saudi aramco is threatening human rights un experts
Saudi Aramco’s oil production is fueling climate change-related negative impacts on human rights, says a group of UN experts. They raised concerns in a letter to the Saudi state energy giant. According to the experts, Saudi Aramco is threatening human rights by expanding its oil production. And this is having adverse impacts on human rights caused by activities, like exploitation of fossil fuels which drive climate change.
The group of UN experts accused Aramco of maintaining crude oil production, exploration for further oil and gas reserves, expansion into fossil fuel gas, and misrepresentation of information. “Such activities have negative impacts on the enjoyment of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.” They also alleged that Aramco’s activities appeared to be contrary to the goals, obligations and commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
It said people in every country, and every continent are being affected by climate change. “By failing to address its role as the single biggest corporate emitter of the greenhouse gasses driving climate catastrophe across the planet, we believe Aramco is committing the world’s largest climate-linked breach of human rights law by a business.”
The experts claimed in the letter that activities were funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, 11 major international banks, investment banks, and firms. Similar letters have also been sent to the respective companies in France, Britain, United States, and Japan. The UN experts believe that fossil fuels account for more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with over half of such emissions being traced to 25 fossil fuel business enterprises.
“Through its historic emissions, it is alleged that Saudi Aramco has already significantly contributed to adverse climate change-related human rights impacts. The company’s current exploitation of fossil fuels and proposed business plans will continue to cause adverse climate change-related human rights impacts.”
Moreover, it said that Aramco’s refusal to reduce production of oil and gas, and continued exploration contributes to the risk of overshooting the 1.5C carbon budget. The experts say this has significantly worsened climate change-related human rights impacts.
UN officials said businesses should avoid infringing on human rights by taking proactive steps to identify, prevent, mitigate, and address adverse impacts, with which they are involved, including impacts resulting from climate change.
This is the first time that UN experts have taken action about an oil company’s human rights responsibilities for climate change under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, or against financial backers of oil and gas exploration.