For a fossil-free United Nations Climate Change Conference
Greens/EFA MEPs address a letter to UNFCCC Executive Secretary
Subject: For a fossil-free United Nations Climate Change Conference
Dear Executive Secretary Stiell,
We are writing to you regarding the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, to urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure a Conference free of all interference from the fossil fuel industry. We know your commitment to an efficient, transparent and impactful conference and we are concerned that, by lending its presidency to the CEO of one of the biggest oil companies in the world, global efforts will be resolutely undermined.
The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are unique opportunities for strong, worldwide, coordinated climate action. As global warming is getting closer to 1.5 °C (1) and we see year after year the devastating impact of the climate crisis across the world, COP28 is more important than ever.
For a COP that is ambitious and result-driven, we demand that the current President of COP28 Dr Sultan Al Jaber, resigns from its presidency and for a “zero conflict of interest” policy to be applied to the entire staff of the Presidency. It would be key in sending a strong signal to decision-makers and civil society that the fossil fuel industry does not control the Climate Conference’s process.
We need strong commitment from the UN to ensure fossil-free COPs, that are organised without the influence and participation of the fossil fuel industry, and that empower the countries most impacted by the climate crisis. We, Green Members of the European Parliament, are disappointed and very concerned to witness the huge influence and role of the fossil fuel industry in the UN Climate agenda, that goes beyond its presidency: we know, for example, that at least 636 fossil fuel lobbyists were granted access to the COP27 (2), more than the preceding year. We cannot be surprised then that any kind of fossil fuel phase out was blocked from the
conference’s conclusions, even though it is blatantly clear this has to be done to tackle the climate crisis.
We are in an emergency situation: the next COP must be the time for strong, concrete commitments for a global fossil phase out. Similar to restrictions that have been enforced on the tobacco industry, we need clear action from the United Actions to ensure fossil-free COPs, independent from interests that run counter the goals of the Paris Agreement. We support the call for the establishment of a UNFCCC Accountability Framework (3) that would protect the United Nations’ crucial work from undue influence of the fossil fuel industry.
We hope that you will take the necessary steps to ensure a fossil-free COP, where it is also safe for all stakeholders to participate and take part in democratic dialogue so we can, together, reach climate neutrality.
We look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.
Alice Bah Kuhnke