The Conference of the Parties 22 (COP22) held in Marrakesh, Morocco this year has given fossil fuel companies a seat in the climate negotiations. A prime cause of climate change is the use of fossil fuel, which emits the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to the environment. Carbon dioxide results in global warming. The historic first meeting of the parties, taking place now has given fossil fuel corporations a chance to voice out at side events organised in conjunction with COP22. These are the very organisations that have funded movements that promote climate change denial and show interest in extracting as much fossil fuel as possible.
Representatives from fossil fuel corporates such as Chevron, Shell and British Petroleum are given access to discussion at COP22, amid criticism from many. They are allowed to witness the discussions using their observer status at the negotiations, with the backing of many developed nations including the US, EU and Australia. The said countries were against measures to limit corporate involvement in the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
These companies are also given a chance to organise side events at country pavilions and the civil society space known as “green zone” to “promote” their products. In an International Conference that aims to keep global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius and plans to implement the Paris Agreement, nicknamed the COP of Action, giving access to the polluters of the climate a seat at the discussion table is ironic.
I believe that the fossil fuel lobby dilutes legislation concerning climate change. The lobby has had conflicts with international interests dating back decades. In my view, the fossil fuel lobby has seized COP22 as a business opportunity by using side event booths organised in conjunction with COP22 as platforms to voice out. Corporate Accountability International released the map below, which clearly marks how fossil fuel cooperates gain access to high-level meetings at COP.
A petition calling for fossil fuel lobbyists to be removed from the UN climate change negotiation signed by 500,000 people who share the same views as I do was handed over to the US delegation. The petition initiated by Corporate Accountability International requests the UNFCCC to create a policy which will exclude the participants with conflict of interest from the negotiation process.
A side event at COP22 – Fossil Fuel Supply and Climate Policy acknowledged the conflict between climate change policy and the said industry. It was noted that despite the Paris Agreement, fossil fuel subsidies continue to grow. The Paris Agreement took decades to come into being and now it is threatened by polluting coporates from inside the negotiation rooms. Coal and oil belong under ground, not in the climate negotiation rooms of COP22.
Written by Dulanga Witharanage
Edited by Choy Moon Moon