August 19, 2020

STATEMENT: UK government reportedly prohibiting oil, gas COP26 sponsors

On August 18th, Climate Home News reported that the UK government is not allowing any oil and gas corporations to sponsor the next round of UN climate negotiations, COP26. 

This decision, if confirmed, is thanks to a growing and years-long movement to kick Big Polluters out of the corporate-laden talks which has created immense PR liability for meeting hosts and the sponsors themselves.

Fossil fuel industry interference in and influence over the talks through sponsorship, trade associations, and other avenues has been a large obstructor of progress.

Hundreds of thousands of people and governments, collectively representing more than 70% of the world’s population, have backed the call to kick Big Polluters out of the UN climate talks and for governments to address the conflicts of interest that engagement with Big Polluters introduces into climate policymaking.

Below is a quote from Rachel Rose Jackson, Corporate Accountability Director of Climate Policy and Research.

“If confirmed, this decision speaks to the power of the years of organizing to demand governments kick Big Polluters out. For far too long, the UN climate talks have failed to deliver for people on the global frontlines of the climate crisis, yet has met the world’s largest polluters with open arms. 

While the devil will certainly be in the details, this decision is the smallest precaution any government hosting talks meant to avert the very crisis the fossil fuel industry has knowingly fueled and profited off of for decades must take. 

While this could curb one large avenue of influence for the fossil fuel industry, it certainly won’t stop all of it: other Big Polluters may be eligible for sponsorship, and the fossil fuel industry will continue to have access to and actively undermine the talks, including through its hundreds of trade associations. Until that primary avenue of influence is addressed, and the conflicts of interest that engagement with Big Polluters has in climate policy is tackled head on, these talks will continue to fail to deliver.

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