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OPEN LETTER TO UN FROM CIVIC SOCIETY ABOUT THE FOSSIL FUEL RISKS TO OUR PLANET

ASMAA is deeply concerned about the fact that the Portuguese government has given the go ahead for the development of deep-offshore gas and oil exploration and commercialisation under pressure from the oil and gas lobbying groups that includes companies such as Repsol, Partex (aka Gulbenkian Foundation), Galp, Mohape and Petrobras.

 

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We are of the opinion that Portugal should focus instead on developing clean energy programs that have limited impact on our environment and on our climate instead of focusing of fossil fuels, and we ask the Portuguese government to reconsider its stand-point, and to listen to what is not only our opinion but to what the world is saying.

ASMAA stands with the group of over 70 civic organisations from across the global civil society that released a letter dated 21 November 2013, which calls on the United Nations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to implement new rules to safeguard the global climate talks from the undue influence of the fossil fuel industry.

 

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COPY OF THE LETTER

Dear UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres,

We are writing to you as a group of civil society organisations, groups and social movements deeply concerned with the fate of the climate. The devastating consequences of super typhoon Yolanda are the latest reminder of the cost of inaction, and the urgency of the task ahead.

Yet the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted this year by the Polish government in Warsaw, has taken unprecedented and damaging steps towards embracing the same corporations that profit from continued emissions while actively lobbying against effective and just climate action.

The Warsaw COP has official corporate “partners” which include the fossil fuel industry and major polluters like PGE, Alstom, LOTOS, ArcelorMittal, BMW, General Motors and Emirates Airlines. Along with a large number of corporate-affiliated side events and the exclusive access to negotiators granted to corporate lobby groups during the business-only pre-COP in October, the hosting Polish government’s Ministry of Economy has teamed up with the World Coal Association – a coal industry lobby group – to put on a parallel "International Coal and Climate Summit", falsely presenting coal as a central part of the solution to climate change and development. Added to this, the UNFCCC secretariat has created the appearance of sanctioning the coal lobby's agenda by allowing executive secretary Christiana Figueres to address the coal summit, despite calls from both the youth constituency and from environmental and development groups not to attend.

At risk are both our climate and the integrity of the UNFCCC as a multilateral process to tackle climate change. Therefore there is an urgent need for rules to govern the relationship between the UNFCCC and the fossil fuel industry, including obligations for COP Presidents. Rules that would ensure the current damaging situation is avoided, by ending the undue access and influence of polluting businesses and industries, recognising that their direct commercial interests are fundamentally and irreconcilably in conflict with the urgent need for an equitable and ambitious climate policy.

The UN Global Compact’s recently released “Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy” (produced in cooperation with the UNFCCC and others), recognises the damaging effect of the fossil fuel industry on climate policy, but its recommended voluntary guidelines for corporate lobbying around climate are woefully inadequate in light of the planetary emergency. To protect the climate and the UNFCCC, an approach corresponding to the scale of the climate crisis is needed.

Other UN bodies have faced similar challenges in addressing the undue influence of harmful industries and dealt with the situation effectively, such as the UN World Health Organisation (WHO). Article 5.3 of its global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), enshrines in international law the principle that the tobacco industry has no role in public health policy-making, due to the “fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry's interests and public health policy interests” and states that "Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry".

We urge you to look at such examples and take commensurate action to protect climate policy-making from the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry – or companies whose core business model depends on the excessive emission of greenhouse gases – and their attempts to undermine and subvert urgently needed action.


Yours sincerely,

The undersigned organisations

  1. 350.org
  2. 350.org Durban
  3. Aitec-Ipam
  4. Alianza para la Conservacion y Desarrollo
  5. Amigos de la Tierra España, Friends of the Earth Spain
  6. Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM)
  7. Asociación Ambientalista de Chiriqui
  8. Attac France
  9. Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India
  10. Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (India People's Science Campaign), India
  11. Biofuelwatch UK/US
  12. BlueLink.net, Bulgaria
  13. BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)
  14. Carbon Trade Watch
  15. Center for Environment, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  16. Clean Beach and Development, Ghana
  17. Climate Crisis Coalition of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
  18. Climate Policy Program - Institute for Policy Studies (USA)
  19. Conseil de la Jeunesse (Belgian French-speaking youth council)
  20. Corporate Accountability International
  21. Corporate Europe Observatory
  22. Earth in Brackets
  23. European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
  24. Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
  25. EcoNexus
  26. El Comité de Solidaridad con América Latina
  27. Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  28. FERN
  29. Food & Water Europe
  30. Food & Water Watch
  31. Food Recovery Network
  32. Foundation for Environment and Agriculture, Bulgaria
  33. Friends of the Earth Canada
  34. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI)
  35. Friends of the Earth Scotland
  36. Friends of the Earth United States
  37. Friends of the Siberian Forests (FSF)
  38. Gaia Foundation
  39. Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
  40. Global Witness
  41. Green America
  42. groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
  43. Gujarat Forum On CDM, India
  44. Health of Mother Earth Foundation
  45. HELIO International
  46. International Institute of Climate Action and Theory (iicat) Climate Justice Project
  47. Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique)
  48. La Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)
  49. National Ecological Center of Ukraine
  50. NATIONAL TOXICS NETWORK INC., Australia
  51. Nature Code, Austria
  52. NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark
  53. Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP)
  54. Ong AFRICANDO, Canary Islands (Spain)
  55. ParyavaranMitra, India
  56. People & Planet, UK
  57. Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
  58. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
  59. Pick Up America/The Harvest Collective, USA
  60. Red de Accion por los Derechos Ambientales, Chile
  61. Regional Advocacy Center "Life", Ukraine
  62. Regional Centre for Development Cooperation(RCDC), India
  63. SEE Change Net
  64. Soldepaz Pachakuti
  65. South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy
  66. South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA)
  67. Spinwatch
  68. SWARNA HANSA Foundation
  69. Taiwan Environmental Protection Union
  70. The Corner House, UK
  71. United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC)
  72. UNIÓN UNIVERSAL DESARROLLO SOLIDARIO
  73. Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Ghana
  74. Women for Peace and Ecology
  75. World Development Movement (WDM), UK
  76. World Rainforest Movement (WRM)
  77. Young Friends of the Earth EWNI
  78. Za Zemiata - Friends of the Earth Bulgaria
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