As Climate Talks Begin, People’s Demand Turn the Heat on Governments

Dec 7 2018 - 4:58pm
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United Nations headquarters

By Daniels Ekugo

A global coalition of more than 220 organizations has issued a series of demands to world governments as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) begins in Katowice, Poland.

The demands, endorsed by nearly 200,000 people from 128 countries, will be the bar against which progress is measured in Poland. The coalition will hold a side event December 5, a press briefing and a series of actions to turn pressure up on governments. The coalition demands among others, that governments’ Keep fossil fuels in the ground; Reject false solutions that are displacing real, people-first solutions to the climate crisis; and Advance real solutions that are just, feasible, and essential. Others are that they Honor climate finance obligations to developing countries; End corporate interference in and capture of the climate talks; and Ensure developed countries honor their “Fair Shares” for largely fueling this crisis.

In a statement released by Corporate Accountability, Executive Director Patti Lynn called for world governments to look beyond the obstruction of Global North countries and act with urgency to address climate change.

“When the future of humanity undeniably hangs in the balance, we need serious solutions from serious leaders, not dangerous schemes and political tricks aimed to keep Big Polluters polluting.”

Friends of the Earth International also today (December 3) launched People Power Now: An Energy Manifesto – 10 demands for a just energy transformation which it said, provided a pathway to a new, clean energy future for all, that contributes to keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

It said inaction by successive governments at the UN and among national governments has left a narrow and shrinking window for action, warning that there is deep frustration with the endless talking shop where polluters freely influence the debate and rich countries block the radical action needed for fossil fuel phase out in the North and finance for the South.

Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Program Coordinator for Friends of the Earth International, said:

This year was supposed to be a major year for the climate – pledges made in Paris three years ago were to be ratcheted up to meet the need for early and steep emission cuts. Thanks to a weakened Talanoa Dialogue, climate ambitions are severely threatened, in addition to the dismantling of equity and the egregious fact that fossil fuel companies are sponsoring the Conference. We need a just transition away from fossil fuels and dirty energy to a just, clean, peoples’ energy system. We need to push for gender justice and for a world free from oppression and inequality.’

“Big Polluters and their allies must not be allowed to meddle to determine the outcomes of the talks. Now is the time for leaders from Africa and nations already feeling the impacts of climate change to kick the industry out and advance real solutions”, said Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).

Even with the final details being worked out, governments and civil society groups are bracing for an all out onslaught from fossil fuel industry-backed trade groups. High on their list will be negotiations on Article 6 or market-based mechanisms where groups like the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) have long interfered and captured the process. At COP23 it was revealed that an IETA board member was leading those talks and sat on a country delegation. We will monitor these negotiations closely for evidence of such interference.

Information about COP24 has been sparse and intel on corporate sponsors is no exception. But the COP presidency has announced its first sponsor, Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa (JSW), a majority Polish state-owned coal corporation. JSW is the European Union’s largest coking coal producer. Past COPs have also featured high profile fossil fuel and emissions-intensive industry sponsors

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