Oxfam Ireland call for the Irish Govt to implement climate accountability legislation immediately as ground-breaking litigation case filed in France against BNP Paribas

Oxfam Ireland call for the Irish Govt to implement climate accountability legislation immediately as ground-breaking litigation case filed in France against BNP Paribas

Three French NGOs, including Oxfam have today taken the first step towards an unprecedented climate litigation case - the first in the world to target a commercial bank for its high-risk activities in the oil and gas sector.

The bank in question, BNP Paribas, had a larger carbon footprint than that of French territory in 2020. This makes them the number one European financier of fossil fuel expansion.

For more than 10 years, Oxfam France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous spoke out about the role of the financial sector in fueling the climate crisis. The NGOs engaged intensively with French banks and the French government to prevent dodgy transactions benefiting the coal, oil and gas industries. They are now taking legal action warning BNP Paribas to immediately stop supporting - both directly and indirectly - new fossil fuel projects and comply with the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. 

Michael McCarthy Flynn, Head of Policy and Advocacy of Oxfam Ireland said, “We urgently need the legal basis to take the same sorts of action here in Ireland”.

A similar case cannot currently be taken in Ireland as we haven’t passed business and human rights legalisation to match France's due diligence law. However, as a founding member of the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights, Oxfam Ireland has led the call for strong Irish legislation on Business and Human Rights, including climate obligations, as soon as possible, to address these kind of cases and to follow a wave of reform across Europe in this area.

“This type of law is what we are advocating for in Ireland so all corporates including financial institutions can be held accountable for their climate action obligations,” said McCarthy Flynn.

 “We were left with little choice given how defenceless we are against climate change. We in Oxfam recently highlighted that one person is dying in the Horn of Africa every 36 seconds because of climate induced drought.

Meanwhile the biggest oil and gas companies turn a blind eye to the devastation caused and continue to plan dozens of new fossil fuel projects globally. This action aims to cut off the source finance. We see this as vital to prevent future floods and famine,” said Oxfam’s Policy lead.

ENDS

Contact: Clare Cronin, External Communication Manager 353+87+1952551

Notes for Editors

  • The Irish Coalition on Business and Human Rights, with Oxfam Ireland’s support, also addressed the Oireachtas committee on Trade, Enterprise and Employment last week to call for Ireland to state its position publicly in support of strong EU legislation currently in process, while the  also attended the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today to call for a strong and binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
  • Oxfam International Press Release here.
  • Read more, Towards a Lawsuit Against a Funder of Climate Chaos here.

 

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