Trouble always comes in threes: Big polluters; the Polish Government and the UN

This is the introduction to a longer article that you can find here.

By Corporate Europe Observatory, with research contributions by Karolina Jankowska

It is an inauspicious sign for the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP19, that Poland, a country heavily dependent on coal and notorious for blocking more ambitious climate change policy at the EU level, is this year's host for the meeting. The Polish Government has invited private corporate sponsorship of the COP – a first for the conference – raising questions of whether this is being taken seriously as an international meeting of paramount importance, or a facilitated lobbying opportunity for those who have a direct commercial interest in burning more fossil fuels. The fact that one business sponsor, the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, paid for the building of the structures housing the international meeting – and has its logo on it – is powerfully emblematic of how corporations have captured the COP process itself1. Meanwhile the International Coal and Climate Summit run by the World Coal Association is taking place as a parallel event, with the support of the Polish Ministry of the Economy; they have issued a joint 'Warsaw Communique' proposing the non-existent “clean coal” to fight climate change.

Corporate capture is not an exclusively Polish problem, however – the UN has increasingly opened its doors to corporate participation at each successive COP meeting. It seems that ultimately those most responsible for the climate crisis are the ones calling the shots.

Talks which should be fuelled by the urgency to solve climate change are increasingly resembling business fairs, a fertile ground for carbon crooks to spin false solutions that are designed to allow them to keep burning fossil fuels while lining their pockets. Their heavy participation is a block on real progress – for example, business associations like the International Chamber of Commerce demand that all countries be treated equally regardless of their historical responsibility for carbon emissions – and a crucial factor in the COP's failure to reach an agreement thus far. Therefore COP19, which followed the horror of typhoon Yolanda devastating the Philippines, is ignoring the crucial questions – how are we going to leave fossils fuel in the ground? How do we ensure a just transition? How do we make sure the North pays its climate debt to the South? The UNFCCC was meant to be the forum to discuss all this and find way forwards. However, lack of political will and the capitulation to corporate pressure is preventing this from happening.

Read the whole article here.


This story is part of our blog Corporate COP19. Read all the other stories here.
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