COP21: Kickout the big Polluters

As the world leaders get ready to meet in Paris for 21st Conference of the parties (COP21), to establish a solid ground to solve the climate crisis, doubts shadow whether or not corporate business and big oil polluters have taken over the agenda.

The corporate involvement, specially fossil fuel lobby groups within the UNFCCC is not new. From the very beginning of the earth summit and 1995 COP1 (Statement by the International Chamber of Commerce before COP1) in Berlin till cop20 in Lima, we have seen corporate parties taking every action to jeopardize any climate agreement and to make sure their interest is not harmed, which they refer to as ‘Business as usual’.

The negotiation to bring the countries on same page in solving climate crisis has been going on for 20 years now through COP. And each time the outcome was same: No universal agreement. Closest were COP3 and COP15, but there were no legal binding. The corporations and fossil fuels lobbyist group played a key role ensuring that.The failure of 20 climate summits to date has corresponded with a dramatic speed up of greenhouse gas emission rates. In fact, since 1988, more than half of all industrial carbon emissions have been released, raising the prospect of irreversible climate change.

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CO2 level has never been this high in human history. Credit: NOAA & Scripps Institution of Oceanography

But, why do organizations like UNFCCC let business corporations take over things? A short history lesson will help us understand that.

Back in 70s, UN took up an initiative to monitor big corporations so that they can’t  create pressure on underdeveloped nations for business. With time, UN changed that policy and the companies were given priority to invest in the name of foreign direct investment through UN. Later in the 90s, the financial crisis within the UN, opened doors for more Corporate-UN partnership. UNFCCC is just one part of it.

Corporate influence

The corporate influence within UNFCCC—Polaris Institute

With COP, the whole world has seen the effort fossil fuel lobbyist group indulge in. From ‘business as usual’ market based solution to ‘greenwash’ every effort has been put into place to care for profit, not for the environment. To them, climate action is important, but can’t jeopardize the growth. Carbon tax is another loophole, which shifts focus from emission reduction to emission transfer.

So, when the French Senate cut funding for COP21, the French government’s announced that corporate sponsors would cover 20 percent of the €170 million event was not a surprise.

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Corporate and dirty, does not look smart—COP21 sponsors

Corporate Europe Observatory, Corporate Accountability International and many other civil society organizations have been pointing out the corporate involvement with COP for years. The corporate sponsorship of COP21 creates a dangerous conflict of interest in two key points [1]:

  1. Most of the sponsors invest heavily in fossil fuel, and with a weak climate agreement, they benefit the most
  2. UNFCCC and its member governments are allowing the corporations responsible for causing the climate crisis to greenwash their brands while continuing to make no meaningful changes to their polluting operations.

 

Fossil Fuel lobbyist are also becoming desperate. With downward pressure on gas and coal prices, both the removal of Fossil Fuel Subsidies and implementing renewable energy strategy is possible without raising much energy cost. Then there is their public image, which is also facing much scrutiny as fossil fuel industry knew about their effect on climate change since 1980s and they continued to fund deniers throughout.

So, what this means? This means that whatever outcome we get from COP21, may also serve the fossil fuel industry, a reason why a drive is now ongoing to kick out the big polluters from COP21 negotiation. World Health Organisation (WHO) had done such before in one of United Nations quickest ratified treaties in 2005 which introduced a bar between public health officials and tobacco industry. We do not want the same history to be repeated again and again, as we have found for the last 20 COPs, big polluters find their way in. It’s time that we say no to them through an action like WHO, for us and for the planet.

More to come, this week: Have you heard, renewable can save the world by 2050? Stay tuned. 

Live blog: Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training

3 day long Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training kicks off in Florida, with more than 1500 attendees from 86 countries. This is it’s 30th Session and the time is crucial as UN just announced the SDGs and Pope visit to United States was marked with lots of talk on climate.

Over the course of three days, experts will share information about the science behind the climate crisis as well as their experiences educating and engaging diverse networks and communities. The chance to connect with a group of extraordinary leaders from a variety of sectors and countries around the world is vast.

Mario Molina, Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training Director is hosting the training.

Florida is facing flash floods not because of rain but because of tides and that has taken over the discussion among the attendees. Al Gore in his introductory speech talked about it as he went down to see the condition himself.

Then Senator Bill Nelson took Stage:

Next came Mr. Berlin to talk about where we stand in all of it:

After Lunch, AL Gore is right now presenting on climate crisis and solution:

Most popular tweets on #climatechange: 7-24 July, 2015

As we inch closer to Paris Summit, lot starts to roll in the arena of climate change and denial.

Governor and Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger expresses his concern and asks people to act on climate: https://twitter.com/UNDP/status/623636330002649088

The white house has been actively tweeting regarding the climate change for the last few months and getting people’s attention:

Greenpeace talks about climate change deniers, what are their causes:

I myself work on models and I know how important they are. They work as our eyes in the future.

And last but not the least as I have always focused young people are the key in our effort to stop changing climate:

Most popular tweets on #ClimateChange : Week 29 June-6 July, 2015

The development world is now more focused on Sustainable Development Goal and MDGs report. But, Climate Change is addressed all over the world, as COP21 approaches.

POTUS continues to talk about climate, though the concern remains what will happen after the election?

Brazil, China and USA all together may pull the climate change down:

How is Ireland doing?

Activists play an important role in making sure, climate change voice is heard. What role again?