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Dec 30, 2008

Stop to the attack on Gaza

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 30, 2008 04:36 PM
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Friends of the Earth International statement on the current situation in Gaza.

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) joins its member organisation in Palestine and the Palestinian people to call on the Israeli government to immediately halt the attack on Gaza and the massacre of innocent people. As we write, over 390 Palestinians have been killed and close to 2000 have been wounded, including children and numerous civilians.


The attacks and destruction, which began on 27 December 2008 are an unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe.


These attacks have been indiscriminate and grossly disproportionate. Palestinian houses, universities, medical stores and mosques have been destroyed. The attacks have equally destroyed electricity and water supplies and have crippled other essential services already brought to there knees during the last two years, during which Palestinians in Gaza have been living under siege with food and fuel supplies being blocked and the healthcare system starved of basic medicine and equipment.


Friends of the Earth International denounces in strong terms all violent action and calls for an immediate ceasefire. We also demand the dismantling of the apartheid walls built across Palestinian territories as these have created major social, environmental and human rights abuses – making life extremely hazardous for the Palestinians and others.


We call for an immediate halt to this Israeli aggression against civilians in Gaza and an end to all violence against civilians on both sides. We also call for access to medical and food supplies in Gaza.


The ongoing destruction is a deep scar on the conscience of the world and cannot be allowed to continue.


We ask peoples across the world to unite in action for solidarity and peace, and call on all governments to bring pressure to bear for a just and lasting peace.


Take action

Join us in calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza - and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009. Sign the petition on the campaigning website


Find out more about Friends of the Earth Palestine's work

Dec 16, 2008

FoEI welcomes eight new members to the federation

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 16, 2008 03:10 PM

We are delighted to announce our new members and executive committee as voted in by our current members at this year's Biennial General Meeting in Honduras.

meena-nnimmoAt our Biennial General Meeting in Honduras this November the Palestinian Environmental NGO Network became a full member of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and eight new groups were admitted as associate members. A new chairperson and executive committee were also voted in.


Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON

PENGON is a network of 21 member organizations dealing with environmental issues such as; agriculture, water, health and sanitation, sustainable development, cultural heritage, human rights, pollution, wildlife, research and development. They are a welcome addition to the Friends of the Earth family.


Find out more about Friends of the Earth Palestine


associate members

We are also pleased to welcome the following eight new groups to the federation:


Liberia - find out more

Malawi - find out more

Mexico - find out more

Mozambique - find out more

Tanzania - find out more

Timor Leste - find out more

Sri Lanka - find out more

Uganda - find out more



Nnimmo Bassey the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria has been elected as the Chairperson.


In his acceptance speech to the members present in Honduras he highlighted the unique period in history we are in:


"We stand at the crossroads of history with the scaffoldings erected by capitalism and neo-liberalism collapsing like a pack of cards. No matter how many people live a lie, the lie remains a lie.


People may decide to live in the imaginations of their minds, but the truth is that sooner than later the reality knocks us back to concrete challenges. We stand at a crossroads, but we must take the right turn and FoEI is well positioned to take the lead in that march."


executive committee (Excom)

Finally, congratulations to the new and existing members of the ExCom who will guide the federation in the right direction over the next two years.


Karin Nansen - FoE Uruguay, Vice-Chairperson

Jagoda Munic - FoE Croatia, Treasurer

Meena Raman - FoE Malaysia

Mario Godinez - FoE Guatemala

Rizwana Hasan - FoE Bangladesh

Bobby Peek - FoE South Africa
Sarah Jayne Clifton - FoE England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Elizabeth Bast - FoE US


Photo: Meena Raman, the outgoing chairperson, stands alongside Nnimmo Bassey the incoming chairperson.

Dec 15, 2008

FoEI speech to the UN climate conference

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 15, 2008 12:50 PM
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At the end of the COP 14 negotiations in Poznan Friends of the Earth International were invited to give their verdict on the conference. Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth US spoke on behalf of the federation. This is what she said:

Friends of the Earth International came to Poznan hoping for progress. We had hoped industrialized countries would commit to steep emission reductions - without offset loopholes - and would announce their willingness to support developing country mitigation and adaptation actions.

