This week we are in Madrid, at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, where the signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement are trying to agree on ways to reduce emissions and tackle global heating.
While the outcomes are not clear yet, one thing is: Governments have to urgently spend billions of dollars on climate mitigation measures, from flood shelters to reforestation and renewable energy. We can’t afford to lose that money to corruption.
Climate change has global consequences, but some countries are particularly vulnerable. Many of them simultaneously struggle with high public sector corruption. Climate funds often don’t reach the communities that need them most, and natural resources are being exploited regardless of the consequences.
In Zambia, a new undercover investigation found that the country’s president, his daughter and several high-ranking politicians are allegedly involved in the illicit logging and trading of rare mukula wood.
But even where politicians are not getting their hands dirty, corruption is an issue, as undue influence from vested interests can undermine climate policies. Fossil fuel and other big industries spend billions on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying, which weakens climate legislation, or prevents effective climate action altogether.
Lobbying and campaign finance information must be made public, while citizens and civil society groups should should have equal access to decision makers.
Climate action will only work if it goes hand in hand with strong integrity measures, involves civil society and protects activists around the world.
This blog is part of our weekly series of updates on everything corruption-related. You can get them straight to your inbox every Friday.