Cross-posted from Daily Kos.
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks drew to a close last week, nearly a quarter of a million people, many from the Daily Kos community, demanded that the U.N. protect climate policymaking from the globe’s biggest polluters.
For 20 years, the world’s largest polluters have stymied progress on the U.N. climate treaty, using a range of strategies from direct lobbying and infiltrating country delegations to sponsoring the talks themselves. At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) in Warsaw, corporations with a direct conflict of interest in the treaty’s success not only sponsored the talks, they were given preferential access to delegates. And this year, COP21 will be sponsored by corporations like Suez Environnement, which profits from fracking, and a coal corporation.
The next round of treaty talks in Paris this December will be a make-or-break moment, with tremendous potential and opportunity for true progress. But meaningful progress on climate change is only possible if the very corporations responsible for the climate crisis aren’t in the room calling the shots.
As Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org, asks, “would you let the professional arsonist join the volunteer fire department?” As he notes, fossil fuel corporations and other big polluters “are the guys who want to keep the problem going, not solve it.”
Despite the clear and irreconcilable conflict of interest fossil fuel corporations have with climate policymaking, the meetings last week were overrun with the industry’influence. The meeting space was plastered with corporate greenwashing lauding the voluntary and unenforceable commitments corporations have made to mitigate their emissions. And trade groups representing major corporations that rely on fossil fuels (including coal, oil, mining and automobile corporations) hosted or were major contributors to a number of sessions.
That’s why, last Wednesday at the treaty meetings in Germany, Corporate Accountability International called on Parties to the UNFCCC to recognize big polluters as the “arsonists” they are, rather than part of the solution. They delivered petitions on behalf of dozens of additional organizations, including Daily Kos, that represent hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
Godwin Ojo, director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, joined representatives from Réseau Action Climat-France and Corporate Accountability International to deliver the petitions on behalf of the hundreds of thousands who had signed across the world. They joined a silent youth-led action, where activists spelled the message, “Protect Climate Policy! Kick Big Polluters Out!” in the main entryway of the conference venue. Delegates and Secretariat staff stopped to stare and take photos.
Already over 29,000 more people have signed since last week’s delivery, adding up to over 260,000 people. Additional petitions will be delivered to the UNFCCC before the end of COP21.
Check out more photos of last week’s delivery: