Climate activists block Shell Terminal in protest ahead of COP28

December 1, 2023

Filipino climate activists on Wednesday staged a protest by blocking access to the Shell import terminal in Batangas City, south of the capital Manila.

Some 29 Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Southeast Asia activists on kayaks, including Executive Director Yeb Saño, tried to disrupt Shell’s operation by positioning themselves at two jetties.

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior vessel, with a huge banner that read “Make Climate Polluters Pay,” featuring a large black hand in the “stop” gesture, anchored in front of the terminal.

The demonstrators urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and global leaders to hold Shell and other fossil fuel companies accountable for the losses and damages experienced by communities impacted by climate change.

“Companies like Shell are making billions off the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis, while communities in countries like ours pay the price,” said Yeb Saño.

He added, “The fossil fuel companies most responsible for the climate crisis have become rich by exploiting people and the planet. Governments should make them pay for the damage their operations cause.”

The protest coincided with the eve of the COP28 (Conference of Parties) climate conference in Dubai.

The protest action followed Shell UK’s recent lawsuit against Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International, seeking to halt protests at its infrastructure worldwide or face a US$8.6 million damages claim and an injunction.

According to the group, the lawsuit is Shell’s response to a peaceful protest by Greenpeace International in January, during which activists occupied a moving oil platform to draw attention to the climate change loss and damage caused by Shell. 

Saño is among the activists named in Shell’s legal claim due to his involvement in the earlier action.

“I am here, joining a protest like this for the first time, to take a stand for my children. The climate crisis has left us living in fear of the next catastrophe and is the biggest threat to our future,” said activist Roselle Redelicia.

Recently, the world’s first climate impacts accountability bill was filed in the Philippine Congress. Last month, a landmark resolution by a municipality impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan, signaling its intent to take oil and gas companies to court, was also filed.

“Communities in countries like the Philippines are demanding loss and damage financing at COP28 to have a fighting chance against escalating climate impacts. This financing must include payments from fossil fuel companies,” said Jefferson Chua, Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner.

He added that beyond the climate negotiations, governments must ensure access to climate justice by urgently pursuing all avenues to make these major polluters pay. This involves legislating corporate accountability and payment for climate impacts, as well as taking these companies to court.

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