Stop the corporate takeover and expansion of carbon markets now!

COP 19 statement signed by la Via Campesina among 155 signatories

COP 19 Climate Capture: 

Stop the corporate takeover and expansion of carbon markets now!

For almost 20 years, multilateral climate policies have served to create profitable financial schemes that maintain fossil fuel dependent systems that are responsible for the climate crisis. November 11-22 in Warsaw, Poland, the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be no exception. The EU’s agenda for the COP19 will be both to scale-up carbon trading mechanisms and find other ways of sustaining an industrial and financial system dependent on coal, oil and gas, which is facing a crisis of multiple dimensions. 

EU’s agenda for COP19: more carbon markets

In an attempt to increase the reach of carbon markets, the EU will pledge its continued support to a set of failed policies that have been rejected by more than 140 organizations and social movements from around the world.1 The EU, Norway, Australia, the USA, and a host of corporate allies aim to establish more environmental markets under the UNFCCC to supplement the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which lies in shambles.2 The New Market Mechanism (NMM) would expand the scope of offset schemes like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In addition, discussions on the Framework for Various Approaches (FVA) would involve an agreement to approve international trading from various existing national, regional and local carbon markets for compliance with the commitments under the Convention. 

The 2012 UN decisions agreed on guiding elements for the NMM, which raise a number of concerns such as the expansion of carbon markets to include forest and other land-based emissions, such as the problematic REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation)3. The structure of a possible NMM remains undecided. However, the EU is promoting a NMM that covers broad sectors of Southern countries’ economies4. This would multiply the severe impacts that the CDM has already had on affected communities, the environment and the climate.

Further, the FVA would allow carbon pollution rights from various national, regional and local Emission Trading Schemes to be traded under the Convention. Pollution permits created by schemes with very different rules would become tradable on a wider scale in a move toward a “global carbon market”. As a result, the EU pursues an agenda for increasing markets that have not only failed to provide a solution to the climate crisis, but further benefit industries responsible for continuing climate change. 

Climate culprits capture the Convention

COP19 not only risks adding to the EU ETS disaster, it also scales up corporate capture of the climate negotiations by providing a chair inside the central negotiating block. As the Minister of the Environment of Poland, Marcin Korolec, in charge of organising the UN talks announced,  “[f]or the first time in 19 years, since the climate talks are being held, representatives of global business will be a part of it.”5 This capitulation to corporate-power furthers a dangerous trend of openly placing corporations at the centre of the decision-making process and guarantees further corporate-led policies that will benefit polluters instead of forcing them to take effective action.

To make things worse, the companies singled out are those with some of the most damaging track records.6 Some examples are ArcelorMittal, the steel giant which has massively profited from carbon markets while causing damage to vulnerable communities;7 Alstom, which plans to build the biggest coal power plant in Poland; PGE, Poland’s biggest energy company, with investments in coal, shale gas and nuclear and; the oil company LOTOS S.A, which is involved in shale gas and led an astroturf group promoting fracking;8 and car giants such as BMW, which have been actively lobbying against CO2 emission reductions for cars.9  

Coal interests strong at COP19

The coal industry, one of the dirtiest energy sources contributing to the climate crisis, will have a strong presence at COP19. The Polish Ministry of Economy and the World Coal Association (with members such as Rio Tinto, Katowice and BHP Billiton) have launched a Communiqué calling on the UN and development banks to set a pathway towards increased use of coal and coal technology.10 Apart from calling on developmental banks to support Southern countries in accessing new coal technologies, they are organising a “Coal and Climate Summit” during the talks.11

COP19 is shaping up as a culminating moment in the corporate capture of the UN talks. With governments partnering up with some of the biggest culprits responsible for the climate crisis, COP19 will increase polluters’ ability to profit at the expense of the climate. Carbon markets have demonstrated an absolute inability to start reducing greenhouse gases at source, or promote a just transition away from fossil fuels, both necessary to reduce the impacts of climate change. 

We, the undersigned organizations, denounce governments, the UN and their financial allies for yielding to corporate power and their lobby groups instead of standing up to them and enabling 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.

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Please notice that we can only take sign ons from groups – not individuals.

