Dec 18, 2009
This morning Young Friends of the Earth Norway / Nature and Youth delivered a Christmas present to the Norwegian Environment Minister, Erik Solheim, demanding that Norway increase their target for emissions cuts to at least 40 percent by 2020.
Dec 17, 2009
This morning members of Climate Justice Now, briefing the Klimaforum on the sate of the talks, were joined by Cristian Dominguez, a member of the Bolivian negotiating team. At the climate talks Hilary Clinton proposed a $100 billion fund for climate change but, as ever, the devil's in the details.
Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El Salvador opened proceedings at the Klimaforum by talking about the expulsion of the Friends of the Earth International delegation from observing the talks and how the people who represent the millions of affected people around the world are being denied a voice.
Today only two people from Friends of the Earth International were allowed into the conference centre where the talks are taking place.
On the talks Karen Orenstein from Friends of the Earth US said:
"The blame game is now beginning for who will be responsible for the no solution."
Friends of the Earth International believes that rich countries are squarely to blame for the lack of any meaningful progress made so far.
Cristian Dominguez from the Bolivian negotiating team at the climate conference told the audience what it was like on the inside for developing countries:
"They don't want to talk about the Kyoto Treaty so they delay. Last night we stayed until 2am and achieved nothing."
He said the politicians of the developing countries were focusing on the past and unwilling to change, "they are like robots of the capitalist system."
"We have faith that Evo Morales [the Bolivian President] won't sign a document that goes against humanity, against Mother Earth" he concluded.
the climate fund
Most of the politicians and heads of state attending the summit have now arrived in Copenhagen and are making announcements on how they propose to move forward.
Today US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced a $100 billion climate fund. However, she did not say how much the US would contribute to this amount that falls far short of what the United Nations say is needed.
Yesterday Friends of the Earth were suspended from the UN climate talks despite having all the relevant accreditation . The reasons varied from "fire regulations" to "security concerns." We think this is a result of our critical voices at the summit and our demands for climate justice for developing countries.
Watch the video of the how the day unfolded
Dec 16, 2009
The common theme than ran through today's talks was false solutions to climate change. Schemes such as REDD - a carbon offsetting mechanism - and carbon capture and storage are being put forward as credible ways to cut carbon emissions. These talks proved the opposite.
The first talk explored the false solutions being promoted in the name of tackling climate change including the role of the World Bank, carbon offsetting, monoculture tree plantations and agrofuels.
The speakers included Camila Morena from Friends of the Earth Brazil and Nnimmo Bassey from Friends of the Earth Nigeria and the Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
Camila looked at REDD as a false solution.
"The Amazon covers 49% of Brazil and Amazon deforestation accounts for 48% of the deforestation taking place at the moment, four times the rate of Indonesia - the second deforester" she said.
REDD, which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries, will mean that forests are incorporated into carbon markets.
Put simply, a factory in Europe can offset their emissions by buying credits on the carbon market and as a result a landowner in the Amazon will be paid not to cut down a hectare of trees. The way the mechanism is set up though could also mean that deforestation actually increases under the scheme. It is flawed in many ways.
Camila said there was "tsunami of investment in REDD projects in Brazil at the moment" and said that big agribusiness, who are the owners of most of this land - not peasant farmers as we are led to believe, who are cutting down the rain forest to plant soy are now being rewarded for not deforesting the Amazon anymore.
"We are paying the kings of deforestation not to chop down our forests" she said.
In the climate talks Friends of the Earth are demanding that forests are kept out of carbon markets, that plantations are entirely excluded and land rights are enforced as the basis of any forest policy.
Nnimmo Bassey talked about gas flaring in his country.
Gas flaring takes place when the the associated gasses that occur when oil is extracted from the ground are burnt straight into the atmosphere. This is what Shell and other companies do in the Niger Delta, often in the middle of communities, twenty-four hours a day. Not only are huge quantities of CO2 pumped into the air but also toxins that have had devastating effects on the surrounding communities.
For decades oil companies have broken the law by illegally flaring, saying it's very difficult to stop. Now the clean development mechanism (CDM) has come along, another false solution, and Shell are looking to stop these illegal flares and claim money for doing so under the pretext of reducing their carbon emissions.
