Respected Cindy FRANSSEN: Boycott COP28 to Preserve Integrity of EU Environmental Committee

Honourable Cindy FRANSSEN 

Substitute PPE Belgium,

European Parliament Committee on the Environment,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to urgently address a matter of utmost importance concerning the upcoming COP28, the United Nations climate summit. Recent developments have raised serious concerns about the integrity and reputation of the conference, prompting us to urge the European Parliament Committee on the Environment to take immediate action.

The European Union has long been at the forefront of global efforts to combat climate change and protect our environment. European environment policy rests on the principles of precaution, prevention and rectifying pollution at source, and on the ‘polluter pays’ principle that is the foundation of Loss And Damage fund. However, the appointment of an individual with a questionable environmental track record, supported by an autocratic ruler, has cast doubt on the effectiveness and legitimacy of COP28. As a significant player in protecting the environment, the European Union bears a great responsibility to ensure that its actions consistently align with its commitment to environmental stewardship and upholding the highest standards of responsibility. Given the pivotal role the EU plays in environmental protection, it is paramount for us to maintain the integrity of our efforts and remain true to our principles. 

Therefore, we firmly believe that the European Union should not participate in COP28 and instead boycott the conference. By doing so, we can protect the credibility of the EU and safeguard the progress we have made in global Stocktake in climate action. We also urge the European Union to call upon its partners, stakeholders, and citizens to join us in this boycott, as it aligns with our principles of integrity and promotes environmental responsibility.

The concerns raised by hundreds of environmental organizations cannot be ignored. Another significant concern is that UAE likely bought the host rights for COP28 in exchange for bribing money to voting countries. Over 400 climate and environmental organizations have expressed their concerns to the UN Secretary-General, highlighting the potential impact of this appointment on the legitimacy and effectiveness of the summit. Participating in the upcoming conference would potentially undermine the EU’s environmental goals. Therefore, it is imperative for the European Union to make the decision to withdraw from the conference. By doing so, the EU can uphold its steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability and ensure that its actions remain in alignment with its long-term objectives.

Moreover, human rights concerns in the UAE, the host country, pose a risk to the success of COP28. The absence of civil society, restrictions on freedom of expression, and the lack of fundamental rights such as freedom of association and peaceful assembly are deeply troubling. Upholding these rights is essential for the success of any conference, yet they are noticeably suppressed within the UAE. The European Union is based on a strong commitment to promoting and protecting human rights. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees human rights. Participating in COP28 under such circumstances would compromise our principles and values as the European Union.

Additionally, a unified call from lawmakers in both the United States and the European Union demands the removal of Dr Sultan Al Jaber, oil CEO from his position as the head of the crucial climate summit. This call reflects our shared understanding that the outcome of COP28 holds immense significance for the fate of billions and the balance between chaos and solidarity. By withdrawing from COP28, the European Union can uphold its commitment to the planet and the people it represents.

Lastly, recent discoveries have exposed the UAE’s employment of questionable practices to improve its image leading up to COP28. Breaching confidentiality, boosting PR and lobbying efforts, engaging in ‘greenwashing,’ and utilizing phony social media identities raise serious concerns about the integrity and future development of the conference. As a staunch advocate for transparency and accountability, the European Union cannot endorse a conference hosted under such circumstances. Our withdrawal will send a strong message against these malafide practices and protect the integrity of our environmental commitments.

It is crucial for the European Union to take a decisive stand and withdraw from COP28. By doing so, we can maintain our reputation as a champion of environmental responsibility, human rights, and integrity. I kindly request your urgent attention and action on this matter.

Thank you for your understanding and commitment to addressing the climate crisis. We look forward to your swift response and the necessary steps to uphold our values.

Yours sincerely,

Global Concerned Citizens

Boycott COP28