NGOs, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS WALK OUT OF WARSAW TALKS

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21 november 2013

[The following press release reaches us today from Warsaw, where the inaction of the governments participating in the UN climate conference, after repeated evidence that warming-related extreme weather is already severely damaging the poorer countries of the world (the Philippines!) elicited major walk-outs of developing countries and NGOs.]

MEDIA STATEMENT

For immediate release – 21 November 2013

NGOs, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS WALK OUT OF WARSAW TALKS



Enough is enough.

We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.

The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.

The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens - with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.

This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 – on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.

We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, rich country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.

Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more to realize this vision.

Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.


ORGANISATIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STATEMENT:


Aksyon Klima Pilipinas

ActionAid

Bolivian Platform on Climate Change

Construyendo Puentes (Latin America)

Friends of the Earth (Europe)

Greenpeace

Ibon International

International Trade Union Confederation

LDC Watch

Oxfam International

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change (Philippines)

WWF

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, please contact:

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas

Denise M. Fontanilla - aksyonklima.sec@gmail.com

ActionAid

Brandon Wu, Email: Brandon.Wu@actionaid.org, mobile: +1 202-730-5974

Bolivian Platform on Climate Change

Martin Vilela martinvilela.uma@gmail.com

Construyendo Puentes (Latin America)

Martin Vilela martinvilela.uma@gmail.com

Friends of the Earth (Europe)

Asad Rehman, email: asad.rehman@foe.co.uk, Mobile: +48 733 412 897 (Warsaw)

Samuel Fleet, Samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org, Mobile: +48 537 884 902 (Warsaw)

Greenpeace

Martin Kaiser, email: martin.kaiser@greenpeace.de, mobile: +49 171 878 0817

Ibon International

Tetet Lauron

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[In reaction to the NGO walkout, the Union of Concerned Scientists, which stayed at the meetings, issued the following statement, which 4C also received via the CAN-talk email list:]

"SOME NGOs WALK OUT OF WARSAW CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

"STATEMENT BY ALDEN MEYER, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

"WARSAW (November 21, 2013) � Today, on the second to last day of the U.N. climate meeting in Warsaw, Poland, members of a number of non-governmental organizations walked out of the negotiations in a peaceful mass demonstration to convey their anger and frustration with the process.

"Below is a statement from Alden Meyer, director of strategy & policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

"To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to see much greater action by the nations of the world to reduce carbon pollution. There is deep and widespread frustration here in Warsaw about the clear lack of political will needed to address the climate crisis.

"Some members of civil society have today chosen to voluntarily withdraw from this meeting in protest against the lack of sufficient action. While my colleagues and I at UCS respect their decision and share their frustration, we have chosen to stay inside the building to continue to fight for as much progress as can be made over the last hours of these negotiations in Warsaw.

"There is still much to play for, including creating a new mechanism on loss and damage, laying out a roadmap towards negotiation of the 2015 climate action deal, and defining a clear process and deadline for developed countries to indicate how they will ramp up climate finance towards the $100 billion a year by 2020 they pledged four years ago in Copenhagen. As long as negotiators are at the table, we will be there as well. In particular, we will be pressing the US delegation to contribute to resolving disagreements on these and other issues.

"Let us be clear: this is the only international process we have for addressing climate change where all countries have a voice. If we are to address climate change as an international community, the way forward will be hammered out at these climate talks over the next two years. No one should misinterpret today's walk-out as an indication that this process is 'broken.' It's not. But it requires the world's governments to summon the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel polluters and take the actions needed to protect their citizens."


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