From the TUC

Warsaw diary #4: Unions and NGOs walk out of UN climate talks

21 Nov 2013, by in Environment

UN Walk

COP 19 logoInternational unions today joined Greenpeace, WWF, ActionAid, FoE, Oxfam, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas and many NGOs  in a mass walkout of the UN’s climate conference, Warsaw. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said, “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.”

Actions of many rich countries here are directly undermining the UN climate convention itself. Government bad faith prevails. Prime Minister Cameron apparently wanting to “get rid of the green crap”, is in the grain and language of Australia  and Canada junking their carbon policies. There’s no sign of the promised $100bn of climate finance for developing nations.

Typhoon Haiyan’s devastating message from the future has been ignored.

The joint statement:

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 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.

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 started off on the wrong foot, with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction, corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue, and a Presidency that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. Things only got worse during the first week, when Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on mitigation commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously.

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 substance. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions or support for adaptation before 2020 – and on many of 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, developed country governments have come with nothing to offer. Developing country governments are also failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott posted a video to mark the opening of the 44th parliament, saying the ‘adults are back in charge’, as he seeks to abolish the carbon tax.

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 not to further engage in the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now going back to mobilize 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.

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.

Signatories:

  • 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