This week, we joined the worldwide celebrations of Earth Day.
Even as we struggle to prevent the worst impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to mark the day of our planet – not only because it is our home, but also because we cannot ignore the need for urgent solutions to protect the environment and the lives that depend on it.
This year’s Earth Day theme was climate action. Our minds may not often make the connection between climate action and corruption, but the two are unfortunately deeply interlinked.
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From the abuse of natural resources to undue influence by powerful private interest, corruption exacerbates the catastrophic consequences of global heating.
While the climate crisis impacts everyone on the planet, some countries are particularly vulnerable. Many of them simultaneously struggle with high levels of public sector corruption.
But even where politicians are not getting their hands dirty, fossil fuel and other industries spend billions to mislead the public and our elected representatives through climate-related branding and lobbying. This weakens climate legislation and prevents effective climate action altogether.
Over the next years, billions of dollars will have to be spent on climate adaptation and mitigation measures like renewable energy, sustainable transport, flood defences and much more. We cannot afford to lose that money to corruption.
To really turn things around, we need to make sure climate funds reach those who need them and free global climate policy from undue influence.
At Transparency International, we are focusing our efforts on the monitoring of climate funds. In Mexico, for example, our colleagues have developed an interactive online map of climate finance flows in the country. Where they detect a risk of mismanagement or corruption, they highlight the problem and call for reforms.
We also work towards ensuring that locals have a voice and a redress mechanism. Many of our chapters around the world continue to register complaints from affected locals.
The world was unprepared when the COVID-19 crisis hit. But we still have time to prevent further devastating impacts of the ongoing climate crisis.
What do you think? Let us know @anticorruption.