Global reporting standards for extractive industries must include transparency from fossil fuel companies about the future viability of their oil, coal and gas projects in a warming world, says a large movement of environment, climate and indigenous peoples organisations.
With only weeks until the Paris climate talks, hundreds of organizations from around the world (see list below) are addressing the Oslo-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which sets standards for good governance in the extractive industries. The groups, including Oil Change International, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Climate Justice Programme, have written to the EITI, seeking amendments to the global reporting standard to include risks related to climate change.
- letter to the board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
- Brief an den Vorstand der Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
“This letter outlines a wide range of concrete steps that would further public debate about the dangers of continued carbon investment and how to stop it” said Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine. “For the fossil fuel industry, there can be no transparency without a full airing of how its business model risks locking us in to catastrophic warming”.
“There is no question that it is past time for the EITI to consider the climate implications of its work.” said Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International. “An EITI that doesn’t cover climate is like a Health Commission looking at smoking, and ignoring cancer. If the EITI wishes to remain relevant in policy circles, it should move quickly to make climate risk a central part of its mandate.”
Mark Campanale, Executive Director and Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative welcomes the move, saying: “At the heart of the business model of fossil fuel extractive companies is the presumption that all known reserves are there to be developed and burnt. This is their core business risk and the climate networks are absolutely right to highlight it as a material financial risk, which is absent from the EITI. Extractive fossil fuel companies should now disclose how their business plans are compliant with a 2 degree future and how they will properly manage their inevitable contraction.”
Lili Fuhr, Head of Ecology and Sustainable Development at the Berlin based Heinrich Böll Foundation said: “We are very pleased to see this strong call for leaving unburnable coal, oil and gas in the ground from such a broad and strong civil society movement. Resource rich but poor countries and their citizens should have transparent and comprehensive information to decide on a sustainable and equitable future development pathway. A reformed EITI taking into account climate risks could contribute significantly towards that objective.”
The groups define ‘climate risk’ as economic and investment risks associated with the drop in demand of oil or coal, or the risk of policy reform that would phase out fossil fuel use in favour of renewable energies. They also identify the increasing risks associated with litigation against the fossil fuel industry for its role in contributing to climate change and the efforts of some to spread disinformation about climate change to prevent policy reform.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global Standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. It seeks to strengthen government and company systems, inform public debate, and enhance trust. In each implementing country it is supported by a coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together. Countries implementing the EITI disclose information on tax payments, licences, contracts, production and other key elements around resource extraction.
The EITI currently has 48 implementing countries and engagement from the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Exxon, Chevron, Statoil and Total are represented in the international Board of the EITI.