However, we remain thoroughly disappointed with the outcomes of the talks thus far.

The distinct lack of achievement here in Poznan falls squarely on the shoulders of the rich industrialized Annex I countries who after 16 years, and despite the rhetoric we have heard about urgency, are still failing to take the climate crisis seriously and realize their obligations under the Convention.

Most Annex 1 countries have spent the majority of this precious negotiating time crafting get-out-clauses and offsetting schemes at the expense of genuine reductions.

These delaying tactics do not set an encouraging tone for the intense year of negotiations to come.  Here in Poznan, we have seen, yet again, the same obstructionist, business-as-usual approach of developed countries. 

Looking forward, we must not ignore the science and the reality of what needs to be done.

For any reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, Annex-1 countries must by February 2009 commit to at least 40% emission reductions by 2020.  But even this level of reduction may not be enough for many vulnerable nations, so why are we discussing anything less?

To achieve necessary emissions reductions globally, finance and clean technology must be urgently delivered to allow developing countries to make a just-transition towards low-carbon development.

Further, negotiations under REDD:

  • are failing to ensure the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities are genuinely protected,
  • are failing to distinguish monoculture tree plantations from natural forests,
  • are failing to recognize the biodiversity benefit of forests,
  • and are risking the privatisation of forests through market-based schemes.

We are not approaching a cliff; we are hanging dangerously over the edge.  We must see a radical shift in the focus of this process.

Anything less with be a failure for all people and the planet.

Dec 12, 2008

Pessimism, pessimism plus more pessimism..

by Carlos García-Robles — last modified Dec 12, 2008 06:35 PM
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After two weeks of early mornings and late nights was it all worth it? The businessmen probably think so.

algoreThis morning’s meeting was probably the last one. A lot of us have been disappointed about what has happened (or not happened) here at the COP. Even though it was somehow expected, we are still drained and depressed.


After the meeting, I went to sit in one of the multiple corners of the venue, and saw all these people walking from one place to another trying not to be late for the next (possibly) senseless meeting or negotiation.


Well, maybe for big business it’s not so senseless, they are definitely the big winners here, as they will keep on with their "business as usual" plus they will get some more profit from polluting with all these crazy offsetting mechanisms.


So expectations to reach an agreement here at Poznan are very low. As I see it, these negotiations are sold out to the people with fancy suits who got us in this mess in the first place. Will you allow them to keep making the COPs a series of international business meetings to see how they will take advantage of climate change as a business opportunity?  Ok, some of my colleagues from FoE tell me that not all businesses are bad, like wind and solar... But the problem is how businesses are structured and how they work, not what they sell.


As global civil society we should block this nonsense and make a call not to accept what’s going on here. I don’t understand why people can’t see the urgency of our situation, this is why it is so important to inform and empower!


I’m a little disappointed about the international youth group (not Young FoE - those guys are great), at first it was looking good, they were planning outrageous actions to wake the delegates up, but sadly some of those involved watered down the actions (just like some of the grown ups also at the UNFCCC), afraid they would loose their accreditation. BUT, there are some youth groups and young people that are not letting themselves be manipulated by the status quo, these are the true heroes and my respect goes out to them.


OK! I feel better now! No more pessimism. We need to keep on fighting for a fair and clean planet. You probably are thinking that I’m too pessimistic and that I’m not giving any positive thoughts on how we could fix this mess.. but that’s another post =)


PS: Poland is sooo much into 80s pop music!! you can hear it all over the place. Maybe there’s a historical reason why?





Dec 11, 2008

Wrap it up!

by HannahElvery — last modified Dec 11, 2008 09:00 PM
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Some cause for hope and excitement on another rainy day in Poznan.

globeThis morning was brightened up with a colourful, fantastic action by Young Friends of the Earth Europe.

