The world\u0026#039;s 47 largest producers of greenhouse gases must respond within 45 days to an unprecedented legal complaint filed Wednesday by the Philippines, which alleges the fossil fuel behemoths have deprived millions of residents of the island nation of their human rights through catastrophic global warming.\u0022We just want to live a decent and peaceful life, without fear and being at the mercy of big corporations that only care for their profits.\u0022—Veronica \u0022Derek\u0022 Cabe, PetitionerThe Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), a governmental body, sent the multinational \u0022carbon majors\u0022 a 60-page letter (pdf) accusing them of \u0022breaching people\u0022s fundamental rights to \u0026#039;life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and to self determination,\u0026#039;\u0022 the Guardian reports.\u0022The commission\u0026#039;s actions are unprecedented. For the first time, a national human rights body is officially taking steps to address the impacts of climate change on human rights and the responsibility of private actors,\u0022 Zelda Soriano, legal and political adviser for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, one of the groups that brought the complaint to the CHR, told the newspaper.\u0022This is an important building block in establishing the moral and legal \u0026#039;precedent\u0026#039; that big polluters can be held responsible for current and threatened human rights infringements resulting from fossil fuel products,\u0022 Soriano added.The Philippines has been one of the countries hardest hit by the effects of climate change.The Guardian reports:Four of its most devastating super-cyclones have occurred in the last decade, and the country has recorded increasingly severe floods and heatwaves that have been linked to man-made global warming.Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing 650,000 others in 2013.The legal complaint has been brought by typhoon survivors and non-governmental organisations and is supported by more than 31,000 Filipinos.\u0022We\u0026#039;ve been affected for so long by storms, droughts…by extreme weather, now made worse by climate change. We just want to live a decent and peaceful life, without fear and being at the mercy of big corporations that only care for their profits,\u0022 said Veronica \u0022Derek\u0022 Cabe, who joined the complaint from Bataan, a province where \u0022communities are fighting against coal storage facilities and proposals for a new coal-fired power plant and where one of the community leaders advocating against coal was shot dead on 1 July 2016,\u0022 as Greenpeace International writes.\u0022Our only choice is to defend our rights,\u0022 Cabe continued. \u0022We want those most responsible to be held accountable. We want justice and to regain the ability to protect the little that we have left for our children.\u0022\u0022Ultimately, those who have profited most from pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must bear the burden of preventing the havoc already being wreaked by climate change.\u0022—Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace InternationalThe letter was addressed to corporations \u0022responsible for the majority of fossil fuel products that have been manufactured, marketed, and sold since the industrial revolution and have contributed the lion\u0026#039;s share of cumulative global emissions of industrial CO2 and methane,\u0022 Greenpeace International notes.Those included Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and many other oil, gas, concrete manufacturing, and mining behemoths.The companies were chosen based on\u0026nbsp;research (pdf) by Richard Heede, director of the U.S.-based Climate Accountability Institute. In 2013, Heede calculated that \u0022a mere 90 companies, some private and some state-owned, account for a full two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions that are now driving perilous rates of global warming,\u0022 as\u0026nbsp;Common Dreams\u0026nbsp;reported.\u0022Ultimately, those who have profited most from pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must bear the burden of preventing the havoc already being wreaked by climate change. This is the first step in that process,\u0022 said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, in a press statement.\u0022The courageous Filipino people are the first to put the world\u0026#039;s largest carbon producers on notice that they must account for their emissions,\u0022 Morgan said.The Guardian observes that the CHR \u0022is not a court and would have no power to force companies to reduce emissions or fine them. However, it can make recommendations to government and would add to the worldwide pressure to persuade shareholders to divest from heavy carbon emitters.\u0022And this complaint is the latest in a rising tide of climate change\u0026nbsp;cases \u0022being brought against governments and corporations,\u0022 the newspaper notes.Once the companies\u0026#039; responses are received, Greenpeace says, hearings will begin in the Philippines in October 2016.