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Consumers to the U.N.: Kick Big Polluters Out of Climate Negotiations


By Jesse Bragg and TJ Faircloth

As the world turns its attention to Paris in advance of the United Nations climate negotiations in December, hundreds of thousands of people are also unifying around a common cause: kicking the very polluters that have caused the climate crisis out of those negotiations.

Sound common-sense? Unfortunately, it is far from the reality. New findings indicate that corporate influence is undermining climate policy progress globally. And here in the U.S., members of Congress are calling for an investigation into ExxonMobil for its misinformation campaigns. Around the world, people are exposing Big Oil’s true intention to talk the talk, but never walk the walk, on climate change.

Corporate co-optation of U.N. climate negotiations

From direct sponsorship and cooptation of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks to external advisory commissions and initiatives, fossil fuel industry interference in policymaking is an obstacle at every level. Just last week, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative — an alliance between some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers — released a pro-natural gas report advocating for industry friendly, “market-based” solutions. And just weeks ago, Shell and BHP Billiton announced a partnership with McKinsey Consulting to “advise” governments on climate policy.

Inside the UNFCCC, big polluters like the fossil fuel industry and energy utilities are using the convention to greenwash their brands and legitimize their role in climate policymaking. In May, it was revealed that the next Conference of the Parties (COP 21) would be yet another “Corporate COP,” with the announcement of a host of sponsors including corporations such as Engie, Électricité de France S.A. (EDF) and Suez Environnement. Suez Environnement, infamous for its dealings in water privatization, is partially owned by Engie, which profits from fracking operations, putting it at direct odds with the advancement of the treaty. EDF and Engie’s current coal operations account for the equivalent of nearly half of France’s entire emissions.

To make matters worse, industry involvement in the policymaking process is not only allowed, but also encouraged, regardless of a corporation’s environmental track record. The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) involves over 1,100 corporations including major fossil fuel corporations, transportation corporations and energy utilities. Such an initiative not only allows some of the world’s biggest polluters to greenwash their images, and it gives them access and leverage in the treaty process.

The fossil fuel industry’s cooptation, appropriation and PR posturing are the same used by Big Tobacco to position itself on the side of health and stave off tobacco control action. In that parallel we find a powerful public policy precedent: the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which came into force in 2005, insulates tobacco policymaking from the tobacco industry itself, recognizing the inherent conflict of interest in allowing Big Tobacco to have a seat at the negotiating table.    Join more than 350,000 people who are demanding: Kick Big Polluters Out

The good news? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world — from Kenya to Columbia, Uganda to Sri Lanka — are mounting a historic campaign to jettison polluters from climate policymaking. They are demanding action from governments, now. The campaign and new global platform, called Kick Big Polluters Out, launched just as delegates wrap up the final rounds of U.N. negotiations before the Paris meetings in December.

Join the more than 350,000 people who have already called on their governments to take action to protect climate policymaking — and the planet — from the fossil fuel industry. To join the rapidly growing call and view the new campaign platform, go to: www.KickBigPollutersOut.org

Jesse Bragg is the media director of Corporate Accountability International, a member-powered organization with a 38-year track record of challenging corporate abuse. In concert with allies around the world, Corporate Accountability International coordinates the global initiative to kick big polluters out of climate policy.

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