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Uncovered: Fossil Fuel Industry Has Back-Door Access to UN Climate Talks
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 00:00
By Jesse Bragg, AlterNet | Report
As countries descend on Marrakech for the negotiations of the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a new infographic by
Corporate Accountability International reveals the true extent of the
fossil fuel industry's access to, and influence over, the talks.
The analysis exposes the financial and membership ties between some of
the world's largest fossil fuel corporations and accredited business
groups and trade associations at the UNFCCC. These ties present an
irreconcilable conflict of interest and bolster a movement among
governments and civil society groups to develop a policy within the
UNFCCC to protect from such conflicts.
"What interests -- beyond slowing progress -- does a corporation like
ExxonMobil or Shell have in these talks?" said Tamar Lawrence-Samuel of
Corporate Accountability International. "The answer is 'none.' Before we
can ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, we must
first make sure that Big Oil and those representing its interests are
not at the table."
As the brief outlines, the World Coal Association, an accredited
observer to the UNFCCC, represents the interests of some of the world's
largest coal corporations like Peabody Energy, BHP Billiton and Rio
Tinto. And, trade associations like the Business Council of Australia
and BusinessEurope count as their members the likes of ExxonMobil, BP,
and Royal Dutch Shell -- some of the world's largest oil and gas
Many of these accredited observers have also aggressively lobbied at the
national and regional levels to undermine environmental and renewable
energy policies, further calling into question their role in the UNFCCC.
BusinessEurope, for example, has consistently sought to undermine
climate policy, including EU emissions trading schemes and renewables
The Paris Agreement calls for a new and unprecedented level of private
sector participation while providing no protections against corporations
or trade groups that might seek to steer negotiations toward their (or
their members') commercial interests. At intersessional negotiations of
the UNFCCC in May, parties representing almost 70% of the world's
population called for the UNFCCC to study other international bodies'
policies in order to form its own policy to identify and address
conflicts of interests that may arise between those interests and the
environmental objectives of the Paris Agreement and the convention itself.
One such example with the UN system is the World Health Organization's
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which recognizes the
conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health. The
FCTC, which came into force in 2005, has been rapidly implemented around
the world thanks to its approach to conflicts of interest and industry
influence. The FCTC and UNFCCC have already convened for their
respective conferences of parties.
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