Climate Change Conferences Have Secret Sexual Harassment History, Environmental Lawyer Claims

Were international climate change conferences polluted, as it were, by Harvey Weinstein-type behavior from male officials who sexually harassed female delegates and staffers? A longtime environmental lawyer claims that she herself was sexually harassed by a diplomat when she was younger and is calling for other victims to come forward.

Beyond telling our stories, we need to create a safer environment for young women — and men — to participate and thrive in international negotiations,” Farhana Yamin wrote in a “Me Too” essay published by Climate Home News.

Although global warming conferences are still male dominated, through the efforts of Yamin and others, there is apparently more gender balance and more women in leadership positions on various committees. Past conferences, however, consisted of a “toxic background of harassment, discrimination and risk of reprisals for speaking up,” that discouraged women concerned about their career prospects from lodging sexual harassment complaints, she asserted.

As alluded to above, climate change negotiations have a legacy of sexual harassment, she implied.

“I’ve been privy to many unaired and hushed conversations over the last three decades of my life as a climate change lawyer and know for a fact that many incidents have been brushed under the carpet. I too have kept quiet about my share of painful experiences, especially as a young woman….”

The extent of the alleged misconduct today could be unknown because allegations may still be kept under wraps, Yamin, 52, suggested.

“We have no idea how many sexual harassment and abuse cases are happening now and whether it’s more or less than before. Because apart from informal whisper networks that keep women safe, it largely goes unreported.”

Even though working conditions appear to have improved, the author also claims that women are still trivialized and subject to everyday sexism in connection with their participation in climate change conferences.

According to The Daily Caller, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which is meeting this week in Bonn, Germany, is encouraging both men and women to disclose harassment incidents in which they have been victimized or abused. A follow-up report by Climate House News indicates that U.N. climate change officials have now implemented a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment as well as a procedure for reporting such incidents.

As the Inquisitr reported back in 2015, Rajendra Pachauri, the-then chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment.

Separately and unrelated to the above, President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that the U.S. would exit the Paris Climate Change Agreement for economic reasons, but at the same time, he indicated a willingness to renegotiate a new deal that, in his view, is fairer to the American worker and the taxpayer.

[Featured Image by Bilanol/Shutterstock]