They've spent months collecting almost 2000 messages on little squares of fabric from people in 30 countries.  After many arduous hours stitching them together into banners and ribbons the outcome was incredible. 


"Act now!  Wrap it up!  Act now!" was the message of the day, with a 2 meter globe being wrapped in a ribbon containing messages of hope and action, to inspire delegates and urge them to 'wrap up' the negotiations.

The individual messages were fantastic, covering everything from more wind power to demands for climate justice and more.  Quite a number in languages I didn't recognise either, which is always good to see (the dominance of the english language in the climate negotiations is appalling).

The great atmosphere and colours of the action meant that not only the ministers who had agreed to come showed up, but also someone from the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a Commissioner from.. well, not really sure where along with crowds of people peering through the windows at us.

The Ministers that came - from Norway, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany - were presented with a framed fabric message, and, there even appeared to be genuine excitement from some.

A good job at any rate.  The Young FoE Europe crew are fantastic and a force to be reckoned with.  I'm looking forward to seeing what they're involved in next - although there may not be much more opportunity for action before this climate meeting ends, there are rumours of interesting plans for 2009. If you want to keep an eye on them, or get involved, check out their blog here -

On a more serious note though, the negotiations are supposed to end today, and so far there isn't much to be hopeful about. The statements from Ministers started today, which really highlights what is important to different countries and gives an idea of what will come out of this. I spent so much of the day frowning I think I've given myself permanent creases between my eyebrows - and we still have a day of statements to go!

Nevertheless, I'll keep you posted (and try to keep a degree of hope - a necessity if you're going to be involved in this process).


Dec 10, 2008

Almost the end...

by HannahElvery — last modified Dec 10, 2008 05:00 PM
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The opposition from certain countries to resolutions is as depressing and predictable as the weather.

daygtosAs it gets closer to the end of two long weeks, many people I've been talking to are just ready to go home.  I'm sure part of it is due to the overcast, rather miserable weather but it's also because the texts that are set to come out of these negotiations are looking far too inadequate.

Yesterday, important wording around the recognition of Indigenous Peoples' and forest peoples' rights was removed from a text on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation(REDD) - a mechanism which I suppose was designed to protect forests, but in its current form can undermine land rights, encourage the conversion of forests to plantations, and reduce the value of forests to their carbon content... among other things.

We remain hopeful that we can get this wording back into the Draft Text, however it was a big blow to Indigenous Representatives here.  Actually, that's an understatement.  There was outrage, tears and anger, particularly at the four countries who opposed the text - Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand.  Not surprisingly, these are the same (only) four countries that voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.

Response came in the form of an impromptu protest, and campaigners raising it with several delegates from Indonesia, Australia, the US and more.  What impact this will have though is uncertain. With Indigenous Peoples having no official voice in the UNFCCC process, it may require a lot more yelling to get their rights recognised not just in the REDD but in all mechanisms which affect rights to land, food and livelihoods.

Yours in solidarity, hope and a hint of depression,




Photo: Daygots from the Oneida Indian Nation, New York, chanting "No Rights, No REDD".


Civil society against the world bank

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 10, 2008 12:00 AM
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Check out this video of the world bank demonstration in Poznan that Friends of the Earth International took part in.


Dec 09, 2008

No rest for the...

by Carlos García-Robles — last modified Dec 09, 2008 12:25 PM
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Too much nonsense in so little words

world-bank-bannerI had decided to take Monday off, but, guess what? Even though there are no formal negotiations today, I'm here at the conference attending all sorts of press conferences, side events and meetings. So much for taking it easy.


Here at the COP 14 most people are talking about CDMs, REDD, FCPF, LCA and..GEF. Hold on.. what!!?? No, I didn’t get it either. Uhh well, some of these things have to do with offsetting.. aha, yes ..well, this means for example that if I throw rubbish in my back yard, I can pay my poor neighbor some money so he doesn’t cut his grass so the wind can blow some of my rubbish in his backyard and then he keeps it there well hidden, because this would mean would mean... no I don’t know what it would mean!!


