Sunday, October 16, 2016

FOSSIL INDUSTRY – Part of the problem;not solution!

New exposé unearths the true dirt behind COP21’s corporate sponsors" Corporate Accountability International

There are different stakeholders in climate change talks with varying interests. Having everyone’s voices heard is part of the negotiation; but when some stakeholders interest conflicts with the main focus of discussion, it becomes a problem.
At COP 21 Paris
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One such main conflict stakeholder in climate change discussions is the fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuel industry’s market lies in generating energy from fossil fuels; the main cause for climate change. Climate change mitigation strategies will reduce their market, business and profit. Hence its irony when they sponsor UN climate change (COP21) talks unless they have some hidden agenda.

To reduce global warming, there is a definite need to shift from fossil fuel to cleaner sources of energy. In this process, the obvious impact will be on fossil fuel industry. Many countries have already pledged to cut billions of dollars in the industry subsidies. Over the years, the fossil fuel industry has tried hard to not bring climate research to public; but extreme weather conditions have become so frequent that no one can avoid it any more. It is alleged that the fossil fuel industry had and still has a major role in subduing the importance of climate change and underplaying its effects. They are alleged to have suppressed climate research and blinded the truth. Fossil fuel industry is playing same strategy as that of Tobacco industry which for years denied and hid the negative effects of its product after knowing it. Exxon Mobil, the energy major is now facing numerous investigations into whether the company lied to investors and committed fraud by covering up the risks of climate change for decades.

There is a big concern that climate change negotiations are unduly influenced by fossil fuel industry. In the Paris agreement, their involvement was actively seen with many events being sponsored by the fossil fuel industry. Its common sense to see that a negotiation with such undue influence of fossil fuel lobby will not set concrete climate change mitigation policies. Corporate accountability international released a report “Fueling the Fire” which exposes the environmental destruction and public policy interference of the leading COP21 sponsors including fossil fuel majors Engie, Suez Environment as well as bank BNP Paribas and French utility Électricité de France. The report clearly shows the conflict of interest inherent in allowing such sponsorship.  As fossil fuel industry is powerful and rich, if part of the negotiations, their undue influence will continue and impact the discussions in a negative way.  Either they should be banned from the negotiations or there should be clear rules to their limits of participation.

In the mean time, as they find their business shaky, the coal industry is now looking into developing countries and racing to get coal plants build and lock these countries in coal dependence. They project coal as affordable and available resource to meet their energy requirements. It’s surprising to see a large number of countries including China, India, Turkey, Vietnam and South Africa building huge coal fired power plants exceeding their future energy demands. What the fossil industry is looking for is power plants and once they are built, these countries will become fossil fuel dependent.

The fossil fuel industry has mislead public since 1970s about the effect of CO2  for self interest. They are concerned only with their profits and money making; welfare of our planet and other fellow beings is not their concern - hence their participation will jeopardize climate change negotiations and thus should be BANNED from the discussions!

Anu Kuncheria


Fueling the fire: The big polluters bankrolling COP21 by Corporate Accountability International