Earlier this month, the Republic of the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights held public hearings in London for its inquiry into the responsibility of the ‘carbon majors’ (Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell etc) for global warming. The petitioners are Filipino citizens and civil rights organisations who claim that the effects of the carbon dioxide and methane emissions for which the carbon majors are responsible violate their human rights. Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines five years ago. It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, with maximum sustained winds of more than 145 mph as it made landfall over Eastern Samar in the early hours of 8 November 2013. It killed 6201 people, injured more than 27,000, and displaced nearly four million. The Philippines are hit by more than twenty tropical storms a year.
Two weeks ago, Maplecroft published its sixth annual Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Maplecroft calls itself 'the world’s leading global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company'; its 'technological solutions identify emerging trends, business opportunities and risks to investments and supply chains worldwide'. The index didn't get much media attention, though the Philippine Star reported that the Philippines ranks as the ninth most vulnerable country.
Among the dead in last month’s massacre in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, in which gunmen killed more than 57 people known to be supporters of a prominent politician, were nearly 30 journalists. It was the largest killing of reporters in recent history. This was one of the reasons the massacre made the headlines; but it wasn’t otherwise so unusual.