Closing words from COP20: Time to Take Power from the Polluters

As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International).

[CEO speaks for five minutes at 15:15 -]

  • What's on the table only deepens the climate crisis: it does nothing for those already being affected by climate change, like in the Philippines, or those who will be affected in the future, i.e. all of us.

  • Rich countries and their dirty industries are setting the agenda: Like in Warsaw, the voices of polluters are drowning out the voices of real people and communities on the front line. Instead of an energy transformation the message appears to be fossil fuels full steam ahead.

  • The world needs real solutions, but Lima has failed them: the deal allows in false solutions like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and failed carbon market, aimed at allowing the biggest historical polluters a way out of cutting emissions and continuing with business as usual.

  • The presence of dirty energy was challenged inside and out of COP20: as well as Shell being invited to speak about CCS alongside the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, they – along with Chevron and others – sponsored side events inside the negotiations, but youth staged an action and disrupted the event. At the corporate World Climate Summit, hundreds of protestors went to blockade the hotel hosting it.

  • Dirty energy has done most of its work before getting here: CCS and carbon markets aren't the result of a few side events, but concerted and aggressive lobbying at national level before arriving at the negotiations. That's why Canada is pushing CCS and the EU is pushing carbon markets.

  • Corporations want more influence: despite the UNFCCC stating that they're doing their upmost to include business in negotiations (e.g. a business-only pre-COP in Warsaw), they want to have equal status as countries i.e. write the deal themselves!

  • We need to kick them out of the COP and our governments: if we're serious about tackling climate change, those driving the climate crisis have no place at the negotiating table and no place anywhere near our national governments.

If COP20 is supposed laying the road to Paris, then here in Lima dirty energy industry has taken control of the steering wheel and is driving us off a climate cliff. But through building our power by linking across our movements at national, regional and international level, we can reclaim the wheel and steer the world towards the real, bottom-up solutions that are already out there.

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