Climate activist Vanessa Nakate speaks at a rally

Climate activist Vanessa Nakate speaks at a rally in Milan, Italy on October 1, 2021.

(Photo: Elena Di Vincenzo/Archivio Elena Di Vincenzo/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

700,000 Sign 'Cease and Desist' Letter to Fossil Fuel CEOs at Davos

The letter, spearheaded by a group of climate leaders including Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg, demands that oil giants stop sabotaging the "clean energy transition we all so urgently need."

A group of climate leaders from across the globe issued a "cease and desist notice" on Monday directed at fossil fuel CEOs attending this week's World Economic Forum, which environmentalists warn will likely be used by oil and gas interests as another PR opportunity for their planet-wrecking business.

The open letter—penned by Vanessa Nakate of Uganda, Greta Thunberg of Sweden, Helena Gualinga of Ecuador, and Luisa Neubauer of Germany—demands that fossil fuel companies "immediately stop opening any new oil, gas, or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition we all so urgently need."

At present, the fossil fuel industry is doing the opposite, ramping up oil and gas extraction plans even as scientists call for a rapid phase-out to prevent more catastrophic warming.

The letter, which has been signed by more than 693,000 people as of this writing, continues:

We know that Big Oil:

KNEW for decades that fossil fuels cause catastrophic climate change.
MISLED the public about climate science and risks.
DECEIVED politicians with disinformation sowing doubt and causing delay.

You must end these activities as they are in direct violation of our human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, your duties of care, as well as the rights of Indigenous people.

"If you fail to act immediately, be advised that citizens around the world will consider taking any and all legal action to hold you accountable. And we will keep protesting in the streets in huge numbers," concludes the letter.

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth and BP chief executive Bernard Looney will be among the Wall Street executives and other corporate elites gathered in Davos, Switzerland for this week's forum, an overview of which acknowledges that the climate crisis is "spiraling out of control"—though it doesn't specify that the oil and gas industry is primarily responsible.

The presence of fossil fuel giants in Davos spurred local protests over the weekend, with demonstrators accusing the industry of "hijacking the climate debate."

Speaking to journalists last week, Nakate said that "it's not hard to be cynical about the prospects for climate justice after spending a week there."

"Oil and gas CEOs are invited into the forum to greenwash their businesses," she said.

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