Nnimmo put this question to the audience:
"If I were a bank robber and I decide to rob only one bank a day instead of ten should I be given an award? This is what is now happening as oil companies turn to carbon development mechanisms."
a future without fossil fuels
In another room George Monbiot, an environmentalist from the UK, also addressed false solutions and looked at the huge levels of investment that would be needed to continue down the road of fossil fuels.
He dismissed the notion that we'll soon be at peak oil and once that runs out we will naturally progress to renewables because we will have no choice.
"The problem we're facing is not too little fossil fuels, it's too much" he said.
He explained that as fossil fuels become harder to reach, more and more money will be needed to extract them. In the case of coal there is plenty in the far reaches of Siberia and the North Sea bed. The problem is getting it.
He conceded that the path to renewables is an expensive one - around $4.2 trillion he'd calculated - and will totally change our consumption patterns but the path to our continued reliance on fossil fuel would also cost around the same amount just to continue with business as usual.
As he sees it, there are two options:
"We spend trillions on securing fossils fuels for the next generation an adapt to the the disastrous consequences, or we can invest the same amount in renewables that will last forever."
I know which one I would choose.
Find out more - http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/11/25/one-shot-left/
Dec 15, 2009
A study compiled by a Danish Professor, presented at the Klimaforum09, exposed carbon capture and storage (CCS), where the carbon emitted by coal fired power stations is stored underground, as a false solution to climate change.
The event was hosted by Friends of the Earth Denmark in collaboration with Brian Vad Mathiesen, an assistant Professor at Aalborg University in Denmark. The Professor looked objectively at the case for and against CCS.
Firstly, Palle Bendsen informed us that the technology won't be ready until at least 2020 and not on a large scale until 2030. It's worth bearing in mind that 2020 is the date that countries are committing themselves to achieve large emissions reductions.
The Professor's presentation revealed some fascinating facts about CCS that never seem be raised by the people promoting this 'solution'.
Around 40% more coal will need to be burned just to enable the carbon dioxide to be captured and stored,
There are also added social impacts with CCS. In addition to the negative impacts of coal on the local population, there will now also be an impact on the people who live on land slated for the captured carbon facility. They will have to be evicted.
Professor Mathiesen said: "In Denmark at the moment a community of farmers need to be relocated to make way for a storage facility. They don't want to go and so the project has been delayed due as a result of their appeals."
At least in Denmark there is the benefit of an appeal. This can't be guaranteed for projects being developed elsewhere.
And finally, the money. It is estimated that a coal fired power station with carbon capture storage will take fifty years to achieve a return on investment.
With these stark facts laid out CCS clearly has to be exposed as a totally false solution to climate change.
Dec 13, 2009
On Saturday, December 12 2009, more than 5000 people flooded the streets of Copenhagen demanding climate justice and an end to offsetting carbon emissions.
View another video here from the Danish Climate Movement
Dec 12, 2009
More than five thousand people from around the world joined our Flood for climate justice today as we Flooded the streets of Copenhagen demanding climate justice and an end to offsetting carbon emissions.
View some of the pictures here and many more on our Flickr account.
A full report will follow tomorrow.
Dec 11, 2009
Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth US provides analysis of the climate negotiations on Democracy Now!
Todd Stern, the US Special Envoy for Climate Change doesn't think rich nations owe a climate debt.
Speaking at a press conference about the USA's role in creating climate change he said:
"The sense of guilt or culpability or reparations, I just categorically reject that."
Instead he wants the poorest subsistence farmer in Africa to have the same responsibility for tackling climate change as an American with a
With President Obama, the US has a unique opportunity to take the lead on tackling climate change. But Stern is threatening Obama's chances.
Call on Todd Stern to think again
The EU were discussing reductions targets today and so Friends of the Earth greeted delegates with a call for EU leaders to UP their targets to 40%.
We also called on our cyberactivists to email the Canadian Prime Minister to urge the Canadians to up their targets after being voted Fossil of the Day the day before.
