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Friends of the Earth questions sustainability credentials of major climate conference

11 May 2022

Dublin Climate Summit must reject far-off techno-fixes, false solutions and attempts to greenwash dirty energy

 

Friends of the Earth calls on Taoiseach and Government attendees to prioritise investment in real solutions that will help homes and businesses to end reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

Friends of the Earth has called on the Taoiseach and other high profile speakers at the Dublin Climate Summit, taking place on 12th May, to reject a limited focus on investment in questionable far-off technologies and Carbon Capture and Storage. The Dublin Climate Summit [1] features speeches from An Taoiseach, Ministers Donohue and Martin, as well as Irish media representatives [2]. It also includes speeches from Wall Street investors and private equity firms, including Blackstone which have been accused of financing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, exacerbating the climate crisis through fossil fuel investments and supporting the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline [3]. Blackstone is one of the Dublin Climate Summit sponsors [4].Blackstone Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, Stephen Schwarzman, has been a major supporter of (and donor to) Donald Trump.

Friends of the Earth says that a spotlight must be shone on such high-profile Government engagement with global investors and is raising questions regarding the sustainability credentials of companies involved in the Summit. The environmental NGO is also questioning the Summit's focus on investment in technologies that could distract attention away from the need to rapidly end the fossil fuel era and cut emissions at source.

Commenting, Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy in Friends of the Earth stated:

“It’s time to demand real emission reductions now, not wait for far-off carbon unicorns [5]. New technologies are evidently necessary but depending on investment in unproven technologies, like Carbon Capture and Storage, will not deliver near-term emissions reductions and risks a lock-in to ever-increasing fossil fuels.

“The real and credible solutions to the environmental emergencies we face are clear. We must rapidly stop using fossil fuels. The Taoiseach and Government must pay heed to warnings from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres who highlighted that fossil fuel interests are now ‘cynically’ using the war in Ukraine to lock in a high carbon future, noting that “The world is in a race against time. We cannot afford slow movers, fake movers or any form of greenwashing” [6]"

Mr Mac Evilly continued:

“The Russian invasion and associated gas crisis has only served to highlight the dangers of Ireland’s fossil fuel dependence and the need for further coordinated action to help those struggling to pay their energy bills. Ireland must be clear that private investment must focus on immediate emission reductions and be underpinned by mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence obligations on companies [7].”

“The major risk here is that Government limits its focus to investment in far-off and questionable technologies which facilitate an expansion in fossil fuel infrastructure, instead of demanding investment in real solutions that will help reduce emissions and help households right now, such as energy saving measures."

ENDS

Notes

1.See the Summit website here:https://www.dublinclimatesummit.com/index.php

2.See the Summit speaker list here: https://www.dublinclimatesummit.com/speakersList.php

3. An article published in the Guardian this February reported that Blackstone co-owns one of America’s dirtiest coal plants, the General James Gavin power station in Ohio. It also reported that Blackstone has a significant stake in the owner of the Dakota Access pipeline – the oil infrastructure project which triggered the Standing Rock protest camp where Indigenous water protectors were brutalised by law enforcement. Blackstone has been accused of fuelling Amazon destruction here and has also been accused by the UN of helping to fuel a global housing crisis. Blackstone co-founder and CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, has been a major supporter of (and donor to) Donald Trump.

4. Summit sponsors are listed here: https://www.dublinclimatesummit.com/sponsors.php

5.See reports by Friends of the Earth International on false climate solutions, such as Carbon Capture and Storage here and here

6.See: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/04/1117062

7.See: https://friendsoftheearth.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Off-the-Hook-Lobby-report.pdf

 

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