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‘Funding fossils must stop now’

File photo shows a coal-fired power plant

CLIMATE activists from Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and the Philippines symbolically served a memo to top fossil fuels financiers and investors in Asia participating in the ongoing UN Global Compact conference, calling on them to immediately stop financing fossil fuel projects and promoting false climate solutions.

Filipino climate activists held their action at the Ninoy Aquino statue in Makati City fronting the Philippines Stock Exchange tower.

“We call on companies participating in the global compact: Stop all forms of financing of all fossil fuel projects. Stop selling us the false narrative that we need fossil gas projects to transition out of coal and stop promoting false climate solutions technologies,” said Lydinyda “Lidy” B. Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

“Climate change related extreme weather events—unprecedented monsoon rains, super typhoons and heat waves—are destroying lives, homes and livelihoods, and deepening hunger, poverty, and inequalities in our countries. And worse is still to come. You have the responsibility to act now. You must do your full share in bringing a rapid end to fossil fuel energy systems, which account for over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet and escalating the climate crisis.”

This year’s UN Global Compact conference is taking place from September 19 to 21. Last year’s conference was attended by at least 8,000 participants from 134 countries; highlighted by the participation of seven heads of states and 30 CEOs of the world’s biggest companies.

The group’s “memo” holds private finance and investment companies accountable for having a huge share of responsibility for the destructive impacts of climate change. Private financing of new fossil fuels projects totaled at least $1 trillion from 2016 to 2021.

The “memo” also held fossil-fuel financiers accountable for promoting false solutions to the climate and energy crisis, which are serving as dangerous distractions and delays to climate action. Nacpil said false solutions—e.g. carbon-capture use and storage technologies, ammonia and hydrogen co-firing—serve to extend the production and use of fossil-fuel energies, and protect business interests, at huge cost to the welfare of the people and the planet.

Data shows that over the last five years, private banks Mizuho, Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corp., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Citigroup Inc. and Holdings plc. have financed a combined amount of $862 billion of fossil fuel projects.

“Despite their avowed commitments to the Paris agreement and stark warnings from scientists, private corporations have not done anything significant let alone adequate enough to end fossil fuel energy systems at the speed needed to stop the climate crisis before it reaches worldwide catastrophic [levels],” Nacpil said. “There is only a small window of time to do this.”

Last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned the impacts of climate change are “heading into uncharted territories of destruction.”

Guterres’s warning came after the release of the latest report from World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which shows that “at current levels of global greenhouse gas emissions, the world remains on course to exceed the agreed temperature thresholds of either 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels, which would increase the risks of pervasive climate change impacts beyond what is already being seen.”

The report shows further that the climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, and that five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

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