COP24 Organizers Accused of Censoring Climate Campaigners While Letting Pro-Fossil Fuel Message Flourish

A young person sporting a #ClimateStrike shirt at the COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland on Friday holds up her hands to display a message: "My Future in Your Hands." (Photo: Greenpeace Polska/flickr/cc)

COP24 Organizers Accused of Censoring Climate Campaigners While Letting Pro-Fossil Fuel Message Flourish

New reporting by Agence France-Presse shows U.N. organizers asked for "dirty energy" reference to be removed from video that would be projected within summit venue

The COP24 climate summit, which is supposed to end on Friday, has been accused of being captured by corporate interests, and new reporting further backs up that charge.

According to Agence France-Presse, United Nations organizers of the event censored references to "fossil fuel corporations" and their "dirty energy" infrastructure in environmental groups' videos before they were greenlighted to be projected onto massive screens on the walls of the event venue in Katowice, Poland.

"While we're being silenced, the same coal, oil, and gas companies responsible for the crisis are allowed to plaster the halls with their logos and propaganda," Pascoe Sabido, a researcher and campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory, told AFP.

"How can these negotiations help us keep fossil fuels in the ground, like the IPCC recommends, if we're not even allowed to mention dirty energy or gas pipelines?" he asked.

From AFP:

In one email the U.N. liaison body asked for a shot containing the words "dirty energy" to be removed.

It also asked that the phrases "prohibit participation of fossil fuel corporations" and "why are politicians still approving pipelines, coal plants, and fracking" be cut.

The emailed demands to the advocacy organizations came as signs of the climate crisis abound--but also as fossil fuel companies sponsor the global conference, where the Trump administration actively promoted more extractive energy and its representative choose to run away rather than answer questions about its climate policy.

Denouncing global leaders gathered at the summit for failing to come up with a plan to address the planetary crisis with the requisite urgency, roughly 150 global activists staged a sit-in at the conference Friday. They held up banners that read, "stand with people, not polluters," "system change, not climate change," and "which side are you on?"

"It has been known for over 50 years that greenhouse gases cause climate change," said Sara Shaw, a coordinator for Friends of the Earth International's Climate Justice and Energy International Program. "Yet here we stand on the brink of catastrophe because corporate interests and fossil fuel money have infiltrated the climate talks to perpetuate the dirty energy system regardless of the cost for people and planet."

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