Why demand accountability from
fossil fuel companies?
Do you feel like you’re personally responsible for the climate crisis?
Much of the talk about climate change focuses on individual actions: how we heat and power our homes, how we get around, what we buy and consume in our fossil fuel-dependent world.
While we should all be concerned about the impacts of our lifestyle, there’s a bigger picture as well. A small group of very large companies has cashed in on our fossil fuel consumption. Those companies have made hundreds of billions of dollars extracting, processing, marketing and selling fossil fuels.
What’s more, these companies have known since the 1960s that their products cause climate change – and yet many of them have used massive resources and influence to misinform the public on climate science and to lobby governments against action that would have transitioned us away from fossil fuel dependence towards a more sustainable future.
What does fossil fuel company accountability look like?
The products and operations of just 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for about 30% of the greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere today – about the same as the total emissions of the United States and China combined.
Here are 3 reasons why it is vital that communities around the world start holding fossil fuel companies accountable for climate change and demanding that the companies pay their fair share:
Accountability allows us to ask who should pay for climate costs?
Our communities are already beginning to suffer the impacts of climate change – flooding, rising sea levels, wildfires, drought – and the human and financial costs will only increase. Is it up to taxpayers alone to foot the bill? That’s not fair, and it needs to be challenged.
Accountability allows local communities to demand global accountability
Communities that look at climate change harm through a legal lens can use their own laws to target global fossil fuel companies that might otherwise escape accountability. (See Taking Climate Justice into our own Hands for more information). This gives power to communities that are feeling the worst impacts, and it means they don’t have to wait for countries around the world to regulate fossil fuel companies.
Accountability helps solve the climate crisis
We can’t solve the climate crisis without everyone on board. Until now, the fossil fuel industry has made hundreds of billions of dollars on the assumption that they will never need to pay anything for the harm that their products cause. If they had to pay even a fraction of those costs, the industry would have an incentive to support real climate solutions.
How to take action
Climate Law in our Hands is working with local governments and community groups across British Columbia, Canada to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable. If you’re interested in joining us:
- Learn more about Climate Law in our Hands British Columbia and see how we’re working towards a class action by local governments against the fossil fuel industry.
- Check out our Resources for Climate Accountability page.
- Read Taking Climate Justice into our own Hands, which explains how governments anywhere can use their own laws to hold fossil fuel companies accountable.