When the Fox Guards the Hen House
22 October 2015
There is incredible global momentum on climate change. People, everywhere, are standing up and demanding that their governments take action and are having an impact. Such an impact that many of the biggest polluters have also taken notice and are scrambling to get on the right side of history—but only at first blush; let’s not forget that corporate lobbying and corporately funded climate denialism are all-too-familiar phenomena.
For example, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative released a report calling for a price on carbon and investment in carbon capture and sequestration. Then there’s Shell and BHP’s newly announced commission to advise governments on climate policy. The problem isn’t just outside the UNFCCC process.
Within the negotiations, major carbon polluters seek to institutionalise their participation and influence. COP21 will be sponsored by corporations that have contributed—and continue to contribute—significantly to the climate crisis. Case in point: Électricité de France and Engie’s current coal operations account for nearly half of France’s energy emissions.
The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) raises serious questions regarding corporate conflicts of interest what with the inclusion of fossil fuel companies like Total, a corporation widely known to undermine climate policy in Europe.
Fortunately, numerous recent developments have exposed the truth behind the lies advanced by polluting industries like big coal and big oil. We now know, for example, that Exxon understood the science behind climate change—and obscured it from the public for decades.
As Parties work to finalise the negotiating text and look ahead to COP21, ECO calls on them to acknowledge the conflict of interest inherent in the involvement of private actors like big polluters in crafting the outcomes of our public policies to meaningfully address climate change.