List of signatories

4D (France),

Acción por la Biodiversidad (Argentina),

Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network – AEFJN, 

AFRICANDO, Gran Canaria  (Spain),

Agir pour l’environnement (France),

A G Post-Fossil (Germany),

Aitec-Ipam (France),

Aliança RECOs – Redes de Cooperação Comunitária Sem Fronteiras (Brazil),

Alianza por la Solidaridad- APS (Spain),

All India Forum of Forest Movements – AIFFM (India),

Alyansa Tigil Mina – ATM (Philippines),

Amigos da Terra Brasil, Friends of the Earth Brazil,

Amigos de la Tierra España – Friends of the Earth Spain,

Amigos de la Tierra Salvador – Friends of the Earth Salvador,

Amigos de la Tierra America Latina y Caribe – ATALC,

Amis de la Terre France – Friends of the Earth France,

Área de Justicia y Solidaridad de CONFER  – Conferencia Española de Religiosos (Spain),

Articulação de Mulheres Brasileiras – AMB (Brazil),

ASC – Alianza Social Continental,

ARA- Working Group on Rainforestst and Biodiversity (Germany),

Asociación Ecologista Río Mocoreta (Argentina),

Association Romania Without Them (Romania),

Association Stop au gaz de schiste-Non al gas d’esquist 47 (France),

Association taca (France),

Attac Austria,

Attac France,

Attac Germany,

Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, New Delhi (India),

BI für ein lebenswertes Korbach,

Biofuelwatch (UK/USA),

Bizi ! – mouvement urgence climatique justice sociale du Pays Basque,

Boletín GAL (Chile),

Both ENDS, Amsterdam (The Netherlands),

Buergerinitiative gegen CO2-Endlager e.V. (Germany),

Brigada Cimarrona Sebastian Lemba (Dominican Republic),

Campaña Mesoamericana de Justicia Climática CMJC,

Carbon Trade Watch,

CEEweb for Biodiversity, 

CEIBA – Amigos de la Tierra Guatemala,

Centre de Recherche et d’Information pour le Développement – CRID (France),

Centre for Civil Society (Durban, South Africa), 

Center for Environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 

Centro De Referência Do Movimento Da Cidadania Pelas Águas Florestas E Montanhas Iguassu Iterei (Brazil), 

CESTA – Amigos de la Tierra Salvador – Friends of the Earth Salvador,

Climate & Energy Group, Beyond Copenhagen collective -BCPH (India),

COECOCEIBA – Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica,

Colectivo Revuelta Verde (Mexico),

Collectif 07 Stop au Gaz et Huiles de Schiste (France),

Collectif ALDEAH (France),

Collectif Basta! Gaz Alès (France),

Collectif Briard 77 (France),

Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de schiste NON! (France),

Collectif citoyen Ile-de-France non aux gaz et pétrole de schiste (France),

Collectif “gaz de schiste non merci” de Clapiers (France),

Collectif “non gaz de schiste Florac (France),

Collectif Pays Cigalois non aux gaz et pétrole de schiste (France),

Collectif Stop gaz de schiste Anduze 30 (France),


Confédération paysanne (France),

Coordination Climat Justice Sociale, Genève (Switzerland),

Coordination eau Ile-de-France (France),

Corner House (UK),

Corporación Ambiental, Ecológica y Sanitaria (Colombia), 

Corporate Europe Observatory,

Counter Balance, 

Earth In Brackets,

Earthlife Africa,

Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum – ESAFF (Zambia),

ECA Watch Austria (Austria),

Ecologistas en Acción (Spain),

Econexus (UK),

Ecotap (Mexico),

Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri – ECA-RCA (Peru),

European Water Movement,

Federación de Ingeniería sin Fronteras (Spain),


FOCO  -Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (Argentina),

Focus on the Global South,

Fondation Copernic (France),

Fondation Sciences Citoyennes (France),

Forest Peoples Programme,

Food & Water Europe,

Food & Water Watch, 

FORUMCORLAD – Fórum Permanente de Entidades Não Governamentais de Corumbá e Ladário, Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil),

