COP28 is looming and we can all hope again there will be binding targets and timescales on all nations to halt the rise in emissions that is driving the climate catastrophe and biodiversity collapse.

Such targets are needed in our governmental action plans, but this hasn't happened yet despite the 2015 Paris agreement.

It looks even less likely this year as Big Oil, who were covert influencers in Glasgow, will now be overtly chairing COP itself in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 later this year.

There's a little-known entity called IPIECA, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association International. Set up at the behest of the United Nations, in the City of London, it is busy greenwashing the activities of the fossil fuel giants who allocate a tiny percentage of their massive profits to activities they attempt to present as showing them to be environmentally friendly, while their actions carry right on destroying life with fire, famine, floods, droughts and war that will drive billions of humans from their homes.

Ham & High: Dorothea Hackman says the IPIECA is greenwashing the activities of fossil fuel giants Dorothea Hackman says the IPIECA is greenwashing the activities of fossil fuel giants (Image: Archant)

IPIECA was outed at a protest on September 7 this year, with demonstrators including from Global Justice Now and Debt for Climate calling for a neutral chair for COP28, not the CEO of a big oil company. Greenwashing is quite simply death for millions and we need to recognise it for what it is.

It's a strange week where on the one hand after issuing 100 new North Sea oil licences, which Labour doesn't undertake to revoke, the PM reneges on the UK targets for reducing the rate at which emissions are increasing.

This is weirdly called "net zero" although the targets for 2030, now 2035, were never enough to avert the impending catastrophe. We would need to reverse emissions by right this minute stopping burning all fossil fuel to reach net zero. However the protesters are modestly asking for no NEW fossil fuel.

And on the other hand, national treasure Chris Packham pleading again with us to heed the facts about famine, fire, flood, drought and war devastating humanity and the whole ecosystem, is driven to contemplating breaking the law - that would be civil disobedience - to bring government attention to the crisis.

As the scientists themselves say, the problems are greed and apathy. 

If we had started 30 years ago we could probably have coped with rising temperatures and biodiversity collapse. Greenwashing is how the vested interests seek to disguise their avarice.

  • Dorothea Hackman is chair of Camden Civic Society.