Hypocrisy: Despite media hype CO2 levels still increase every year, fossil fuel subsidies are higher than ever, and no country has yet banned any company from extracting fossil fuels
by Tierney Smith As corporate anti-climate behaviour comes under increasing scrutiny from law-enforcers, media and public, a new report highlights the conflict of interest between the Paris climate summit’s aims and the polluting actions of the companies bankrolling it.
‘Fueling the Fire – The corporate sponsors bankrolling COP21’ reveals how Engie, EDF, Suez Environnement and BNP Paribas together own more than 46 coal-fired power plants, and are investing in oil sands exploration in Canada and fracking for shale gas in the UK.
Between 2005 and 2014 the corporation provided half of the total financial support (€15.5 billion) from French banks to the coal industry.
The same fossil fuel corporation have also been involved in attempt to deny science and deceive the public about climate change – often hiding behind lobbying organisations to do so – and have interfered with the UNFCCC, according to the report.
Patti Lynn, executive director of Corporate Accountability International said:
Inviting some of the world’s biggest polluters to pay for the COP is akin to hiring a fox to guard a hen house. We must eliminate this conflict of interest before COPs become corporate tradeshows for false market-based solutions.
EDF, for example, has been working alongside Shell, ExxonMobil and other to block renewable deployment in Europe via the BusinessEurope lobby group.
At the same time, BNP Paribas is one of the largest coal financiers in France as well as a financial backer of Canada’s tar sands extraction, and Engie, formerly GDF Suez, emits over 131 megatons of CO2 each year and has worked to aggressively expand it investments in fracked gas.
Célia Gautier, policy advisor at Climate Action Network France said:
Despite recent announcements to stop new coal projects, Engie still owns 30 dirty coal power plants worldwide. Gas and coal are the company’s main energy sources; renewables account for just 4 per cent of its energy mix (excluding large dams). On top of this, Engie is planning to sell some of its coal power plants instead of closing them down. The French state is directly responsible for Engie’s greenwashing activities as it owns 33 per cent of its shares and accepted to put them in their list of COP21 sponsors.
With the breadth and depth of such companies’ fossil fuel assets made clear, their attempts at blocking climate action common knowledge, and the public helping throw the spotlight on climate Pinocchios, the game is up.
The UN can ensure the “fox” is nowhere near the “hen house” at next week’s climate summit in Paris and in future climate policy-making by kicking polluters out just big tobacco was kicked out of health talks a decade