Climate IMC: Warsaw COP19 Climate Negotiations

Civil Society stages mass walkout protest from Warsaw Climate change negotiations

 

System Change not climate change banner in Warsaw
System Change not climate change banner in Warsaw


Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.

Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan  have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit 

Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate Crisis
Analysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement



Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe commented: "Big polluters were welcomed with open arms and the negotiations are driven by corporate interests. There is no room for people or planet. The Polish presidency's short-sighted coal-driven policy marks these talks out as one of the dirtiest yet."

International Trade Union Confederation joins the protest

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC, released a statement saying that at a time when climate science was warning of devastating impacts, democratic leaders have failed us in these negotiations. The ITUC observers walked in protest with the other NGOs.

”We have been shocked by some of the wealthiest nations including Canada and Australia showing a lack of responsibility for ambitious targets and with almost all developed nations failing to commit vital finance and even questioning the need for ’just transition’ measures for the world’s workers and their families.

“Trade unions remain optimistic on the capacity of social dialogue to ensure that Japan returns to the negotiations next year in Lima, Peru, with renewed ambition and leadership.

“The corporate dominance which is on show here is unacceptable. It is the same companies that advocate environmental and social responsibility that exploit workers and the environment through their supply chains.

“The ITUC will now mobilise workers around the world to ensure that democratic governments are held accountable for jobs, rights and the vital investment in transformational technologies in all sectors to ensure full employment and decent work,” said Sharan Burrow.

 

Offical statement

 

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

Visit RTCC report of the walkout. RTCC interviewed Hoda Baraka, Global Comunications Coordinator, 350.org (Youtube)


Current Status of COP19 Negotiations

In a media briefing in Warsaw by Climate Action Network International on Thursday 21 November 2013, Liz Gallagher from E3G.org gave an update on negotiations in the Adhoc working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), which is the main negotiating track.

"So yesterday in the ADP we had a new text out. The text has been changed in both substance and structure, and the substance has been somewhat weakened and that is what I'm here to talk about.

In particular I want to talk about the 2014 deadline. NGOs from CAN are pushing very hard to have the 2014 as the deadline when countries should develop their offers and it is still not strong enough in the text. This is primarily because it is being used as leaverage by other countries which want to get more progress on finance.

I also want to explain why 2015 is so important. For those of you unfortunate to remember Copenhagen you will remember what happened in the final few days in the Bella Centre. I think we want to learn the lessons from Copenhagen. A few months before Copenhagen countries came out with their offers. and so there was very little time to do any discussion or preparatory work on what those offers meant. Many thought these offers weren't final, they thought that countries could go further and faster. That was not the case.

Because we had very little time to discuss these offers in the run up to Copenhagen, we didn't really understand what they meant for economic reform, for economic transformation to decarbonize.

Just talking about targets is not enough. We need to really get to grips with what these targets mean for the real economy. What they mean for our energy systems, what they mean for our transportation systems. If we don't have an understanding of that, we won't be able to know where the flexibility is, to increase ambition. But also where sunergies can be made between countries and how you can enhance ambition that way. Understanding and empathising with countries positioning and really understanding from where they are coming from and what they can do in their real economy is going to be key to success in 2015. It is key to successful climate diplomacy strategy to know what the other country can do, where it's flexibility is and what you have to do to enhance that.

I really want to make that clear that this is why we are pushing for 2015, well in advance of the 2015 final deadline because 2014 is going to be critical in order to have a successful agreement in Paris.

The second thing I want to talk to you about is finance. For those of you who were watching the screens yesterday you will see that some good news announced. We had a series of announcements over the past week, but in particular yesterday from the UK, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany and Japan.

Generally there was more money on the table for adaptation and some promises to put money into the GCF when it is fully operationalized. While this was good news, I would argue that we can't continue like this. Annual pledging is far from ideal. Organisations such as the World Bank have ten year replenishment meetings whereby countries come forward and put in for the next ten years. This idea about guarantee and predictability re finance is really really important if countries are able to plan and prepare projects on the ground.

In 2009 Hilary Clinton came to Copenhagen and talked about promising $100 billion of climate finance by 2020. Four years on we are still waiting. There is quite a lot of concern amoung civil society that this will be used as a bargaining chip in the final negotiations.

In particular, the US, Australia and Japan are being quite problematic in trying to develop this idea about guaranteeing and predictability of finance of $100 billion and we feel that others - developed countries - are in the comfort zone and quite happy to have a lack of clarity on how they will meet the $100 billion.

So we really need a roadmap to getting the $100 billion and we need more progess on the 2015 timelines. If we don't have progress on the roadmap to $100 billion we really are jeopardising the Paris agreement cause it is key to securing a more ambitious outcome."

There were several media questions. One of note came from a Canadian Media Co-op reporter who asked: What is the status that makes 2015 not another Copenhagen?

Liz Gallagher responded:

"There is a series of things that need to come out of here which will give confidence to the 2015 agreement. One of those is this deadline and this idea that 2014 is the moment. We have the Ban Ki Moon summit, we have the whole range of different meetings, we have the Bonn ministerial. This is the time when countries need to be coming up with their offers.

Obviously finance which I have just outlined is a key to unlocking the progress on the 2015 outcome because many countries are using the 2015 progess as a leaverage point in order to get more finance.

The other issue is pre-2020 ambition. This is ambition before the 2015 agreement comes into force and the discussions there are pretty fragmented. Some countries think it should just be around the Kyoto Protocal parties, the Kyoto Protocol parties want it to be all countries that enhance their ambition. There is a whole kind of range of different issues, and there is the issue about HFCs. It is quite a fragmented process at the moment and it is still not exactly clear how it is going to play out.

Those three elements, the pre-2020 ambition, the finance, and then the overalll 2020 agreement are all... there is going to have to be balance between them as everyone is playing them off against each other."


Sources:

add a comment on this article

this is so bad

Sofia Lucifairy (Sofia Koutsouveli) 08.Jul.2014 11:57

This is really serious situation, all of us, the anti-globalization activists, must act and do something... we can't just do nothing, can we?