bringing their case before the conciliation authority in Zug, where Holcim’s Swiss headquarters are located, at the beginning of July, they demanded not only a rapid and significant reduction in the company’s global CO2 emissions, but also compensation for damages already incurred, as well as financial assistance for urgently needed flood protection measures for their island..
At the conciliation hearing at the beginning of October, however, Holcim did not signal any willingness to acknowledge its share of responsibility for climate change or the justified demands of the four islanders. The negotiations thus concluded without results. The four islanders are now looking into further legal options such as a civil lawsuit against Holcim. Together with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Indonesian environmental organization WAHLI, HEKS will advise and support those affected during this next step.
Providing funding for compensation
Looking ahead toward the climate summit in Egypt, the three organizations expect the nations assembled there not only to recognize the urgent necessity of a massive and rapid reduction of worldwide CO2 emissions, as well as to take appropriate action without delay. These countries must also ensure that adequate and consistent financial resources are made available to developing countries for compensation for climate damage and for adaptation measures. The Swiss corporation Holcim, and the other "carbon majors" along with it, can no longer shirk their climate-justice responsibilities to the world.