Why do environmentalists protest COP26

Why do environmentalists protest COP26

The streets of Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday (5) and Saturday (6) hosted the largest protests related to the 26th World Climate Conference since the event began a week ago. The manifestations of entities and movements such as Greenpeace and “Fridays for the Future” (“Fridays for the Future”) have been mobilized into one day. Tens of thousands of people (The organizers talked about 200,000), in protest, among other points, Against “Greenwashing” practiced by the participants in the conference.

Greenwashing means green wash or green makeup. The term refers to the personalization of the environmental agenda through discourse that is not accompanied by effective practices in this sense. Under this logic, countries and companies defend “green” themes as mere varnish for their real actions, in order to have a positive image in front of consumers and investors, while environmental degradation continues to deteriorate.

In this text, the file nexus He explains what the big companies are proposing at COP26, what the space governments have given away, what the conference should propose on the subject and why all this upsets environmentalists and activists, who have come to see the conference as “DiGreen Wusheng Festival‘,” said the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Financial elite proposal

In April 2021, the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney, announced an initiative to bring together and coordinate private financial institutions committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, including a global transition to a carbon-neutral economy. (which absorbs the amount of carbon they emit). It is the GFANZ (Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero Emissions), which currently includes more than 450 financial institutions, such as banks, asset managers and insurance companies, in 45 countries.

GFANZ aims to ensure that financial institutions provide adequate resources for business and government projects that aim for a carbon-neutral economy. These resources can be allocated either to companies that carry out sustainable activities or to companies that cause substantial pollution, such as oil companies. In these cases, the Companies are implementing parallel sustainability projects, such as planting trees, to obtain the right to emit polluting gases in their own activities.

On Wednesday (3), “Finance Day” at the COP26 discussions, the alliance announced that since April, it has already increased 25 times the value of assets traded by its institutions that will be linked to projects in their favour. for a carbon-neutral economy.

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130 trillion dollars

Is the amount that financial institutions I pledged as much green economy projects in the next thirty years

Why environmentalists see ‘greenwashing’

For many environmentalists, the GFANZ advertisement is nothing more than a “green wash”. This is because 130 trillion Rls in 30 years would be a little compared to everything that is driven by the global financial sector, and most money It will still be geared towards carbon-intensive industries.

Another point of criticism is the fact that alliance institutions still Does not comply Eliminate, albeit gradually, the financing of highly polluting activities such as oil and gas. Analysis by the Rainforest Action Network actually reveals fossil fuel financing from private banks more Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The feasibility of compensation is also questionable. A recent study by Oxfam also showed that if only tree planting was used to offset global carbon emissions, at least 1.6 billion hectares of new forests would be needed to achieve neutrality by 2050, as predicted by the Paris Agreement. This is equal to Five times the size of India, or more than all agricultural land on the planet.

Finally, for organizations and movements like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Extinction Rebellion, the idea of ​​carbon offsetting itself is bad enough. They say the mechanism ends up guaranteeing companies the right to continue to pollute, while compensation is usually of low quality and has little impact to reduce global warming due to low regulation of the sector. In their view, reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement is essential Reduce emissions at source, not offset “working spreadsheets”.

“Carbon offsets mean climate sabotage. It is not just a tool to disguise inaction and shift delay that we need, will also lead to devastating land grabs [apropriação ilegal] From the earth in the south of the globe [países em desenvolvimento]”

Theresa Anderson

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Climate Policy Coordinator, ActionAid International, during COP26 on November 3, 2021

Criticisms that attribute “greenwashing” to the corporate world are joined by similar accusations against countries as well. The Brazilian government, for example, presented its recently launched National Program to the COP of green growth, among other obligations. However, due to the lack of details in the proposals and the history of the Bolsonaro administration, which has encouraged the dismantling of environmental inspection bodies and has not prevented deforestation records, environmental specialists have alerted the international community to the distance. Between speech and practice of the Federal Executive.

Another “greenwash” factor: who runs the COP

Another criticism of COP26 has to do with the structure of the event itself. As Global Witness reports reveal, many events in the EU pavilion, for example, are organized and sponsored by major fossil fuel explorers, who, according to critics, do not intend to abandon their polluting activities, but only for the sake of greenwash. Your brand and control the narrative About a supposed transformation of the energy sector.

According to the report, the groups lobbying for hydrogen as an energy source, a prominent topic at COP26, consist of large companies in the oil and gas sector working, despite environmental rhetoric, including regulatory tariffs, so that this supposed hydrogen can be produced ” clean” using the usual fossil fuels.

For environmentalists, representatives of these large corporations should not be organizing events and making COP26 an advertising platform, but rather being questioned about the polluting practices for which they are responsible.

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The UK delegation, for example, It ended up being deleted Oil and gas companies played no official role in the event, after the Guardian revealed in 2020 that executives from these companies offered money for exposure at the event, and even said they might act as intermediaries between Britain and other countries.

In contrast to the dominance of large corporations, many civil society entities have complained that COP26 discussions are difficult to access, either because the cost of accommodation, transport and food in Glasgow is too high, or because meeting rooms are small. for previous editions of the conference. The UK authorities claim that this measure is due to the need to avoid large conglomerates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What will change after COP26

IFRS Foundation, which defines international standards For corporate accounting reporting, the ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board) launched Wednesday (3) during COP26, a board designed to set standards also for corporate reporting on environmental sustainability.

President Da IOSCO (International Securities Organization), Ashley Alder helped create the ISSB and highlighted its importance in the fight against “greenwashing”. If you don’t have basic information in a file Global Comparable BaseShe said, as reported by Reuters.

ISSB will be headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, and the set of global standards will be published in the second half of 2022. A prototype of these standards will be put up for public consultation by then.

Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from 39 countries publicly celebrated the establishment of the council, including the president Brazilian Central BankRoberto Campos Neto.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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