Groups returning to UN climate talks must show governments business as usual is not an option

As many civil society groups walk back in to the UN climate talks today in Bonn after walking out last November in Warsaw [X], authors of the COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying [X], Corporate Europe Observatory, warn that unless we end the cosy relationship between political leaders and the dirty energy industry, we will be walking back into a climate disaster.

Pascoe Sabido, Researcher and Campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory, said, “We walked out of the talks in Warsaw because the interests of the world’s dirtiest corporations were being listened to above those of the billions affected by climate change. Business as usual is no longer an option – transition towards fair and just low-carbon societies will never happen while our economy and society continue to be governed by exploitative neoliberal policies. So the choice for our political leaders is easy: if you’re not prepared to listen to people over polluters, then get out of our way.”

COP19 in Warsaw saw unprecedented levels of corporate capture, with a business-only pre-COP, corporate sponsorship of the talks themselves by fossil fuel and dirty industries, as well as an industry coal summit organised at the same time by the Polish hosts. A series of important UN climate events will take place between now and the crucial talks in Paris in 2015 [X], and French groups have already warned their government that when countries meet again in Paris, dirty industry is not welcome [X].

Sabido added, “We wouldn’t allow Big Tobacco anywhere near a conference on lung disease or to be deciding public health policy, so why are we doing exactly that when it comes to the dirty energy industry and climate? It’s up to Ban Ki-moon, Christiana Figueres and François Hollande to show they’re serious about protecting the climate by protecting climate policy making from those with a vested interest in trashing it.”[X]


Pascoe Sabido,; +32 486 85 74 16

Notes to editor:

[X] More than 800 people from diverse groups, including Corporate Europe Observatory, walked out of the talks in Warsaw with the message on their t-shirts ‘polluters talk, we walk’ and ‘volveremos’ on the reverse  (we will return’, in Spanish).

The UN intercessional talks in Bonn saw many groups symbolically walking back in, as well as handing over the ‘People’s Volveremos Declaration’, signed by Corporate Europe Observatory, to the Venezuelan government who will host the ‘social pre-COP’ in Caracas this autumn. The declaration calls on political leaders to “Reject the damaging influence of corporate interests on climate policy and prevent their promotion of false solutions as the global response to the climate crisis”.  For the full text and a list of signatories see

[X] Corporate Europe Observatory, with Transnational Institute, published the COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying in November 2013, as the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, began.

[X] Countries are supposed to come together for COP21 in Paris in 2015 to agree a deal which will cover all post-2020 global emissions (as well as agree pre-2020 emissions). The deal is expected to be ratified by 2020.

[X] French groups, led by ATTAC France, CRID and RAC, sent a letter to French President François Hollande and his ministerial team in charge of COP21 calling on them to remove the dirty energy industry from climate policy making and in particular the climate talks in Paris, looking to the WHO as inspiration, which took similar action regarding the tobacco industry.

[X] September 23rd is the Climate Summit in New York, organised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; in December in Lima, Peru, will be the COP20 UNFCCC climate talks, overseen by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; in Winter 2015 in Paris, France will be the COP21 UNFCCC climate talks, overseen by French President François Hollande. Therefore all three have a responsibility, as hosts of these events, to lead by example in their dealings with the dirty energy industry. At COP19 in Warsaw, 2013, over 80 civil society groups signed an open letter to Bank Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres calling on them to look to the WHO and take commensurate action to protect the climate talks and climate policy making from the damaging influence of dirty energy and energy intensive industries.