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As French President Emmanuel Macron launched a “One Planet Summit” in Paris to mark the second year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, activists from around the world challenged governments to rise to the climate change challenge by cutting their support for fossil fuels.

The December 12th Summit was preceded by a special “climate finance day” and attracted hundreds of representatives from media, business, and dozens of Heads of State. It aims to accelerate the roll out of the Paris Agreement by providing a platform for new public and private partnerships, in particular those that seek to mobilize climate finance, which is hoped to motivate/encourage governments to increase their national targets for pollution cuts and finance transfers.

 

However, activists have released a report on what they call the “Dirty Dozen” — twelve examples of extreme fossil fuel projects which are still receiving public finance support from the World Bank, multilateral development banks, and export credit agencies. With such institutions providing $71.8 billion per year in public finance for fossil fuels, and only $18.7 billion in public finance for clean energy, the activists say that the 1.5C temperature threshold of the Paris Agreement will be lost within a few short years.

 

They say that the urgency of climate change, which is happening faster than expected and could result in upwards of 4C warming by 2100, demands an immediate move away from financing for oil and gas exploration projects, coal mining, and coal-fired power plants.

 

“If governments and business are sincere in their commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement they would cease their financing of dirty and harmful energy projects around the world and would instead accept their responsibility for providing public finance to address climate change instead of letting business dictate the agenda,” said Meena Raman of Third World Network.

 

“We have been fighting against harmful energy projects for years while governments and corporations profited from our suffering. Now they say we only have One Planet and we must protect it – we say put your money where your mouth is! Divest from fossil fuels and other dirty energy and instead fulfill your obligation to provide climate finance for renewable, community-owned energy for all,” said Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development.
“President Macron had raised expectations that he would make a concrete announcement of more public finance to help poor countries deal with climate impacts and to scale up climate action,” said Harjeet Singh of ActionAid International.

 

“Instead, business took centre stage, while announcements of public finance were disappointingly scarce. Sadly, most of the leaders at the One Planet Summit seem to have forgotten that public financing is necessary for people to protect their safety and food security from climate impacts.”

 

“The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is happening already and thanks in no small part to the climate justice movements, happening at a faster rate than anticipated. But we must be careful not to leave workers behind – we need a transition, yes, but it must be a just transition,” said Sara Shaw of Friends of the Earth International.

 

“Macron and others may bask in the limelight of yet another Summit, but no amount of spin can mask the hypocrisy that whilst climate change leaves a trail of devastation across the world, largely in communities that have done the least to cause climate change, France and other rich countries are driving a trade agenda at the WTO meeting that hands over power to the very same corporations that are burning our planet in the interest of profit,” said Asad Rehman of War on Want.

 

“We need countries to step up their efforts and take on their fair share of climate action. There are some who advocate for pie-in-the-sky techno-fixes, but coming back down to earth we know the real solutions: transform energy systems through a just transition, tackle inequality between and within countries, and ensure land rights for peasants and indigenous peoples,” continued Meena Raman.

 

“Environmental and human rights defenders from those same communities are being murdered for standing up to the kinds of bad development projects that many of the financial institutions are supporting. No matter how many Summits the elites hold, we will remain in different worlds until we the people reclaim power” continued Lidy Nacpil.

 

Many groups will come together throughout 2018 for coordinated global actions as part of the Reclaim Power campaign. For more information visit www.reclaimpower.net.