messages of solidarity
Dec 13, 2009
Yesterday more than five thousand people from all over the world took to the cold streets of Copenhagen to demand climate justice and an end to offsetting emissions.
The flood began outside the Klimaforum - the civil society event on climate change - with speeches from Nnimmo Bassey, the Friends of the Earth International Chair, Henry Saragih, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina and Amparo Miciano, from the World March for Women.
Nnimmo rallied the crowd with a stirring call to action. He demanded climate justice and called for end to false climate change solutions such as offsetting.
"To those who want to pollute at home and plant a tree in Africa, we say no," he shouted.
Around 5000 people, dressed in blue ponchos and carrying 'demand climate justice' flags, came to the march from every corner of Europe and beyond.
Reinford Mwangonde from Friends of the Earth Malawi said why it was so important for him to be there:
"In Malawi we now have flooding, desperate droughts and very short rains. This doesn't give farmers enough time to grow anything. Animals are also suffering because there is not enough green land. It's a daily struggle for Malawian farmers."
"Africa is at the front line of climate change and that is why I am in Copenhagen, to demand climate justice now!" he concluded.
After the speeches came the arrival of the carbon traders; sinister men and women in suits shouting:
"Come offset your carbon emissions. We're selling dirty air and buying clean air"
As the carbon traders left the stage they were pursued by the crowd, who 'flooded' the streets, chanting "No offsetting. Climate justice now!"
The Flood also carried messages from directly affected by climate change who couldn't make it to Copenhagen. These messages formed part of the 'climate capsule' that is currently on display in the Klimaforum.
The Flood ended in front of the Danish Parliament with the creation of a massive human banner reading 'Offsetting is a false solution'.
The crowd then joined an estimated 100,000 demonstrators to march to the conference centre, where the official climate talks are taking place, with their messages of climate justice now!
It was a truly inspiring day where our demands were heard loud and clearly. Only next week will we know whether world leaders have listened.
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
Amid the chaos of the conference centre a press conference was held by Kim Nguyen who had cycled from Australia all the way to the climate conference collecting messages for delegates on the way.
Kim's journey began in East Timor where the people he met people had first hand experience of the devastating effects of climate change.
"For three years the seasonal rains never came and then one year they came all at once and were deluged. The few crops they have were destroyed" he said.
He met people in the Gobi desert who told him that every year the desert expands and more and more lakes and rivers dry up.
It was in the same desert that he saw a working example of renewable energy at a local level.
"All the tents they lived in had solar panels on the top."
Throughout his travels he collected messages for the world leaders at the climate summit in video, photo, illustrations and letters.
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
Today Friends of the Earth took part in a number of events at the Kilmaforum - the civil society event in Copenhagen. The day began with a briefing from Young Friends of the Earth and ended with the first day of the People's Tribunal on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice.
In recognition of 'young and future generations day' at the climate conference, the daily briefing in the Klimaforum - the civil society summit - was carried out by members of Young Friends of the Earth and other young people attending the summit.
There are around a thousand young people following the negotiations in Copenhagen and the role youth can play in these negotiations is now being formally recognised.
The panel was split into regions and Mauro Ramos from Friends of the Earth Uruguay talked about the position of Latin America, particularly when it comes to climate debt.
Firstly he spoke about Bolivia and the strong position they have taken in the region.
"They are one of the few countries that propose to maintain and preserve oil reserves in their territories"
He talked about the discussions around climate debt and how it can be paid; two options being direct payments to countries and technology transfers from developing country to non developing country.
On the subject of renewable energy he was positive but cautious:
"Many private companies are seeking new business opportunities. We say it's important to keep this energy at the reach of local people."
He ended by calling on negotiators to listen to indigenous people. "Native populations are not heard… these people are totally forgotten. We have to bear them in mind for a fair world."
the feminist struggle
The first talk of the afternoon was 'feminists struggling against climate change and the privatisation of the environment' organised by the World March of Women and supported by Friends of the Earth International.
Meena Raman from Friends of the Earth Malaysia began by updating us on the climate talks from the perspective of developing countries and women.
She said how great it was to be at the Klimaforum," a place of passion, inspiration, spirit and hope and justice" and went on to say how women's closeness to the earth mean they are at the forefront of the climate struggle:
"They see what contamination does their bodies, what pollution does their children."
She spoke with passion detailing the spin the developed countries are putting on the talks.
"They say there needs to be a new treaty to replace Kyoto which runs out in 2012. It doesn't."
She criticised the Danish government for their back room talks and other countries for invoking intellectual property rights when it comes to green technology transfer.
"These same rights were used to deny Africans life saving AIDS drugs" she said.
It's hard to get a crowd fired up on the finer points of the Kyoto Treaty yet Meena had no problem in generating whoops, sighs and cheers.
Thuli Mahama from Friends of the Earth Swaziland spoke in advance of the event saying the face of poverty is always that of a woman or a malnourished child yet these same people are adapting without attending any conferences."
They have no choice but to find ways to survive:
"In Swaziland some women scrape some sand from the ground and if they wait long enough, perhaps two hours, a small pool of water may appear. This is how women are adapting to climate change" she said.
ecological debt and climate justice
As feminist struggles continued, over the corridor, the 'People's tribunal on ecological debt and climate justice' was taking place. There, a panel including Angela Navarro one of the Bolivian negotiators, the author Naomi Klein and Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El Salvador gave their thoughts on the pursuit of climate debt and reparations - an essential element to climate justice.
