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Fossil fuels in tropical forests: corporate impunity, pollution and unextractable resources

Short title: Fossil fuels in tropical forests

Chairs: Martí Orta Martínez, Cristina O'Callaghan, Pedro Mayor, Gorka Muñoa

Contact: marti.orta@ub.edu

Tropical rainforests have an essential role in mitigating the increasing negative effects of the climate crisis. In addition, they sustain half of world’s species and directly provide home and resources for millions of indigenous people. Besides, tropical rainforests indirectly shape the basic foundation for human welfare worldwide. Yet, despite the common interest in preserving these ecosystems, tropical rainforests are being increasingly affected by the expansion of fossil fuel projects that seek to exploit their resource wealth. Numerous scientific publications point to negligent practices and poor maintenance of infrastructure by the fossil fuel industry. This situation happens in a context of already low environmental standards and weak public systems of environmental control and accountability, which results in the release of pollution and the impunity of fossil fuels corporations. In this context, this session wants to provide a space to researchers to present results on the effects (e.g., water pollution) of extractive industries on ecosystems and human populations, as well as spurring discussions on the role of corporate impunity and the mechanisms of accountability existing in highly biodiverse areas with weak state governance. Furthermore, the session wants to bring in discussions over the role of fossil fuels phase down in areas with outstanding social and ecological values (unburnable fuels) following the paradigmatic case of the Yasuní in Ecuador. The session will be open to the discussion of criteria and the operazionalisation of a methodology to select exclusion fossil fuel extraction areas.

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