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.