Democracy is at the centre of the fight for implementation of climate policies. On one side, there is the state’s obligation to ensure that they conserve the environment while on the other side it is constantly bogged down by the needs of big corporations which are responsible for massive carbon footprints; corporations which at one point in time came in to give financial aid to governments in form of campaign funds and project sponsorships. It is safe to say that democracy has gone to bed with big oil corporations and the product of their union is ‘a society and environment that is headed to destruction.
To demonstrate the influence corporations have on states, The Panama Papers which is one of the biggest leaks of all time show just how rich influential people have been able to defraud states an estimated value of $250 billion in tax revenue. Public authorities like David Cameron, Petro Poroshenko, Mauricio Macri involved in it. The President of Iceland and Minister of Industries in Spain were forced to resign after this revelation.
There is a link between the Panama papers and climate change too. Oil barons in Saudi Arabia, Angola, Qatar, Congo, and even Arias Cañete, now EU climate change and energy commissioner, were involved in this fraud. They used the tax haven to avoid paying taxes of their profits made by extracting and burning fossil fuels.
Let’s come closer home to Kenya where there are several oil companies, but most notable is Mobil a subsidiary of Exxon. This is the same Exxon which conducted studies in 1950’s and were aware of the extensive effects fossil fuels had on the environment. However because of their greed and desire to sink their hands deep into the dark greasy world of fossil fuels they created climate disinformation think tanks and ensured they spread the lie that fossil fuels are safe for the environment. In the same line, anti-climate groups have received over $120m in donations from anonymous billionaires to perpetuate their deceptive philosophy.
And if you thought we could easily run to the Conference of Parties for refuge then you are wrong because big oil corporations have found their way into climate talks too and are seated at the high table. On 19th May, The International Youth Council has invited the Kenyan civil society to present findings of a report entitled “Fueling the Fire” detailing the big corporations that bankrolled COP 21 in Paris and call on a global investigation into the corporate capture of THE UNFCCC.
Several countries like Australia, Canada, Brazil and Ecuador have come out in numbers to demonstrate against various projects fuelling fossil fuels in their countries. They are steps that can be taken by even the least of us. Participation from the people is key.
Our democracies are sinking, our morals are being torn into and our environment is lying bare. Surely we cannot stand and watch our world go to the dogs. The only way we can stop the wanton corruption and increase of Green House Gas emissions is by kicking them out of climate talks. There is no way we can move in terms of climate change when they are in our quarters pulling us back.