KARACHI: Climate justice is direly needed to check profit hungry corporations from further endangering the global environment and to save the vulnerable communities from huge losses due to climate change, said Dr Miriam Saag Mass, Legal Director, ECCHR, Germany, while speaking at a discussion on “Climate Justice and International Law Obligations”, here on Thursday.
The program was organized by the Department of International Relations, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) in collaboration with National Trade Union Federation (NTUF).
Dr Miriam Saag said that she has been visiting Karachi since 2013. She said her organization is a platform of lawyers, with a focus on international and human rights laws. She said we challenge the European companies for violating international criminal laws regarding their obligations to environmental safeguard.
She said due to growing pollution, widespread industrialization and brutal violation of nature, the climate risk is on the rise. She said the European companies want to maximize their profits. They even make profits from the energy crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war. She said the governments often facilitate these companies.
She said the climate crisis, energy crisis and economic crisis are important from the legal point of view. She said the real question is who should be made ultimate responsible for the climate crisis, and which international and human rights laws are there that could lead to solution.
Dr. Mass said the world has failed to achieve the environmental goals. The governments do not take on violations of environmental laws. The Paris Agreement is not being implemented. It needs a strong litigation to get the laws and accords implemented to a better protection of environment.
She said in different countries like Germany, Columbia and Switzerland some court decisions are made to help uphold environmental laws where the governments are made bound to give protection to citizens. He said to save the future of coming generations the governments must take action now. She said for implementation of laws it needs a strong political will. Giving example of Germany, she said some efforts are being taken but they are not sufficient.
Dr. Mass said that the governments and states should fulfill their obligations. She said that it is also the obligation of the governments and companies of the North America and Europe to think about their extraterritorial corporate responsibilities. She said 120 large corporations have a big role in global carbon emissions. She said awareness on this issue is being raised in Europe. She gave example of Shell and a Pharma company of Switzerland regarding their corporate responsibilities about the climate risks.
She said that the matter of climate crisis was recently discussed in the Egypt moot. However, there is a big role of the western nations and governments to check further damage to climate. She said for a positive change it needs to increase political pressure. Giving example of Baldia factory fire incident in Karachi she said that we went in litigation in Germany, which resulted in a law to give protection of the workers of whole supply chain inside and outside the country.
NTUF general secretary Nasir Mansoor said that the world is not fulfilling its promise of financing to mitigate the climate change damages. He said here in Pakistan we have suffered immensely due to massive floods due to world climate change. He said we need climate justice. He said a climate movement should be launched globally.
Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) secretary general Zehra Khan said that students should also play their role in saving environment. She said they should also initiate movements regarding climate change. She said the society needs collective efforts to save our coming generations from the harmful effects of climate change. Dr Asghar Ali Dashti of the department of international relations FUUAST also spoke. The dialogue was followed by a lively questions and answers session actively participated by students.