One day before the official conclusion of the Warsaw UN climate conference this week, hundreds of climate activists from trade unions, social movements and environment and development groups – including Friends of the Earth Scotland – walked out of the talks in protest at the lack of progress on key issues.
Groups withdrawing their delegates from the conference included Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF, Action Aid, the International ITUC, 350.org, Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Jubilee South (APMDD) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. Together they represent millions of people demanding action on climate change.
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, who was in Warsaw for the talks, said: “The lack of urgency in these talks in Warsaw has been so monumental that we were left with no option but to walk out in protest. Most of the key governments are still a world away from taking serious action to prevent climate catastrophe.
“Against the backdrop of the devastation caused by Super-Typhoon Haiyan, we have seen Australia, Canada and Japan giving up on previous climate commitments and blocking progress on issues of key concern to developing countries. This conference has been sponsored by fracking companies and airlines, and the Polish Government ran a major coal conference at the same time. The Polish Government have shown their contempt for the process by demoting their Environment Minister, the chair of the conference, just as ministers from other countries were arriving.
“The UN process is the right place to address the climate crisis, but countries have to come willing to make real progress. Warsaw should have laid strong foundations for setting new targets in Paris in 2015, but negotiators here are failing to agree on any of the steps needed to get there.
“The people represented by our groups will be looking for nations to set aside vested interests in fossil fuels and work much harder to agree key issues over the next year in the run up to the conference in Lima and particularly on the way to agreeing new targets in Paris the year after.”
The global network of Friends of the Earth groups was looking for good progress on issues including equity – how we fairly divide future climate targets between nations – loss and damage – how we help those who are already suffering from the effects of climate change, including disasters like Typhoon Haiyan and phasing out fossil fuels and nuclear power and developing more community-owned renewable energy.