This is ridiculous, wouldn’t it be easier not to throw any trash at all? And in this case, stop emitting Co2??


To me it just sounds like legalized bribing to keep polluting so big business can keep making more profit and governments are letting this happen just because they are scared their economy will collapse. But then again, isn't this happening already??





youth, packages and action

by Georgie Burr — last modified Dec 09, 2008 12:15 PM
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Young Europeans show the EU the way forward

What a week it has been. I’ve observed various international meetings and side events, where the urgency of climate change is often stressed. Unfortunately, it seems countries and their delegates are not mirroring the seriousness of the situation with urgency of action.


As European youth, we decided that the EU needed a little prod in the right direction with their upcoming Climate and Energy package. If the EU announces a strong climate package, the whole negotiating machinery here would be massively boosted.


So, we made our own package, complete with emissions cuts of 40% by 2020 (all to come from inside the EU) and an adequate fund for developing countries for both adaptation and mitigation. We made this package in the conference centre to assorted media, international delegates and other youth accompanied by loud cheers, of course.


Click here to watch a video of our action.


In parallel we sent a letter to our MEP’s. In response we hope they'll be producing a strong climate and energy package asap.


It is easy to get caught up in all the politics of climate negotiations and forget the real reason for the conference taking place: potential climate catastrophe. It is inspiring to be with other youth who are not dispassionate about the situation. It’s a serious situation, time for urgent action.



Georgie is away. The equally young Bryn writes here.

Dec 07, 2008

Ready, get set...march!

by Carlos García-Robles — last modified Dec 07, 2008 05:00 PM

Despite a bit of police intimidation, Saturday's Climate Day of Action rally was all I'd hoped for and more.

poznan-bikesYEAAHH!! On the morning of the 6th I just couldn’t get up, not only because of this exhausting week - the party last night also had something to do with it. However, thinking that I was going to bike and march for the climate just pulled me out of bed.


After a good breakfast, we headed to the "castle" in downtown Poznan where at least 200 people were ready to send a strong message: if we as people from all over the world can get together to move around the city without emitting any Co2, why can’t everyone else?


Our Polish friends made arrangements so that everybody could have a non Co2 emitting two wheeler and they did it very well. We had a great ride.


A polish Santa was leading the group shouting climate change stuff in polish, while we were waving at the crowds gathering on the pavements. Everybody was smiling and having fun, plus it was the best way to get to know and feel the city.


And after the ride, the march! It was amazing. It looked more like a party than anything else, people were cheering, laughing, dancing, playing music and having fun. Some had all sorts of crazy outfits, banners and painted faces.

And yes, as always in these kind of demonstrations the police were all over, it was crazy, after the bike ride we saw this police guy with a tank of tear gas, guess where, in front of the MC...yes... pathetic.


The scene was amazing though, people gathering on the streets to fight for the climate were surrounded. Front and back there were police cars and police men following us all the way on the sides. The, almost, armoured horses were blocking the side  streets and a helicopter was following us all the way to the conference venue. 


There was so much positive energy and determination though, for most of the time, the police were merely a slight distraction.


At the end it all turned out well and people felt they had accomplished what they set out to do. We had this feeling that at last something had happened that was worth being happy about.

Now its Sunday morning and the Friends of the Earth International folks are having a very technical meeting reviewing all the outcomes of the week. I’m just sitting here trying to look smart and taking notes.


There's a lot of talk about the Climate Justice Now - a coalition Friends of the Earth of involved with - because of the great response there was to the march which they organised. Lots of groups had Climate Justice Now banners, especially the ones from the South. This movement could be a force to be reckoned with.


Thanx for reading!