France Libertés (France),

Friends of the Earth Flanders and Brussels,

Friends of the Earth International,

Friends of the Earth Mauritius,

Friends of the Earth Sweden, 

Friends of the Siberian Forests (Russia),

Fundación Centro de Estudios Ecológicos de la República Argentina -FUCEERA (Argentina),

Fundación Solón (Bolivia),

GAIA – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives,

Générations Futures (France),

Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change Against  REDD,

Global Forest Coalition,

Global Justice Ecology Project, 


Gram Bharati Samiti -GBS, Jaipur (India),

Hegoa – Instituto de Estudios sobe Desarrollo y Cooperación Internacional del País Vasco,

IBON International – Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change,

ILLA Centro de Educación y Comunicación (Peru),

Indigenous Environmental Network,

Indonesia Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice – CSF-CJI (Indonesia),

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis (USA),

Instituto de Ecología Política (Chile),

International Oil Working Group,

Iterei- Refúgio Particular De Animais Nativos (Brazil), 

Justiça Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique,

Klimaat en Sociale Rechtvaardigheid -Climat et Justice Sociale (Belgium), 

Klimagerechtigkeit Leipzig, (Germany), 

Latinamerikagrupperna (Sweden),

Movimento Mulheres pela P@Z! (Brazil), 

National Adivasi Alliance (India),

New York Climate Action Group (USA),

No REDD in Africa Network – NRAN,

Observatori del Deute en la Globalització – ODG – Debtwatch (Catalunya),

Observatorio de Empresas Transnacionales -OET- del Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos -FOCO / INPADE (Argentina),

OCCA Pantanal – Organização de Cidadania, Cultura e Ambiente (Brazil),


Oilwatch Latin America, 

Otros Mundos AC/Amigos de la Tierra México,

Pan-African Club (Zimbabwe),

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice – PMCJ (Philippines),

Platform (UK),

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD),

Polaris Institute (Canada), 

PRRM – Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (Philippines),

Push Europe,

Quantic Association (Romania),

Re:Common (Italy),


Réseau sortir du nucléaire (France),

RETS: Respuestas a las Transnacionales, Barcelona (Catalunya),

Ritimo (France), 

Romania Without Fracking Action Group (Romania),

School of Democratic Economics (Indonesia),

Sócios da Natureza (Brazil),

SOLdePaz.Pachakuti (Spain),

SÜDWIND (Austria),

Terræ Organização da Sociedade Civil (Brazil), 

Timberwatch Coalition (South Africa),

Transnational Institute (TNI),

Union syndicale Solidaires (France),

Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña UNES (El Salvador),

United Kingdom Without Incineration Network – UKWIN (UK),

Urgewald (Germany),

Via Campesina,

vzw Climaxi (Belgium), 

WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia,

World Development Movement (UK),

WRM – World Rainforest Movement,

XminusY Solidarity Fund (Netherlands),

Zukunft statt Kohle (Germany)

Updated list of signatories 

1  Time to Scrap the ETS declaration:

2  EU ETS myth busting: Why it can’t be reformed and shouldn’t be replicated,; EU Emissions Trading System: failing at the third attempt; Carbon Trading – how it works and why it fails,; Trading carbon – how it works and why it is controversial,; Energy Security For Whom? For What?; Green is the Color of Money: The EU ETS Failure as a Model for the “green economy”

3  For further information on REDD+ see: 

4  A key decision under discussion includes whether to create a NMM based on project-based approaches, like the CDM, or sector-based. Bolivia on the other hand, has called for a moratorium on the establishment of any new markets under the Convention, saying that carbon markets support the constitution of a new global right – the right to pollute – and contradict environmental integrity and the basic science of climate change. See:

5  Dirty Business in Warsaw: 

6  The corporate partners of COP19 are: ArcelorMittal Poland SA, ALSTOM Power Pty Ltd, BMW Group Poland, Emirates, EUROPRESEE Poland Ltd., General Motors Poland Ltd., Grupa LOTOS SA, International Paper-Kwidzyn . z oo, Kaspersky Lab Poland, LeasePlan Fleet Management (Poland), PGE Polish Energy Group, LOT Polish Airlines (as of mid October LOT Polish Airlines has been removed from the list of partners in some of the posts of the Polish government’s official COP19 website )