Angela Navarro began by talking about the kind of climate agreement Bolivia wants. One that takes into account the fact that developed countries and their pursuit of ever greater profits caused the mess that we're in today.
"Developed countries have forgotten what a healthy relationship is with Mother Earth. In the south we are still listening to her" she said.
She then went on to offer developed countries capacity building on being more in tuned with the earth.
Finally she ended with some news on the negotiations:
"Our President is preparing a surprise for us. We need your help to make this process inclusive from the bottom up. Thirty nations don't have a right to impose a solution"
Having spent a few days in the convention centre where the official climate talks are taking place, Naomi Klein observed that the talks resembled "the final scrabble for the remaining resources of a planet in peril"
She gave encouragement to the movement calling for reparations comparing them to the people who asked for reparations for the slave trade:
"They will laugh until there is a movement... We are that movement."
Finally it was Ricardo Navarro's turn.
He spoke of a new paradigm of development that needs to take place where it's not the economists who have the final word. He urged people to resist any project that contributes to climate change and transform the system; "small scale agriculture and energy sovereignty is part of the solution."
Naomi Klein had the last word when she said:
"A common phrase in American is 'let's press the restart button.' The earth doesn't have a restart button."
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
Rafael Flores from the Bolivian delegation talks about the commitment of the Bolivian government in calling for climate justice in Copenhagen.
The FoEI magician try his best to magic away carbon emissions but it just doesn't work.
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."
Dec 09, 2009
The landslide victory of Evo Morales in the Bolivian elections, the official negotiations of the COP 15 to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen and the role of social movements here, were some of the issues mentioned by Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, in an exclusive interview with Real World Radio.
This morning Friends of the Earth International in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute held a press conference in the Bella Center to launch the 40% study which shows that 40% emissions cuts in Europe are achievable.
The study prepared by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe proves for the first time the feasibility and affordability of achieving at least 40% emissions cuts in Europe by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, without offsetting.
Dr Charlie Heaps from the SEI set out the methodology used in the report and his graph clearly showed that the current targets being proposed by Europe "leave little room for non-Annex 1 countries to develop."
Sonja Meister from Friends of the Earth Europe set out the case for why Europe really has to push for 40% and laid out some of the benefits too:
"The EU should recognise the benefits of making such cuts. Investment in renewables and energy efficiency would create seven jobs per every one in fossil fuels. There are also many health benefits."
Dec 08, 2009
There is no shortage of energy and creativity in the Bella Center as hour after hour a new protest fills the corridors from the straight forward banner to rather complex magic tricks.
Our magician try his best to magic away carbon emissions but it just doesn't work.
Young Friends of the Earth promote the Angry Mermaid Award
Offsetting protest in the Bella Center atrium
Take me to your climate leader
Call the on the Danish government - the hosts of the summit - to broker a just and transparent climate agreement.
Desperate to get any kind of deal, the Danish Prime Minister has been leading meetings with rich country negotiators to agree the wording of agreements before proposals are even on the table.
We need to make it clear to the Danish government that this isn't acceptable. And as the hosts of the talks, their responsibility is to ensure a fair and transparent process , not to broker a deal at any cost to the millions of people in developing countries who will suffer most.
Email the President of the Conference of Parties now.
This action is hosted by Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland.
The ice is melting - literally. Sam Fleet began day one of the COP in the Bella Center where the official negotiations are taking place.
The day began at 06:30; a rushed breakfast followed by a crowded metro. We arrived at the Bella center to find Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) had installed a melting ice sculpture of the Mermaid statue, calling for climate justice at the entrance.
The atmosphere inside the centre was intense, and one of excitement. It was a huge transformation from the empty atrium I had seen the night before, into something akin to a train station at rush hour. It was entirely possible to spend the day exhausting yourself running around like a headless chicken, rushing from one spot to the next, without achieving anything.
The communications and media teamed discussed their strategy, although judging from the huge number of journalists and camera crews marching around the centre, it seemed there would be no difficulty getting coverage; we just had to provide the spokespeople – something FoEI has no shortage of, representing 77 countries.
I left after lunch in order to head to the Klimaforum – the global civil society counterpart of the official UN conference in the Bella Centre – where the second half of the FoEI communications team were based.
After a brief unintended detour through the centre of Copenhagen, past the Hopenhagen concert arena – a huge corporate sponsored initiative – I arrived at the Klimaform just in time to help out and take pictures at the FoEI opening press conference, with our chair, Nnimmo Bassey.
Nnimmo was then rushed in front of Associated Press, and German, Danish and Swedish TV channels, before taking the stage at the opening event for the Klimaforum. I passed through, en-route to a coordination meeting to watch the Danish Chime Transform - Lisbeth Diers playing on instruments sculpted out of ice. An enchanting performance, compounded by the fact, that near the end of the show, whether by design, or accident, the instruments began to shatter in the musician’s hands – melting under the hot stage lights.
A simple message: climate change waits for no-one. Act Now!
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
Naomi Klein praises the work of the climate justice movement and urges everyone not to leave the climate up to developed countries and corporations.
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.