Poland: Corporate capture of UN climate talks

With corporations--steel giant Arcelor Mittal, General Motors, Emirates, coal companies--sponsoring the UN climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland, youth activists standing in solidarity with the Philippines demand: "Stop the Corporate Capture of Climate Talks".

November 7, 2013 -- Transnational Institute -- More than 135 groups internationally have condemned Poland and European Union for facilitating a corporate takeover of UN climate talks starting October 11, 2013, in Warsaw.

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 135+ groups, movements and networks from all over the world. The statement denounces the corporate capture of COP19 by the same companies that stand to profit from their responsibility for climate crisis.

“The European Commission and the carbon crooks who turn profits from the failing EU Emissions Trading Scheme [ETS] are pushing for a lifeline through linking up markets, foreshadowing a global carbon market”, stated Tamra Gilbertson from Carbon Trade Watch.[1]

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.[2]

“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 11 companies, among them climate culprits with horrendous track records – such as ArcelorMittal, the biggest beneficiary from the EU ETS, and auto maker BMW – who have been blocking EU’s attempts to reduce emissions from cars for decades.”

The statement highlights the links between the Polish Ministry 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.

For more information contact:

- Lyda Fernanda Forero, Transnational Institute (Netherlands 0031 685086340)

- Tamra Gilbertson, Carbon Trade Watch (Spain 0034 625498083)

- Maxime Combes, Attac France, (France, 0033 624512944)

- Belén Balanyá, Corporate Europe Observatory (Netherlands 0031 633090386)

Read the statement: Español | Français | Polski | Român | Suomalainen


[1] 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.

[2] “EU ETS emissions dropped by 1.4% in 2012”, ENDS Europe, 2 April 2013, http://www.endseurope.com/31222/

Submitted by Mark Thompson (not verified) on Tue, 11/26/2013 - 07:38


As much as I am in favour with regards to us Europeans doing our bit to stem the harmful effects of global warming when push comes to shove any efforts we make surely have to be mirrored by other major powers or it's for nothing.

On a trip to Shanghai last year, I was blow away by the density of the population and the smog haze that filled the horizon on a permanent basis. In order for any attempt to halt or possibly reverse climate change, we have to tackle China and the USA but it is the case that these countries put profits first.

Mark Thompson