June 17, 2019

#PollutersOut demands take center stage as Bonn climate talks begin

As the climate talks began on Monday morning, activists had a clear message for Global North governments blocking climate justice: #PollutersOut!

As the climate talks began on Monday morning, activists had a clear message for Global North governments blocking climate justice: #PollutersOut!

This morning, as the U.N. climate talks began in Bonn, the call to kick Big Polluters out of climate policy was front and center—literally.

We were there bright and early to greet government delegates, the media, and other attendees as they arrived at the conference hall for the start of negotiations.

Together with allies from around the world, we led an action calling on Global North governments like the U.S., EU, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway to stop doing the fossil fuel industry’s bidding — and to side with the hundreds of thousands of people like you and hundreds of organizations from around the world calling to kick Big Polluters out. The action came on the heels of Friday’s social media day of action, where hundreds of posts reached more than 2 million people around the world echoing the urgency of kicking #PollutersOut.

We expect the topic of a conflict-of-interest policy will be taken up later this week on the agenda of the negotiations. That means we don’t have a moment to waste to show governments the widespread support for such a policy, which could protect against Big Polluters’ interference.

So, after the action, we headed into the conference center, where we hand-delivered a letter, signed by 300 organizations, to the office of the EU delegation.

Civil society organizations deliver a sign-on letter to the European Union's delegation to the U.N. climate talks asking them to choose people, not polluters.

With Michael Bloss, a newly elected member of the European Parliament (MEP), we and our partners hand deliver a letter signed by 300 organizations from around the globe calling on the EU to side with people, not polluters. He reminded the EU delegation that EU Parliament has voted to direct the EU delegation to support a conflict-of-interest policy, and that he and other members of parliament are eager to see the delegation finally do so at these talks.

Our request for the EU to support a conflict-of-interest policy to protect the treaty from Big Polluters was met with typical diplomatic talking points—but confirmed that the EU is very much paying attention.

We rounded out the morning with two press conferences to help set the tone for the negotiations among governments, civil society, and the media alike.

First, Deputy Campaigns Director Sriram Madhusoodanan spoke on a panel hosted by our friends at Demand Climate Justice, highlighting Big Polluters and conflicts of interest as a key topic to watch.

Then, we held a press event specifically on conflicts of interest, featuring our allies at SustainUS, UK Youth Climate Coalition, Global Forest Coalition, and a member of European Parliament. Each shared their perspective on how the fossil fuel industry’s overwhelming presence at the talks undermines true solutions for climate justice.

Panelists speak at a press conference on Big Polluters' conflicting interests at the global climate treaty talks.

Aneesa Khan (SustainUS) moderates a press conference on Big Polluters’ conflicting interests at the climate talks, featuring panelists Eilidh Robb (UK Youth Climate Coalition), Sriram Madhusoodanan (Corporate Accountability), Souparna Lahiri (Global Forest Coalition), and Michael Bloss, a newly elected member of European Parliament.

Big Polluters and their Global North allies like the U.S., EU, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway want to sweep the issue of the fossil fuel industry’s conflicting interests under the rug. But we, our partners, and people like you all over the world are making clear that we’re not going to let that happen. From December’s People’s Demands for Climate Justice to today’s actions, we’ve been building a steady drumbeat for a world where corporations answer to people, not the other way around. And the power of our movement is only growing!

We need you to be a part of it. If you haven’t yet, take our just-launched digital action: Add your name to the call to the EU, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway to side with people, not polluters.

Keep scrolling for a handful of other photos from today’s action, and if you’re active on social media, please amplify our posts on Facebook and Twitter.


This blog post is part of “Polluters out, people in!“–our series of dispatches from the global climate talks in Germany. Read more here.

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