Last year CorpWatch launched an initiative to redefine the global warming issue as a question of local and global justice. In November 2000, CorpWatch organized the First Climate Justice Summit in The Hague bringing representatives from communities already adversely impacted by the fossil-fuel industry from the US and Southern countries together to join the climate change debate.
Climate Change Is Real
"Projected climate changes during the 21st century have the potential to lead to future large-scale and possibly irreversible changes in Earth systems, resulting in impacts on continental and global scales." -- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001
The 1990s were the warmest decade and 1998 was the warmest year on record.
The increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years.
There has been a widespread retreat of mountain glaciers during the 20th century. The icecap atop Mount Kilimanjaro, which has decreased in size by 82% since 1912, will completely disappear in less than 15 years.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for 64% of global warming gases. 75% of human caused CO2 emissions come from burning oil, gas and coal.
If it is not halted, climate change will most probably result in increased frequency and severity of storms, floods, drought and water shortage; the spread of disease; increased hunger; displacement and mass migrations of people and ensuing social conflict.
Climate change is seen as a political issue among nations. The US, responsible for about a quarter of all global warming gasses, is calling for greater CO2 reduction by developing nations. But many corporations emit more CO2 than most countries.
Just 122 corporations account for 80% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Oil produced by just four companies-Shell, Exxon-Mobil, BP-Amoco-Arco, and Chevron-Texaco- accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions.
Oil produced by Shell emits more carbon dioxide than most countries in the world including Canada, Brazil and Mexico.
BP-Amoco's production accounts for more emissions than those of its home country, the UK.
Exxon-Mobil's production creates emissions equivalent to 80% of those from all of Africa or South America.
Royal Dutch Shell sent 43 official representatives and lobbyists to the November 2000 climate negotiations in The Hague, a delegation larger than most countries and nearly half the size of the 100 plus person US delegation.
Economic globalization advances global warming and the fossil fuel industry's bottom line.
Since the 1992 Earth Summit, the World Bank has spent 13.6 billion dollars on fossil fuels projects which will generate 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
Ninety percent of these World Bank-sponsored oil, gas and coal projects will benefit transnational corporations based in the world's seven richest countries. Meanwhile less than 9 percent of this energy lending is devoted to meeting the energy needs of the world's poorest 2 billion people.
Who Pays the Price?
"The impacts of future changes in climate extremes are expected to fall disproportionately on the poor." -- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Rural Poor and Indigenous Peoples: "Climate change would probably exacerbate hunger and poverty around the world... People who are highly dependent on farming, fishing or forestry will well see their livelihoods destroyed." -The United Nations Environment Programme
The Urban Poor: "Climate change will be accompanied by an increase in heat waves, often exacerbated by increased humidity and urban air pollution, which would cause an increase in heat-related deaths...The impact would be greatest in urban populations, affecting particularly the elderly, sick and those without access to air-conditioning." -- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Coastal Dwelling Poor: IPCC predicts "a widespread increase in the risk of flooding for many human settlements... from both increased heavy precipitation and sea-level rise." Particularly hard hit will be low-lying countries like Bangladesh and small island states whose very existence is threatened.
Communities Already Affected by the Oil Industry: Communities that already bear the brunt of oil company activities-such as the Ogoni in the Niger Delta, the Gwich'in in the Arctic Refuge, or African Americans in Norco, Louisiana-face a "double whammy." First they are hit by the local environmental and human rights problems associated by the oil industry. And then they face the prospect of their communities being flooded or destroyed by climate change.
Keeping Carbon Dioxide in the Ground
Halting Shell, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and other companies' oil extraction in the Niger Delta would protect the human rights and environment of the Ogoni, Ijaw and other indigenous people, while keeping 770 million tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.
Preventing Occidental Petroleum from extracting oil from indigenous U'wa territory in Colombia would protect the U'wa while keeping 154 million tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.
Halting the UNOCAL-Total-Fina sponsored Yadana gas pipeline in Burma, would end associated forced labor and environmental degradation there, while keeping 156 million tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.