It might come as a surprise, but lobbyists for big fossil fuel trade associations have backdoor access to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and with the upcoming meetings in Bonn, Germany, a new report has called for the expulsion of these lobbyists who seek to undermine, weaken, and block negotiation progress.
The report, Inside Job: Big Polluters’ lobbyists on the inside at the UNFCCC, was published earlier this month by the nonprofit Corporate Accountability International, and seeks to expose the goings-on of fossil fuel lobbyists who have managed to secure for themselves access to the important United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks, where they are able to wheel and deal, and finagle their views into the negotiations. An upcoming meeting of the UNFCCC in May, to be held in Bonn, Germany, will be the first time that governments will officially discuss conflicts of interest. Additionally, the talks will be the first for the new US Trump administration.
“Right now hundreds of business trade associations have access to the climate talks, and many of them are funded by some of the world’s biggest polluters and climate change deniers,” said International Policy Director Tamar Lawrence-Samuel with Corporate Accountability International. “With so many arsonists in the fire department, it’s no wonder we’ve failed to put the fire out.”
The report continues, highlighting the need for this “major obstacle” to be addressed, for fear that “there is an alarmingly high chance there there will be as little progress made on the Paris Agreement as had been made on the UNFCCC Agreements that preceded it: Kyoto, Copenhagen, and Cancún.“
“To date, corporations that have knowingly played a fundamental role in creating the current climate crisis—and whose actions suggest they care more about their profits than our future—continue to interfere and secure a seat at the climate policymaking table. As long as corporations— and the business and industry non-governmental organizations (BINGOs) representing them—are allowed a major stake in climate policy while simultaneously profiting from this crisis, they will choke international efforts to slow climate change, stifling policymaking and financing efforts.”
Specifically, the report highlights six of the more than 270 Business and Industry NGOs non-governmental organizations (or, BINGOs) that are currently admitted to the climate talks: US Chamber of Commerce, National Mining Association, Business Roundtable, FuelsEurope, Business Council of Australia, and International Chamber of Commerce. These groups are believed to have “myriad fossil fuel industry connections” as reported in an analysis published by Corporate Accountability International prior to the Marrakech climate talks in 2016. More damningly, the report is more than happy to annotate these businesses with their own colorful descriptions:
- Big Oil’s Yes-man: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Big Coal’s Chief Denier: National Mining Association
- Big Businesses’ Big Bully: Business Roundtable
- Europe’s Fossil Fuel Apologist: FuelsEurope
- Australia’s Fossil Fuel Front: Business Council of Australia
- The Corporate Door-Opener: International Chamber of Commerce
With the upcoming Bonn meeting set to discuss conflicts of interest, it is more vital than ever to ensure that these fossil fuel industry puppets are not able to unduly influence the negotiations. The meeting will discuss conflicts of interest, namely whether organizations representing the interests of the fossil fuel industry have an oversized presence at at the UN climate treaty negotiations.
The report presents two primary recommendations that they hope governments will act upon: “Formally reach a consensus on a universal definition of a conﬂict of interest,” and “Create a stringent, transparent process for admission” to the negotiations.