Corporate interests at centre of climate negotiations

Corporate polluters have infiltrated the world’s annual climate negotiations (COP), undermining the implementation of the Paris agreement.

Numerous instances reported by non-profit organisation Corporate Accountability include fossil fuel companies being given access through sponsorship to negotiation rooms at COP21 in Paris.

It also revealed the membership of a UN climate negotiator to the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), a body set up by fossil fuel companies to make sure climate actions cause “minimal economic harm”.

According to Corporate Accountability’s Jesse Bragg, market-based solutions have become dogma at COPs, and “we have the wrong people at the table and we’re looking to the wrong people for advice” to limit the planet to under 1.5°C warming. Sea level, precipitation and temperatures are predicted to rise dramatically and exponentially between 1.5°C and 2°C warming.

Meanwhile, a separate report from Corporate Europe Observatory last month detailed how gas industry representatives have met with the two European commissioners in charge of climate and energy policy 460 times in recent years.

The gas industry spent over £82 million in lobbying in 2016 to ensure it becomes a long-term bridge in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions while renewables cannot yet satisfy energy demands. Methane, the most common natural gas, is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

A third report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) hailed private sector investment in areas like renewable power and public transport as “the key to fighting climate change and fulfil[ling] the promises of Paris”. The IFC is a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, which still lends billions to fossil fuel projects.

COP23, which commenced Monday in Bonn, comes as the deadline approaches for governments to finalise how compliance to the Paris agreement will be monitored and enforced, and how the developing world will receive finance and support.

Developing countries are pushing for agreement on an official conflict-of-interest policy, an issue that has so far been thwarted by the US, EU and Australia but which is on the table again for this year’s negotiations.

The UK Youth Climate Coalition will be delivering Cards for the Climate to the UK negotiating team each day at COP23. If you want to make your voice heard on conflict-of-interest, send your message to the negotiating team to [email protected] and UKYCC will deliver it straight to their hands.

Feature image: Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay, November 4, 2017.

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