Meet the Corporate Villains Sponsoring the COP21 Climate Talks – Sarah Lazare

Fresh revelations that yet another round of United Nations climate talks—this time the upcoming negotiations in Paris—will be sponsored by some of the very corporations driving global warming have been met with outrage and alarm that the global process continues to be “captured by big polluters.”

Pierre-Henri Guignard, Secretary-General of the UN Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21), unveiled the list of corporate sponsors on Wednesday. “We are building a very business friendly COP which will show the commitment of the private sector to the spirit of the convention,” he stated.

But climate justice advocates say that by being “business friendly,” the conference is, in fact, hostile to the public good—and the planet itself.

“Today’s announcement of the corporate sponsors of the COP21 exposes the deep contradiction in UN COP process and their cozy relationship with the very corporations who are driving the climate crisis,” Cindy Wiesner of the U.S.-based Grassroots Global Justice Alliance told Common Dreams. “The effort of these corporations to green-wash their ongoing damage of the planet in order increase profit and gain public support is offensive.”

The French government claims the private sector will foot a large portion of the bill—as much as 20 percent—for the conference, according to a senior foreign ministry official cited by AFP.

“The public interest demands that these talks not be polluted by the private interests represented by these companies. Would we entrust the fight against tobacco to cigarette manufacturers? Why do it for climate policy?”

Maxime Combes, ATTAC France

According to Pascoe Sabido of Corporate Europe Observatory, this historically high level of private funding bodes poorly for the talks: “Twenty percent of private funding is more than at the COP19 in Warsaw in 2013. Back then, NGOs, social movements and trade unions left the negotiations to protest the takeover of the talks by industry and polluting lobbies.”

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