Dec 06, 2008

International Day of Action

by HannahElvery — last modified Dec 06, 2008 10:20 PM

Today's day of action on climate change prompts a few questions about my own government's action... or lack thereof.

young-susanWhile the negotiations continued today, many frustrated with the lack of progress inside took to the streets for the International Day of Action on Climate Change.  With plenty of clowns, props and colourful actors it was a good way to let go and have a bit of fun outside the square buildings and fluorescent lights of the negotiating halls.

Being from 'Down under', the best entertainment for me today was watching a conversation between another young woman from Australia, who's here with Australian Youth Delegation, and a fake Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia.  Kevin Rudd was elected late last year, on promises of a change in climate policy, among other things.  He promptly ratified the Kyoto Protocol and then.... well, not much really.  Obviously this is important to me as a citizen of Australia, but the Rudd government's lack of movement also has an impact on the international negotiations.

Australia could have a positive influence in the negotiations.  To start with, Rudd could set strong emissions reductions targets for Australia - at least 40 percent by 2020, not the measly 5-15 percent that is floating around the pages of Australian newspapers. 


Rudd also needs to clearly state that these targets are not dependent on the actions of other countries, and that developing countries should not have binding emission reduction targets.  This would place at least some pressure on other wealthy nations to do the same, and maybe even lead to something coming out of these talks in Poznan.

At the moment, sadly, it looks like this is about as likely the FoE US woman sitting opposite me jumping up on the table and yelling "I love George Bush" (what I'm saying is that it's bordering on impossible, but there's still a chance, especially considering her level of sleep deprivation over the last week, and tendency to make outrageous comments).

Back to the conversation between the young woman and 'Kev' - with all of her questions, such as why he hasn't set a target, and Kev's lack of response, I had to poke him a few times to make sure he wasn't actually the real Kevin Rudd.

I just realised that I got a bit carried away (build up of frustration and caffeine), and haven't written at all about the International Day of Action.  However, a picture says a thousand words, so if you want to know about the actions in Poznan check out Friend of the Earth International's flickr page...

I hope you had your own fun-packed day of action on climate change.  If not, it's never too late to take action... so how about tomorrow?



Photo: Poznan, 6 December:  Polar bears with Susann Scherbarth from Friends of the Earth Europe, demanding action during the Poznan climate negotiations

Dec 05, 2008

Exhaustion sets in - already

by Carlos García-Robles — last modified Dec 05, 2008 06:25 PM
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Too much talk and, so far, no action.

glassesHello all!


AHHH I am exhausted and it is only the 4th day of negotiations at COP14! 


All this energy from so many people with so many diverse interests and concerns is overwhelming .. but you know, this makes me think that all of this movement, all these side events, workshops and negotiations and so on is like a smokescreen or a diversion from really engaging in real concrete action and just going directly to the point!!  


Yeah yeah I know.. it's "very complicated" but aren't all these people attending this conference just too busy keeping busy on so little? 


People! We have a deadline to try to save the planet! Scientist's have said repeatedly that if we,  (meaning we as all of us no matter from which country or region) do not stop emitting so much Co2 and other green house gases by  

RIGHT NOW!! we will reach the point of no return very soon. 


I don't want to apply scare tactics on you or anybody, I just would like to hear a country delegate say.. "ok my country will stop emitting hazardous gases to the atmosphere NOW! We will do it by changing our consumption patterns, our transportation habits and by the way, this will not be a problem for the people, will not increase hunger, unemployment...etc., etc..." 


Ok ok ok.... I'm being a little pessimistic. Yesterday some countries actually proposed some serious and provocative statements, like Gabon and Brazil. That was great! But these are just little baby steps compared to what needs to be done! And it has to be done now!


I sound repetitive, but yes, its all about the money and the power, and some people are ready to compromise the climate and the planet just to get them.


Not all hope is lost though. The amazing thing about these international conferences is the amount of amazing people from all over the world with a legitimate interest to stop climate change and start working together. This  

generates huge networks where information, projects, points of view and experiences are shared. This is where my hopes are. On the people. All Friends of the Earth's friends that are here are just giving it all to keep up. They are working with so much passion and are managing to spread the message that we need to speed up! We together as people can make a difference! Keep up the good work.





