The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), has called on the Government to adopt the newly launched report “The Big Con” as it develops plans aimed at addressing the climate crisis in Ghana.

The Big Con Report was released during the virtual discussions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The report explained among others how “Big Polluters” were advancing a “net-zero” climate agenda to delay, deceive, and deny corporations and governments to build on a growing body of research that calls the integrity of the “net zero” as a political goal into serious question.

“As more and more ‘net-zero’ plans have been rolled out, the scientific, academic and activist communities have all raised grave concerns about the inability of these plans to achieve the commitments of the Paris Agreement and keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degree Celsius.”

The VALD made the call in a petition presented to the Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, on Monday, June 28, 2021, titled: “Stand with us against Big Polluters.”

It said: “The world is waking up to the fact that the fossil fuel industry knowingly jeopardizes the safety and security of millions of people around the world for their own parochial and short term interests.

“It is an industry composed of the world’s largest and richest companies who rake in profits while the poorest and most vulnerable communities reel from super typhoons and droughts made worse by climate change and suffer from loss of lives and livelihoods in a world degraded by the impacts.”

The VALD stated that increasingly the concept of “net-zero” was being misconstrued in political spaces as well as by individual actors to evade action and avoid responsibility.

“The idea behind Big Polluters’ use of ‘net-zero’ is that an entity can continue to pollute as usual or even increase its emissions and seek to compensate for those emissions in a number of ways.”

“These schemes were being used to mask inaction, foist the burden of emissions cuts and pollution and bet the collective future of the citizenry through ensuring long-term, destructive impact on land and forests, oceans, and advancing geoengineering technologies,” it said.

The VALD said it was time for decision-makers to prioritise people over polluters and that the Government should reject “net-zero” scam and big polluters’ and their false solutions, to protect and save the environment for the present and future generations while encouraging other governments to do the same.

“Communities across the African continent, on the frontlines of the climate crisis, are demanding real action and an end to Shell’s and other polluter’s green-washing and abuses. They must be held accountable for climate crimes.

We cannot afford to fall for the same tricks that Shell and the rest of the fossil fuel industry have been playing for decades with their deceptive green-washing schemes, which is now taking the shape of their meaningless ‘net zero’ climate pledges.”

“Protect the rights of local communities, Indigenous peoples, peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, nomadic and rural peoples, and women as stewards of nature.

Shift the costs of climate change from people and communities to the entities responsible for both global greenhouse gas emissions and the intentional deceit that has inexcusably delayed climate action. Help communities fund a just transition that protects workers’ rights and livelihoods,” the VALD said.

The VALD stated: “Honorable Minister, by holding polluting industries liable, we can end their abuses, unlock the finance needed to advance real solutions, and justly address the climate crisis as stipulated in the “Liability Roadmap.”

It said with the emergence of oil fields in some part of Ghana, it behooved on the nation to begin to follow and adhere to global best practices to ensure the protection of the present and future generations from the devastating effects of big polluters.

“We are by this petition urging the government to ensure public health is placed above profit.”