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cop21 lobby circus

On the eve of COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Corporate Europe Observatory has published 'Lobby Planet Paris', a special edition of its earlier EU guide Lobby Planet.

Describing the climate talks as a "greenwashing heaven", it exposes the overwhelming corporate presence at all levels of this crucial event. Invited by the UN as partners, many of the world's worst polluters are offered a superbly credible podium to greenwash their activities, present false solutions and engage in ever new variants of denial, diversion and procrastination.

The era of blatant climate change denial may be over (or is it? Shockingly, anno 2015, 'One in five Flemings doesn't believe climate change is caused by humans', this in what has been called 'A failed state when it comes to climate policy'). But at least by now the tactics of the fossil fuel industry of systematically creating doubt through the dissemination of disinformation have been comprehensively documented. The book (2010) and documentary (2014) 'Merchants of Doubt' provide an overview, with admirable sanity in the face of so much cynicism.

Sucking the Earth Dry - Os Gêmeos & Blu

However, the major polluters of the world - including besides fossil fuel also the transport and agro industries as well as, indirectly, the finance sector - have merely updated and diversified their tactics. Using a variety of subtle and obfuscating arguments, all are weighing in to be allowed to continue polluting as usual.

These dangerous and short-sighted approaches also represent denial, not of climate change itself, but of the real action needed to deal with its consequences.

Instead, CEO concludes soberingly:

Meaningful change is impossible as long as industry is seated at the table and treated as a partner. We know that the only real solution is to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to make a just transition towards truly renewable - and not corporate-dominated - energy.

For even without corporate insinuation, the "soap opera of global climate talks" is complex enough. Let's hope this 21nd episode will offer more than just politics as usual.

(Photo: 'Sucking the Earth Dry' by Os Gêmeos & Blu, Lisbon.)

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