December 5, 2018

200,000 people, 220 organisations from 128 countries place demands on UN COP24

By Agbonkhese Oboh

A coalition of more than 220 organisations has issued a series of demands to world governments participating in the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Katowice, Poland.

Representatives of the coalition, comprising 200,000 people from 128 countries, will hold a press briefing and a series of actions to turn pressure up on governments today.

The coalition demands, among others, that governments keep fossil fuels in the ground, reject false solutions that are displacing real, people-first solutions to the climate crisis, and advance real solutions that are just, feasible and essential. Others are that they honour climate finance obligations to developing countries, end corporate interference in and capture of the climate talks, and ensure developed countries honour their “Fair Shares” for largely fueling this crisis.

COP24 is time to act—CA
In a statement released by Corporate Accountability, Executive Director Patti Lynn called for world governments to look beyond the obstruction of Global North countries and act with urgency to address climate change.
Lynn sais: “When the future of humanity undeniably hangs in the balance, we need serious solutions from serious leaders, not dangerous schemes and political tricks aimed to keep Big Polluters polluting.”

Friends of the Earth
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth International, another member of the coalition, launched People Power Now: An Energy Manifesto, a list of 10 demands for a just energy transformation which it said provided a pathway to a new, clean energy future for all, that contributes to keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.
It said inaction by successive governments at the UN and among national governments has left a narrow and shrinking window for action, warning that there is deep frustration with the endless talking shop where polluters freely influence the debate and rich countries block the radical action needed for fossil fuel phase out in the North and finance for the South.

Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Programme Coordinator for Friends of the Earth International, said: “This year was supposed to be a major year for the climate pledges made in Paris three years ago to be ratcheted up to meet the need for early and steep emission cuts.

“Thanks to a weakened Talanoa Dialogue, climate ambitions are severely threatened, in addition to the dismantling of equity and the egregious fact that fossil fuel companies are sponsoring the conference.

“We need a just transition away from fossil fuels and dirty energy to a just, clean, peoples’ energy system. We need to push for gender justice and for a world free from oppression and inequality.”

“Big Polluters and their allies must not be allowed to meddle to determine the outcomes of the talks. Now is the time for leaders from Africa and nations already feeling the impacts of climate change to kick the industry out and advance real solutions,” said Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi.

…as industry forces descend on climate negotiations
Even with the final details being worked out, governments and civil society groups are bracing for an all out onslaught from fossil fuel industry-backed trade groups. High on their list will be negotiations on Article 6 or market-based mechanisms where groups like the International Emissions Trading Association, IETA, have long interfered and captured the process.

At COP23 it was revealed that an IETA board member was leading those talks and sat on a country delegation, a possibility the coalition vowed to monitor closely at COP24 for evidence of interference.

… and mysterious sponsors
Information about COP24 and corporate sponsors have been sparse. But the COP presidency has announced its first sponsor, Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, JSW, a majority Polish state-owned coal corporation.

JSW is the European Union’s largest coking coal producer. Past COPs have also featured high profile fossil fuel and emissions-intensive industry sponsors.