About the Campaign

In the past year, people all around the world sweated out the hottest year on record. People who live on island nations like Kiribati watched as the sea levels rise and threaten to drown their entire homeland. And animals and plants across the global ecosystem struggled to survive the changing climate -- with one in six species predicted to be wiped out if we do nothing.

More people than ever before are experiencing the undeniable effects of climate change. And they are demanding real solutions like never before.

The good news: policymakers and elected officials are hearing the call.

The very bad news: The world’s largest polluters are pulling out all the stops to be able to keep on polluting.

In fact the unchecked influence of the fossil fuel industry has severely crippled the most important climate policymaking forum. And that’s why Corporate Accountability International has developed a bold, ambitious plan to protect climate policy from the world’s largest polluters.

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Polluters craft climate policy

The world’s largest polluters and their greenhouse gas emissions have brought us to the brink of global disaster. And they’ve managed to position themselves as the key players in finding a solution… for the very problems they’ve created.

Wherever climate policy is being made, you can be sure to find representatives of the world’s largest polluting industries -- watering down policy, blocking regulations, and delaying urgently needed progress.

Polluting influence in action

The following are just a few examples  of how the world’s largest polluters have blocked progress on climate policy:

  • Questioning the scientific consensus around climate change. The world’s largest polluters (and the think tanks they fund) have promoted the questionable findings of scientists like Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon and Fred Singer that deny and undermine sound and widely accepted climate science.
  • Spending millions on lobbying delegates and elected officials. For example, in 2000, the oil and gas industry lobbied the U.S. government intensely to reject the Kyoto Protocol (part of the UNFCCC). It succeeded, helping “to kill implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which would have forced the U.S. to reduce its use of fossil fuels,” according to The Center for Responsive Politics.
  • Sponsoring conferences of the parties (COPs) and concurrent events. COP19 in Warsaw, for example, was sponsored by Polish Energy Group: Poland’s largest and dirtiest power corporation. Not surprisingly the World Coal Association hosted a summit on “clean coal” concurrent with the treaty talks. And COP21 in Paris will be sponsored by corporations EDF and ENGIE whose coal operations contribute to the equivalent of nearly 50% of France’s emissions. 

Bold international action needed

We must protect climate policy from the world’s largest polluters. And we must start with the U.N. climate treaty, or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A strong climate treaty will be a powerful mandate to countries. It will help them set enforceable national policies to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

If the international community can successfully protect climate policymaking from the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry and other polluting industries, the UNFCCC and all future agreements within it will be powerful tools to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

If not, we will continue on the course toward irreversible and disastrous changes in our climate, putting life on this planet as we know it at severe risk.

"If our governments actually intend to crack down on carbon emissions and make polluters pay, then they will first need to declare independence from the fossil fuel industry. The energy giants are motivated by one thing: profits. As long as those profits mean the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, they will never be part of the solution.” -- Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything.”

Building on our history of success

Corporate Accountability International knows how to take on abusive industries (and the governments advocating on their behalf) in international policymaking.

In the early 2000s, we worked with Global South allies and government delegates in the U.N. system on the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Together, we protected the treaty talks from the tobacco industry, which was driving a massive public health epidemic.

Despite intense industry pressure, Global South governments led the way to a treaty that excluded the tobacco industry from having a role or voice in setting health policy. Corporate Accountability International, with NGO partners in more than 50 countries, built grassroots support, generated widespread media, and partnered with government official champions from Palau to Kenya to stand up to the Bush Administration (one of the most forceful obstructionists in the treaty process).

The result is a strong international treaty that protects public health policy from interference by tobacco corporations. It has spurred the passage of hundreds of new national tobacco control laws across the globe, including some of the boldest public health policies in the world.

Where we go from here

For the past few years, Corporate Accountability International and our allies around the world have been advancing a conflict of interest policy at the international, national, and local levels that protects climate policy from the outsized influence of the fossil fuel industry. In May 2017, for the first time, this issue took front and center at the U.N. climate treaty meetings.

Governments representing nearly 70 percent of the world’s population called for the protection of the U.N. climate talks and climate policymaking around the world from the influence of big polluters. In the coming months, we must escalate our organizing with Global South and champion Global North governments to quickly and forcefully advance conflict of interest policies at the international level to prevent the kind of manipulation and weakening of policy that we have seen for so long.

Only when our policymaking space is free from the influence of big polluters can global leaders take the bold action we need them to take.

Strong partnerships lead the way

Today, we are organizing to apply this same precedent and strategy to climate negotiations and policy. We are partnering with organizations that have a long history of success in the environmental movement. Just a few of our allies in this work include:

  • 350.org
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Climate Action Network International (CAN)
  • Demand Climate Justice
  • Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  • Food & Water Watch
  • Friends of the Earth International
  • Greenpeace USA
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Oil Change International
  • Sum of Us

Take action

Join us in changing the course of history. Nothing less than the future of our planet is at stake.

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