India and China, part of the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, have favoured greater transparency in climate negotiations in Germany's Bonn next week as these are crucial ahead of the Paris climate change agreement COP23, climate negotiators said on Wednesday.
The countries called for the 46th session on Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) to take up the matter of transparency and conflict of interest in its discussions while making a strong proposal to tackle the menace.
Citing a Corporate Accountability International report released in Germany on Tuesday, an Indian negotiator said there are close to 250 groups, organisations, associations and trade bodies that have access to influence and hamper the climate negotiation process.
Most of these groups are funded by the same industries responsible for climate change, he contended.
The Corporate Accountability International report investigated six of the many fossil fuel- funded lobbies that are being allowed to "undermine" the climate negotiations process at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It names the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association, the Business Roundtable, FuelsEurope, the Business Council of Australia and the International Chamber of Commerce, as six industry associations that have been found to have stymieing climate action.
An official associated with the Indian negotiation team told IANS last year a similar call was made by countries representing nearly 70 percent of the world population. However, it was met with intense opposition from the European Union, Australia as well as the US.
This year, with the whispers of a possible backtracking by the US on the commitments it made in the Paris agreement, the call for identifying groups funded by fossil fuel industry and impeding climate action is growing even stronger, he said.
"Right now hundreds of business trade associations have access to the climate talks, and many of them are funded by some of the world's biggest polluters and climate change deniers," said Corporate Accountability International's International Policy Director Tamar Lawrence-Samuel.
"With so many arsonists in the fire department, it's no wonder we've failed to put the fire out."
To limit the reach of such groups, the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, in its submission for the Bonn negotiations, suggested an example of WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, which not only provides for participation of non-state actors but also of protecting against "conflict of interest", "reputational risk" as well as "undue influence".
The group proposes that UNFCCC develops a legal framework for non-state actors and non-party stakeholders in climate negotiation process related to implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Climate negotiators are gathering in Bonn May 8-18 to develop a "rulebook" in order to translate the Paris Agreement into action against the backdrop of US President Donald Trump mulling a possible pullout of the landmark agreement.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by cutting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
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