Climate change is no longer a threat, it is a reality.
2014 was the hottest year on record. And 2015 isn't proving to be any better -- so far, we've seen droughts and water shortages all over the world, rising food prices and even the world's first climate refugees. The impacts if we don't act quickly are almost unimaginable --a staggering billion people could be forced out of their homes by 2050 if we don't curb global emissions. One thing is clear: we need a global climate deal, and we need one now.
In just a few short months, world leaders, scientists, civil society groups and UN representatives are meeting in Paris to strike a deal that should, in theory, reduce carbon emissions and set us on track to invest in a sustainable future. The stakes have never been higher. For communities all over the world already affected by climate change, these negotiations have to succeed. Yet we've just heard that 20% of this year's talks will be sponsored by corporations.
We don't know who these corporations are, but if it's anything like the past few years, big polluters like Shell and Chevron could be allowed to influence the UN climate negotiations at a time when we urgently need climate action.
It's hard -- if not impossible -- to believe that the same corporations which profit from a fossil fuel-dependent economy are going to push for a strong global climate deal. Instead, these big polluters are allowed to sponsor meetings and expensive dinners where they lobby UN representatives, trying to block any kind of real climate action.
If we come together now and ask the body in charge of the climate talks, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to ban big polluters, we could help make this urgent climate deal a reality.
This year's negotiations are crucial to reach a climate deal that works for the people and the planet. Big corporations funding the UN climate talks is, at best, a conflict of interest. At worst, corporations could be setting the negotiations' agenda and putting profit-making interests above climate solutions.
We know together we can make this happen. In the past, a massive coalition of civil society groups from all over the world came together and got the World Health Organisation (WHO) to kick big tobacco out of global health policy. As soon as the corporate lobbyists were out, the tobacco industry became much more heavily regulated. The SumOfUs community has also done its part -- just last month, more than 130,000 of us called on Shell to stay out of climate negotiations if it really wants to fight climate change.
Now we are part of a even bigger coalition of civil society groups calling on the UNFCCC to ban big polluters from the talks -- let's make our voices heard!
Sign the petition asking the UNFCCC to ban fossil fuel companies from the climate deals
For more information:
Private sector to chip in for COP 21, Euractiv, April 23 2015.
Another dirty energy dominated COP?, Euractiv, April 30 2015.
US faces worst droughts in 1,000 years, predict scientists, The Guardian, February 12 2015.
What climate activists can learn from the fight against Big Tobacco, Al Jazeera, September 21 2014.