Brussels, 7th November 2013–The EU aims to expand carbon markets that would benefit big polluters at the UN climate talks, COP19 in Poland, says a statement signed by 120+ groups, movements and networks. The Statement denounces the corporate capture of COP19 by the same companies that stand to profit.[i]
“The European Commission and the carbon crooks who turn profits from the failing EU ETS are pushing for a lifeline through linking up markets, foreshadowing a global carbon market,” stated Tamra Gilbertson from Carbon Trade Watch.[ii]
COP19 partners, explains the statement, include Polish energy group PGE, whose Belchatow coal-fired plant was the biggest polluter and the biggest recipient of free allowances in 2012.[iii] “ COP19 will be the most extreme case of corporate capture we have seen within the COP,” according to Belén Balanyá from Corporate Europe Observatory, “The Polish government has granted partner status to eleven companies, among them climate culprits with horrendous track records – such as ArcelorMittal, the biggest beneficiary from the EU ETS, and auto maker BMW – who are blocking EU’s attempts to reduce emissions from cars for decades.”
The statement highlights the links between the Polish Ministery of Economy and the coal industry, who are organising a Coal and Climate Summit in parallel to the climate talks. “The cooperation between the coal industry and the Polish government is blatant” says Maxime Combes from Attac France, “they have drafted a communiqué promoting coal as a solution to the climate crisis. Coal is one of the dirtiest energy sources, fuelling climate change.” Rather than consuming coal and fossil fuels, EU countries should enable a just transition to a post-fossil fuel society. It is time to scrap the ETS and other attempts to commodify nature, time to leave fossil fuels and minerals in the ground, and time to start a real transition towards just and people-driven alternatives.
[i] Link to statement
[ii] Discussions on the Framework for Various Approaches (FVA) would be the first step towards allowing the trading of permits from different emissions trading schemes (dangerously including permits created outside of the UNFCCC) to be used for compliance with targets under the Convention. Many industrialised countries see this as a paving stone to a global carbon market.