November 3, 2021

Release: COP26 Blue Zone rife with toxic distractions, thousands around the world demand real solutions

GLASGOW – While the urgency of the climate crisis is scientifically recognized, it seems that governments taking part in the COP26 negotiations—especially Global North governments like the U.S., U.K., and EU—are set on condemning people and the planet with toxic tactics.

Two days of high-level whining and dining yielded little more than dangerous “net zero” pledges set for dates many of those touting them won’t live to see. So Corporate Europe Observatory, Corporate Accountability, Acción Ecológica, Futuras Indigenas, Polluters Out, UK Youth Climate Coalition, Belgian Youth for Climate, Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, and other climate justice activists led a Toxic Tour across the Blue Zone to reveal how these governments are undermining progress at the talks.

In addition, the activists delivered a clear message from thousands of people and hundreds of organizations to the U.S., U.K., and EU demanding they stop advancing dangerous ‘net zero’ distractions and advance real, just solutions to address the climate crisis.

“The UK government has made ‘net zero’ the centre piece of COP26, especially when it comes to private finance,” said Pascoe Sabido, researcher and campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory. “That spells disaster for keeping temperatures to 1.5c and the communities already suffering from fossil fuel extractivism and deforestation. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants to sell off the climate to his friends in the City of London, while smiling a sweet ‘net zero’ smile. It’s really important to call out this scam and push for real solutions. This is why we did the toxic tour.”

Global North governments have long obstructed meaningful action, instead attempting to offer paltry and unreasonable Band-Aids like market-based solutions, carbon capture and geoengineering—all of which will spur more destruction for people on the front lines and across the Global South.

“Global North hegemony continues to decide the fate of global climate policy, and Big Polluters continue infecting these governments’ decisions on climate action. This is what got us to a worsening climate crisis, but it won’t get us out,” said Swetha Saseedhar, senior climate campaigner at Corporate Accountability. “ We must look to the expertise of front-line leaders to pave the way for real solutions.”

From the U.K. pavilion to the Business Pavilion, two stops on the Toxic Tour’s Blue Zone route, it’s clear that governments have come to COP26 to proffer plans that protect profit, not people or the planet. Meanwhile, front-line organizers who have travelled thousands of miles to share real, just solutions are forced to wait in hours-long queues, or were unable to travel as a result of systematic oppression and vaccine apartheid.

In response to the conditions at COP26, Ivonne Yánez, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador, says: “All what is being negotiated here, at this COP26, is so terrible for peoples and Nature, that we should ask “DOWN WITH THE PARIS AGREEMENT!” Down the polluters, down the perpetrators!
We, the peoples, we will oppose, as we have been doing to oil or mining activities, also to all these false solutions.”

From the resounding rejection of “net zero” to the unshakeable stance on implementing real solutions laid out by African civil society organizations, the message is clear: people want action, now. Yet COP26 is being used by the finance sector to write the script on climate action, as a new briefing from Corporate Europe Observatory shows. But if corporations and the governments that do their bidding insist on toxic tactics like carbon capture and market-based solutions, there’s nothing but a sickly future ahead.

For more information see:

  • A recording of the live events
  • The petition from thousands of individuals delivered today to the US, UK, and EU demanding they stop advancing a dangerous “net zero” agenda
  • A global call for real solutions released by 700+ groups round the world, calling on governments to reject net zero and advance real solutions at COP26
  • Still A Big Con, a fact file that follows on a report released by 70+ climate groups earlier this year, detailing how Big Polluters are using “net zero” to block meaningful action at COP
  • A new report by Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute detailing how COP26 has become the biggest finance greenwash event in history.

CONTACT: Lena Greenberg (they/them), [email protected], +1 646 620 5344


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