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Open Translation

NAIROBI: The third session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, or INC-3, ended without any concrete language or decisions on combatting plastic pollution.

The delegates couldn’t even agree on what to do prior to the next meeting in April 2024.

Observers noted fossil fuel lobbyists blocked any attempt to reach any agreement. An analysis of industry representation at INC-3 from the Center for International Environmental Law found that the 143 corporate lobbyists outnumbered the combined delegations from 70 countries, and far surpassed the 38 scientists attending as part of a scientists’ coalition.

“This negotiation session has been beyond frustrating,” said David Derrick, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an INC-3 observer. “Hundreds of representatives from all over the world argued tirelessly all week, trying to protect the earth and human health from plastic pollution. But fossil fuel interests blocked those efforts, stalling progress on the plastic crisis.”

At the treaty’s preparatory session, the government of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a “like-minded” coalition. Iran also named the Russian Federation, China, Bahrain, Cuba and “many more” as members.

According analysis by the CBD, corporations attending the treaty talks have spent over US$85 million on lobbying and political contributions in the 2022 U.S. election cycle. Top of the list was the American Chemistry Council with US $19.8 million.

INC-3 attendees also included representatives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dow, Inc., the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the International Council of Beverage Associations.

“The only way to curb our catastrophic plastic pollution problem is to cut plastic production, but the industry is spending big to block action at every level to protect their profits,” continued Derrick. “These companies came to Nairobi to make sure the world doesn’t get strong protections against the plastic havoc they’ve been wreaking. We knew that industry had way too much influence over the global plastics treaty as well as our political system at home, but these dollar amounts highlight how far petrochemical and consumer goods companies will go to keep polluting.”

The CBD is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/
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