Greenpeace chief warns against UN climate talks 'greenwashing'

Greenpeace's head warned Thursday against corporations and countries trying to "greenwash their continued pollution of the planet" at U.N. Climate talks in Glasgow.

Greenpeace chief warns against UN climate talks 'greenwashing'

Britain hosted the summit, which has been called "the world's last chance" to stop global warming reaching dangerous levels. It is expected to generate a flood of new commitments by governments and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate campaigners warn that behind-the scenes lobbying could hinder efforts to reach an ambitious deal that would guarantee the world a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), as agreed in Paris 2015.

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International's executive director, stated that "This Glasgow meeting is really a crucial moment when governments need to show courage."

She told The Associated Press that scientists need to demonstrate their understanding of science and listen to people, and she said this in an interview.

She said that governments could do this to "give their people hope and confidence that they have this" and be willing to do what their corporate interests don’t want them.

Morgan cited leaked documents that showed how countries like Australia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia were apparently trying to dampen a U.N. science report on global warming. This is evidence of the ways in which governments' support for climate action can be undermined by their efforts behind closed door doors.

Greenpeace obtained documents that show how these countries requested the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change remove all references to the need for shutting down coal-fired power plants, to reduce meat consumption, and to focus on actual emissions cuts instead of ways to capture carbon already in the atmosphere.

A spokesperson for the IPCC secretariat in Geneva said that lobbying efforts had little impact on the final reports of the panel.

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesperson for the IPCC said that "review by experts and governments is a fundamental component of the IPCC process to prepare reports." "The IPCC principles were created to ensure that the review contributes to an objective, comprehensive and balanced assessment in an open-and transparent manner."

Angus Taylor, the Australian Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, stated in a statement, that Australia's "commenting" on a draft was somehow 'interference".

All comments received by IPCC are published together with the finalized reports.

The statement stated that "this ensures complete transparency."

Morgan, Greenpeace's spokesperson, said that much of the lobbying is done by corporations. Some of these corporations will be attending the so-called COP26 negotiations -- including as part government delegations.

Morgan stated that "they'll use this COP as a way to show they care and that they really do a lot." "There will be a lot of greenwashing in Glasgow. This should be recognized and called out."

She said that governments are also likely to use U.N. negotiations to announce new climate measures while they lobby against other countries.

She said, "If you take a look at what they're trying to hold back the world's progress, it's amazing." It's imprudent, unacceptable.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups have criticized a series of announcements made by countries and industry groups. These groups include shipping companies and airlines. They are aiming for "net zero" emissions. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero, those who aim for net zero will pledge to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants released into the atmosphere by a specific date.

Net zero's math is murky. Activists claim that if it's not scientifically sound, the target could detract from efforts to reduce emissions as fast as possible.

Morgan stated that while some companies want to keep doing what they are doing, others want to be able to plant trees elsewhere. Morgan stated, "That is not the answer to the biodiversity and nature crisis."

She mentioned a report from the International Energy Agency that concluded there cannot be any new coal mines or oil wells in order to achieve the Paris goal. A separate U.N.-backed study concluded that even current plans for fossil fuel production for the next decade would produce more than twice the amount of emissions needed to ensure the world meets the Paris goals.

Morgan stated that the focus being placed on talks in Glasgow, and the efforts of some parties to block agreements on sensitive topics could encourage countries who want an ambitious agreement.

She said, "They must be willing to move beyond their comfort zones and join forces because they can see the level or opposition coming at them."

Nine countries, including Sweden, Costa Rica and Marshall Islands, called on Thursday for countries to update their climate targets in advance of the Oct. 31-Nov.12 talks in Glasgow. They supported a long-standing demand by poor countries for rich countries to fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion annually in aid to combat climate change.

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