Dec 04, 2008

Escaping commitments?

by HannahElvery — last modified Dec 04, 2008 04:20 PM
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There's lots of talk about a 'shared vision' but some Annex 1 countries seem to have no vision when it comes to emissions targets and taking responsibility.

treeDay four and energy is picking up, despite the cold and dark, and the multitude of viruses that seem to be hitting the participants.  Perhaps it is the lack of natural light...  But inside the negotiating halls delegates and observers are pushing on whether they have tissues clamped to their noses or not.

Over the last few days, there have been working groups on shared vision, as part of a process called the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action.  I was interested in seeing the relationships between parties' positions, particularly as the Group of 77 plus China - a grouping of 132 countries which works as a block at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - have recently developed a strong position on climate and finance technology.  They seem to have quite a united front within the shared vision discussions. 

The process of re-discussing a shared vision however, seems to have a major flaw, as pointed out by a delegate from the Philippines at an event late Tuesday night. A shared vision already exists within the convention!  


Could it be that developed (or Annex 1) countries, are trying to use these discussions to reclassify states as Annex 1 or Non-Annex 1, and therefore push developing countries into accepting mandatory, legally binding emissions reductions targets?  This would be quite convenient, allowing developed countries to escape some of their commitments - most of which have gone entirely unfulfilled - and make countries that don't have a historical responsibility for emissions to accept compulsory emissions targets anyway.

I'm not saying that it's not important to have a shared vision.  Of course this is necessary in order for countries to work together, but isn't the shared vision rather obvious?  I always thought that we wanted to stop dangerous climate change - that is keeping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million CO2 equivalent.


For rich, developed countries this means drastically reducing their own emissions (accepting binding emissions targets), and supporting less financially and technologically capable countries to do the same, without forcing them to reach certain targets. 

The overarching global goal or vision, if it needs to be talked about again doesn't need nine hours of workshops plus more hours in smaller contact groups (more informal spaces where the real details of the negotiations are nutted out).


When it looks like many parties won't even reach their emissions reductions targets or finance and technology transfer promises, isn't it a bit premature to start talking about commitments from developing countries?

It seems that many developing countries are onto this tactic, however, and they won't stand for it.  The shared vision workshops may be over now, but there are still plenty of opportunities for 'developed' countries either to evade or actually live up to their commitments to emissions reductions... we'll keep you posted.


Dec 03, 2008

Clash of climate goals

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 03, 2008 01:05 PM
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There is a clash of climate goals over the 'shared vision' at the COP 14 between rich and poor countries.

Yipeee for youth

by Georgie Burr — last modified Dec 03, 2008 10:00 PM
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The grown ups are getting down with the youth and finding that, actually, we have some interesting things to say.



Today I came away from the conference thinking 'the European ministers are horrid' and 'young people here are by far those with the most sense'.


Sitting in various meetings I learnt that the European Union was last year (in Bali) seen to be leading the progressive approach. So as the EU start to finalise their 'energy package' other international parties will look to the package to act as a benchmark. And what a poor example they are setting, having reduced their carbon reduction commitment by almost half to 20% .


A year ago they also pronounced that they would give financial aid to to help developing countries adapt to climate change, which is logical considering that a lot of carbon emissions originated in Europe. Apparently this is not the case any more. Perhaps they have used all their money to bail out the banks?!


And so to the youth...


The first youth meeting I attended today was amazing! Unlike  the 'grown up' international parties, the youth have managed to join together despite cultural, political and religious differences to fight for a future without climate catastrophe!


A man from the UN food and agriculture department (FAO) told us today that they are hoping that young people will be recognised at next year's COP as an official delegation  because "we actually seem to care about what is decided". He is correct, its our future they decide in those talks! Perhaps the 'oldies' need to take a leaf from the young book.


The youth have lots of interesting actions planned (a few about the EU) which I will regale you with tales of soon!


