Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Activists protesting against the corporate influence at the United Nations climate summit say, "Get the Fossil Fuels Out" of the conference and climate policy. (Photo: Hoda Baraka/ Twitter)

'Get the FF Out': Campaigners Reject Fossil Fuel Influence at Climate Summit

'We’d be outraged if we thought the tobacco industry was dictating our government’s policy on public health, but that’s exactly what’s happening with climate policy.'

Fossil fuel industry lobbyists have no place at a climate conference, charged activists who on Monday shut down a "greenwashed" fossil fuel industry panel at the United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru.

Seizing on the event as an example of the corporate influence that has pervaded COP20 and all previous climate negotiations, protesters donned t-shirts that read"#GetTheFFout" and crowded the small event space. Activists from indigenous communities in Colombia, Peru, Canada and other communities affected by fossil fuel development spoke about the environmental and human rights violations frequently perpetrated by fossil fuel companies.

"Shell has left the Niger Delta an environmental disaster area, a crime scene that is tantamount to ecocide, and crimes against humanity," said Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria. "They have no place in Nigeria, or in the climate negotiations, and there is no place for dirty energy in a sustainable energy future."

The panel, initially titled "Why Divest from Fossil Fuels When a Future with Low Emission Fossil Energy Use is Already a Reality?" was meant to promote so-called emission-friendly carbon schemes such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and forest carbon markets. The event was being hosted by the Global CCS Institute and features speakers from the World Coal Association and Shell, as well as economist Lord Nicholas Stern. It is part of a series hosted by the International Emissions Trading Association and sponsored by industry giants such as Chevron.

"Without tackling the influence of the fossil fuel industry, we’re never going to stop dangerous climate change." 
—Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory

"We’d be outraged if we thought the tobacco industry was dictating our government’s policy on public health, but that’s exactly what’s happening with climate policy," charged Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory.

"Without tackling the influence of the fossil fuel industry, we’re never going to stop dangerous climate change," Sabido added. "That means banning fossil fuel lobbying at all levels, not just in the UN talks, by which time it’s often too late to make a difference."

The protest sparked a chorus of voices demanding that the fossil fuel industry be banned from the climate talks, which just began its second week. Comments and pictures of the action are being shared online along under the hashtag #GetTheFFout.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Progressives Say 'Do What the People Want and Tax the Rich' to Pay for Infrastructure

"It is obvious that if we're going to address the needs of working families in this country, we need revenue," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, "and one way that we get that revenue is by demanding that the wealthiest people, the largest corporations are paying their fair share."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Doctors Without Borders Calls on BioNTech to Share Vaccine Tech With World

"The faster companies share the know-how, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001

"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Sunrise Ends 400-Mile Climate March With Arrests at Ted Cruz's House

The Gulf South marchers demand that Congress and the Biden White House pass bold climate jobs legislation, including a bill to create a Civilian Climate Corps.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Global Hopes in Doubt After G7 Fails to Meet Climate Finance Pledges for Poor Nations

"I'd have really hoped for a clearer signal on how and when we will be able to see the commitment to mobilize the $100 billion fulfilled."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·