Friends of the Earth U.S. statement on COP19 Warsaw walkout
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A day before the conclusion of the UN climate conference in Warsaw, Poland, hundreds of climate activists from all continents — representing social movements, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, including Friends of the Earth International — have walked out of the talks in protest. Friends of the Earth U.S. stands in full solidarity with them and the millions of people they represent demanding real climate action. The lack of action by developed countries — the U.S. chief among them — in confronting the climate crisis was so monumental that they were left with no other option.
The governments of developed countries, which are deep in the pockets of corporate polluters, have prevented even minimal progress at the negotiations. Indeed, Poland actually used its platform as host of the world’s most important annual climate change meeting to showcase the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, by hosting an International Coal and Climate Summit alongside it.
Countries like the U.S., Australia, Japan and Canada have done next to nothing to cut emissions or provide real finance to tackle climate change. Rather, they are abdicating their responsibility towards climate change and attempting to dismantle the UN Climate Convention’s framework for equitable, binding reductions of greenhouse gas emissions — without which we have no chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
As Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has made all too clear, the world is on a precipice. From flooding to hurricanes to droughts and food shortages, the impacts of climate change are becoming more frequent and devastating by the day. While communities around the world, especially those in poor countries, are paying with their livelihoods and lives, and the risk of runaway climate change draws closer, our governments are driving forward the same failed policies that have caused the crisis.
As it now stands, climate devastation will be part of President Obama’s legacy, unless he chooses to change course. He can start by rejecting the dirty Keystone XL pipeline, and getting behind an international climate agreement that is in line with what science, equity and justice demand.