Georgie :-)

Dec 02, 2008

Giant loophole in forest plans

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 02, 2008 01:02 PM

A loophole in proposed schemes to tackle deforestation was exposed at the UN climate talks today.

Welcome to Poznań - enjoy the honey

by Georgie Burr — last modified Dec 02, 2008 11:05 PM
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The long days in Poznań have even exhausted the Young Friends of the Earth delegation.

katehornerWell what a day...


A couple of us from Young Friends of the Earth Europe (YFoee is easier) were saying we feel like we've been run over by a talking lawnmower! Words and meetings since 8.15 am!


But the day does not end yet, we've still got more meetings and a European 'reception' to go to, where our policy team are hoping to snatch a word with some European delegates.


Everyone has been finding their feet today, getting to grips with the craziness of the place. First we entered through the airport style security and then got given a free goody bag. And an interesting goody bag this is...


One thing that I was particularly intrigued by was the pot of honey in a giant box. I thought maybe it would have a message about the plight of the bees, but it just had a poem about honey inside. The general vibe from most YFoee's was that this bag is a super lot of waste! But still I think a lot of us took one.


Another strange happening at a climate change conference is how hot it is in here (or maybe that isn't so strange?!) in one room the heaters were on full at the same time as the air conditioning!


But in good news today I have heard that the UK has agreed on a national target of a 34% carbon reduction (below 1990 levels) by 2020, regardless of what is decided internationally.  But they also said that if the Copenhagen agreement (to replace the current Kyoto Protocol) is a strong agreement, they will increase the percentage to 42%!  So although this has yet to be finalized it is the right direction.


Today I also went to the Friends of the Earth talk on some of the problems with REDD (a mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries). The talk was really interesting; there was a great question and answers session. Find out more about REDD here.


I best be off to the reception!


Georgie :-)


Photo: Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth US hosts the REDD discussion

Dec 01, 2008

COP 14 begins

by Carlos García-Robles — last modified Dec 01, 2008 12:00 AM
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It's day one and the friends of the earth team are energized, filled with warm words and on the lookout for fossils.

fossilHello all!

Right now there is a climate conference going on in Poznan, Poland. Actually it's the 14th conference of its kind and it is properly known as Conference of the Parties or COP 14. A bunch of FoEI members from all over the planet will try to post as much as possible so you all get the feel of what is going on down here in this amazing city.

OK Lets start! The weekend is over and already so much has been going on and we are already exhausted! The youth international group had their conference this weekend it's filled us up with so much energy! These guys are so well organized.


We were also inspired by the launch of a new coalition called Climate Justice Now. This could be the beginning of an international civil society climate movement and could be an amazing voice at the climate talks.


Something that made us laugh was the Climate Action Network's Fossil of the day Award given to countries who seem to be doing the least to combat climate change. Today Poland was the fossil!!


Friends of the Earth folks for the next couple of weeks will be focusing on emission reduction commitments by developed countries (or Annex I countries), conservation of forests (REDD) and finance technology and adaptation. But this blog will be also talking about other activities in and outside of the COP, including the highly active social movements.

COPs are just talk talk talk but the range of NGOs and civil society groups (particularly youth) who are here pushing for equitable and sustainable action on climate change gives inspiration and hope. The welcoming ceremony this morning gave us all plenty of warm fuzzies with statements such as "we are all children of mother earth" (Polish Environment Minister and President of COP14) and plenty of calls for real commitments despite the global financial crisis - which many countries are currently using as an excuse for evading climate action. Whether this talk actually translates into action is another matter entirely.

AHH, I almost forgot, at the welcoming ceremony governments, markets and business were mentioned as crucial to combat climate change but... what about people? People were the big absent actor as a factor of change.

Today's action: the car advertisement covering half of the front entrance to the COP venue disappeared last night, replaced by a 'let's create a climate for change' COP banner, a smart move by the organizers!!

See you!

Carlos and Hannah