As the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gets underway at Marrakech in Morocco, Oilwatch International, a network of resistance to the negative impacts of the oil and gas industry on peoples and their environment, notes that, with entrenched fossil fuel interests represented in the talks, it is no surprise the Paris Agreement reinforces the ability of transnational fossil fuel corporations to continue to profit from the extracting and burning of fossil fuels.
It is now accepted that climate change is a major crisis that can turn catastrophic for the planet if real actions to avert it continue to be avoided. This crisis can only be effectively dealt with by tackling the root causes. The burning of fossil fuels by humans for energy is the primary cause. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, up to 80 percent of atmospheric capacity to absorb carbon emissions has been taken up by industrialised countries. The reality is that at least 80 percent of currently known fossil fuels must be left unburned to avoid catastrophic global warming and to avoid local destruction where fossil fuels are being extracted.
With these known facts, it would be expected that the Conference of Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC would focus on moving the planet from the pathway to catastrophic temperature rise. What has been seen, however, as exemplified by the Paris Agreement, is a clear denial of the fact that this crisis is rooted in the blind fixation on petroleum-dependent civilisation. The fact that the Paris Agreement did not as much as mention fossil fuels must not be lost on us. And neither must the reason. With entrenched fossil fuel interests represented in the talks, it is no surprise the agreement reinforces the ability of transnational fossil fuel corporations to continue to profit from the extracting and burning of fossil fuels.
Nations of the world have rapidly endorsed the Paris Agreement and now celebrate its record-breaking speed of coming into effect – a whole two years ahead of schedule. Oilwatch notes that this speedy endorsement of the Agreement is powered by the laxity it provides political leaders to appear to be climate champions and at the same time provide platform for carbon merchants, financial institutions and fossil fuel corporations to continue with business as usual.
Oilwatch International believes that the path to real climate action is the one built on the key principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and of a strictly binding requirement for nations to cut emissions at source according to their current and historical responsibilities and capacities. The present platform of vague, conditions-ridden nationally determined contributions (NDCs) is comparable to fiddling while the planet burns.
Oilwatch International calls on the peoples of all nations of the world to pressure their leaders gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for COP22, to wake up to the reality of the fact that the Paris Agreement is a business package that creates new market mechanisms under the cover of NDCs and allows for the final takeover of the world’s remaining forests. It is also a political document that avoids the actions that would avert worse weather conditions already assaulting vulnerable communities and nations across the world.
Oilwatch rejects the perverse celebration of an agreement that locks the world on the path of extreme extraction, destruction of territories, communities and of Nature. We call for the barring of the fossil fuel industry from the COP as a means of opening the door for real progress. We already have the example of the tobacco industry being kicked out of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a critical pre-requisite for the success of its public health measures.
We denounce the Paris Agreement and demand an urgent transition to a post-petroleum civilisation based on renewable and clean energy and respect of human and Nature rights. The Paris Agreement positions the planet for a avoidable tragedy arising from a lack of both ambition and of action. Global warming is not waiting for politicians. Neither should citizens.
Oilwatch demands the recognition and payment of the climate debt as the true mechanism for climate finance and as reparations for centuries of pillage and ecological destruction.
Oilwatch salutes and stands in solidarity with citizens of the world fighting for justice at climate crime scenes, such as at Standing Rock (North Dakota, USA), Ogoni (Nigeria), Yasuni (Ecuador), the Sahrawi and those that have been displaced in order to grab rich lands for oil and mineral extraction.
We reiterate our call for the creation and recognition of Annex Zero communities, territories and nations that are KEEPING FOSSIL FUELS IN THE GROUND as true climate action that should be saluted rather than criminalised.
The time has come to end the petroleum civilisation and transit to a civilisation built on solidarity between humans and on deep respect for Nature.