Dec 10, 2009
Day three of the climate conference saw FoEI call for 40% cuts in EU emissions and our Chair Nnimmo Bassey releasing a statement urging President Obama to rethink his administrations approach to the climate talks on the eve of him receiving his Nobel prize in Oslo
Wednesday was a busy day all round for FoEI. The launch of our 40% report in the morning was followed by a 'target action' where Young Friends of the Earth walked the halls of the conference centre holding up large red targets calling for a commitment to emissions reductions of 40 percent without using any offsets (see video above).
Later the media team released a statement from our Chair Nnimmo Bassey directed at President Obama, who will be in Norway on Thursday (11th Dec) collecting his Nobel prize. The prize was awarded for the President's 'vision for a better future and his ability to inspire hope that bold change is possible'.
In the words of Nnimmo:
"We congratulate him on this honor, but he has not kept true to the vision he articulated during his campaign....he pledged to solve climate change, but the United States is now playing a harmful role on the global stage."
Rafael Flores from the Bolivian delegation talks about the commitment of the Bolivian government in calling for climate justice in Copenhagen.
Dec 08, 2009
The waiting is over. Yesterday was the first day of the Copenhagen climate summit and the Klimaforum - the people's climate summit. Our first posting is from the Klimaforum where I spent the day.
The official launch of the Klimaforum took place in the evening with music and speeches from Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina, Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International and Naomi Klein.
Nnimmo called for an end to backroom deals in the Bella Center - the venue of COP15 - and urged the delegates to listen to the voices coming from the people's summit.
The Kilmaforum was for "real people, talking about real problems, getting together to create movements and share the real solutions to climate change" he said.
On carbon offsetting he issued a red card to REDD, the carbon offsetting mechanism supported by many industrialised countries.
He finished his speech by calling on the audience to join him in one of his chants: "Keep the oil in the soil, keep the coal in the hole, keep the tar sands in the sand." Warmed up with Organic beer the audience were happy to oblige.
Following on from Nnimmo Naomi Klein the Canadian author of No Logo and the Shock Doctrine took to the stage and stated that “There is a difference between a deal and success and Klimaforum09 needs to be the lie detector when the politicians come out with a deal.”
This chimes exactly with Friends of the Earth International's demand that a deal is not what we're after it's a just climate agreement. This means emission cuts in developed countries, and money for developing countries to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change – but it also means a change in our consumption patterns.
As Naomi Klein put it, "Klimaforum is not about giving charity to the developing world it's about taking responsibility and the industrialised countries cleaning up our own mess.
Elizabeth Bast from Friends of the Earth US rounds up day one of the climate negotiations.
Dec 07, 2009
Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Henry Saragih, General Coordinator of Via Campesina speak at a press conference at the Klimaforum - the alternative climate summit - outlining their hopes for the two weeks.
Dec 06, 2009
Young Friends of the Earth Europe carried out their first 'teaser' action in Copenhagen. On a chilly Sunday lunchtime they gathered outside the venue of the alternative climate summit - the Klimaforum - and called on people to join them in the Flood for Climate Justice on Saturday 12th December.
Dec 03, 2009
As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss efforts to tackle global warming, we will be there calling on the rich industrialised countries to agree to urgent and dramatic cuts in their emissions right NOW.
Members of Friends of the Earth International will be in Copenhagen blogging right here on the many events taking place; from the UN negotiations in the Bella Center to the civil society event, the KlimaForum, where the people most affected by climate change will have a voice.
Outside there will be many peaceful demonstrations taking place including the Flood for climate justice where thousands of people are expected to flood through the streets of Copenhagen calling for a just climate agreement.
Also on this site you will find our latest press releases; publications; and the climate capsule where, in words, video and photos, people tell the world why they want a just agreement in Copenhagen.
Elsewhere you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and view the latest photos on Flickr.
For the general Copenhagen index page click here
See you back here soon.
Dec 02, 2009
Hemantha Withanage a senior environmental scientist and the executive director of the Centre for Environmental Justice / Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka gives his response to the question in his latest blog entry.
Climate change is very high in the global political agenda at the moment. 15th Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will begin on December 7th, 2009 in Copenhagen. COP 15 will be a very crucial event in the history of human race. However, we cannot have much hope since the developed countries so far very hesitant to accept their historical responsibility to the climate change and enter to a genuine deal...