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Activists Stage Paris Sit-In to Protest Role of Corporate Polluters in Climate Talks

StoryDecember 04, 2015
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Despite restrictions on protests following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people, activists attempted to stage a mass sit-in at the Grand Palais in Paris today to protest corporate sponsors pushing for so-called solutions to climate change that include genetically modified foods, privatized water and biofuels. We get an update from Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up today’s broadcast in the streets, we’re inside a highly fortified U.N. climate summit. But right now we’re going to turn to the issue of corporate sponsorship here at the COP21. Today there was a mass sit-in at the Grand Palais in Paris, the Grand Palace, to protest corporate sponsors pushing for so-called solutions to climate change that include genetically modified foods, privatized water and biofuels. We’re going to see if we can make this connection by cellphone on the streets of Paris with Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory. We thought at first you were arrested, but it looks like the sit-in is just taking place right now. Pascoe, why are you there?

PASCOE SABIDO: We’re here because the Grand Palais at the moment is giving a huge platform to some of the most polluting companies in the world, such as Engie, formerly GDF Suez, and we’re not accepting this. These companies are having a huge impact not just on the climate, but on local environments and our communities. So we’re here to call them out, to reveal this greenwashing, and to really speak truth to power.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you, Pascoe, for being with us. Why did you choose the Grand Palace on the Champs-Élysées?

PASCOE SABIDO: Well, of course, it’s an incredibly historic monument. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Paris, I think. But they’re opening their doors to the likes of Engie, the likes of Avril Sofiprotéol, as you said, who are involved in GMOs and biofuels, who are destroying the lives of local farmers. We’ve got companies building airports. I mean, you name it, they’re in here. The biggest coal financiers are in here. And if they’re prepared to give this other platform to these companies, there’s no way we can still win.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Pascoe, we’re going to have to leave it there. I thank you for being with us. Of course, we’ll continue to cover this issue. Pascoe Sabido, researcher, campaigner for the Corporate Europe Observatory.

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