Polluticians occupy the climate

Press release - 23 November, 2011
Amsterdam/Durban, 23 November 2011 – A new report released today by Greenpeace reveals how a handful of major polluting corporations such as Eskom, BASF, ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton, Shell and Koch Industries, as well as the industry associations that they are members of, are influencing governments and the political process on climate legislation.

“Our governments must work with and learn from the business sector but we will not avoid irreversible climate change impacts unless they listen to and act on the behalf of their citizens. In Durban, it’s time for governments to listen to the people, not the polluting corporations”  – said Kumi Naidoo Greenpeace International Executive Director. 

The ‘Who’s holding us back’ report (1) helps to demonstrate why decisive action on the climate is being increasingly ousted from the political agenda.  The report summarises the lack of action at a national level in several key countries to build the right reconditions to a global climate agreement, which stands in stark contrast to public opinion demanding change. (2)

"In this report, we document the tricks of the trade that polluting corporations use to pull the strings of our politicians and mislead the public. We expose the web of influence that sees these companies play not only our leaders, but entire countries against each other to hold back action on the climate" – said Tzeporah Berman, Co-director of Greenpeace International Climate and Energy Program.

Greenpeace is calling on governments in Durban to listen to the people and not the polluting corporations, and:

Ensure a peak in global emissions by 2015
Emission reductions: Close the gap between politics and science
Ensure that the Kyoto Protocol continues and provide a mandate for a comprehensive legally binding instrument
Deliver the necessary climate finance
Set up a framework for protecting forests in developing countries
Address the needs of the most vulnerable countries and communities
Ensure global cooperation on technology and energy finance
Ensure international transparency in assessing and monitoring country commitments and actions
Ensure transparency, democracy and full participation in the UNFCCC process


Contact information:

Greenpeace International 24-hour media hotline: +31 20 718 2470

Tzeporah Berman, Co-director of Greenpeace International Climate and Energy Program: +1 604 313 4713

Notes to editors:

(1) The Greenpeace report is available for download:


(2) A global poll in 2009 showed that 73% of people placed a high priority on climate change  and a recent poll confirmed that global concern about climate change has risen slightly since the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, despite the ongoing global financial and economic crisis. 

According to the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll released in October 2011 the concern about climate change among Europeans has grown since 2009 and almost eight in ten respondents agree that tackling climate change can boost the economy and create jobs.