A recent prank has helped to highlight the absurd level of corporate capture at the COP26 conference.
Glasgow Calls Out Polluters (GCOP) alleged on 8 November that the Yes Men managed to get a fake company that designs “bespoke couture” for private jets accepted on two UN ‘Net Zero’ initiatives. But the prank itself is apparently a set-up. The Yes Men say they didn’t get the UN to sign up a fake company to its initiatives. Indeed, the prank appears to be centred on a real company, YASAVA. And that company actually is a corporate member of the UN’s ‘Race to Zero’. Instead, the self-professed “shite-stirrers” – the Yes Men – simply tried to convince the world that it was a fake company in order to expose the absurdity of the Net Zero narrative.
The smoothness with which we operated to infiltrate the #COP26 #NetZero initiatives was astounding. We are the Bruce Lees of climate activism! Or are we? https://t.co/DAyHdkwWam #COP26 #NetZero #yasava https://t.co/MQsL2M9In4
— The Yes Men (@theyesmen) November 8, 2021
A fake company in official #COP26 Race To Zero program!
— Glasgow Calls Out Polluters (GCOP) (@Ggow_COP) November 9, 2021
GCOP released a report titled Race to Zero (credibility): How flagship Net Zero initiatives at COP26 are sciencewash around the same time as the prank. As the group explained, the point of the associated high jinks was to highlight “the real deceit of these initiatives and the companies that are part of it”. They further said that:
The fact that this company designing bespoke interiors for private jets could in reality (rather than imagination) be accepted onto these UN climate programmes highlights how much of a joke the whole concept of net zero by 2050 is – and how unserious the people behind these initiatives are in tackling the climate crisis.
Like previous reports before it, GCOP’s offering takes aim at the institutional, governmental, and corporate focus on ‘Net Zero’ as a way of dealing with the environmental emergency. As The Canary previously explained:
Net Zero doesn’t mean real zero carbon emissions. It’s essentially a plan to ensure the amount of carbon emitted by a country or organisation isn’t more than the amount of carbon they ensure is removed from the atmosphere. 2050 is the year most Net Zero ambitions centre on.
But Net Zero calculations generally include unrealistic claims about nature’s carbon-storing capacity, uncertain technologies, and highly contested energy ‘solutions’. What they often lack, meanwhile, is a plan to dramatically lower emissions by reducing and ultimately ending fossil fuel use.
In short, Net Zero is a plan to keep on polluting, at least up until 2050. As GCOP highlights, instead of ending pollution, Net Zero ‘climate action’ generally focuses on ploughing money into finding “fairy tale compensatory mechanisms” to miraculously cancel it out.
As Global Witness and other organisations have recently revealed, fossil fuel lobbyists are out in force at COP26. Their analysis found that the conference has opened its doors to at least 503 of them. And as DeSmog has previously reported, between July 2019 and March 2021, UK ministers – the COP26 host country – met with fossil fuel and biomass producers nine-times as often as with renewable energy producers.
#COP26: "The ongoing failure of countries to name oil, gas & coal as the primary drivers of global warming and to commit to immediately halting new #FossilFuel production and phasing out fossil fuels is inexcusable" — @NikkiReisch.
— Center for International Environmental Law (@ciel_tweets) November 9, 2021
So is it any wonder that sciencewashing and greenwashing are the order of the day at COP26? Unfortunately for the future of the planet and its living inhabitants, not in the slightest.
Featured image via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?