20 november 2000
Teo Wams, Director of Milieudefensie,
Friends of the Earth Netherlands,
Speech to plenary of COP 6
Mr Chairman, Ministers, Ladies and
Gentlemen, Thank you for the chance to speak
today. I am here on behalf of Friends of the
Earth International, the world's largest
environment network, with groups in more than
68 countries. I am also here for the Climate
Action Network, which all of you know
More importantly, I am here on behalf of
many thousands of citizens outside this
Conference. You will all have seen the
results of the biggest action ever staged at
international climate talks. 6000 people from
over 40 countries built our dike, a symbol of
what may be the last resort to protect our
land if the wrong decisions are taken this
week in The Hague.
Why did they come here to build the dike?
Why did they travel up to 3 days and sleep on
hard floors? Because they feel that everyone
has a moral responsibility to save this
treaty. Because they want to make politicians
realise their citizens care about the future
of our planet. Millions of lives are at stake
here. That is why thousands came to hold the
politicians to account.
People around the world are angry. Angry
about the lack of real action against climate
change. Angry about the failure to cut
emissions. And angry about the failure of
rich Northern countries to help developing
countries deal with the terrible impacts of
climate change. We have seen 10 years of
talk. Meanwhile, extreme weather disasters
have killed tens of thousands and ruined the
lives of millions more. It is only a taste of
what is likely to come. And we are still
So you will forgive me if I and the people
I have the honour to represent have no
sympathy for attempts to delay action to
phase out fossil fuels - the only way to
really tackle climate change. We have no
sympathy for Governments that play hide and
seek with the public and the media to make it
seem as if they are doing the right thing.
They are not.
I have a simple message for those who want
to rely on trees and soils to soak up carbon
to meet targets, without bringing real
changes in the way we use and produce energy.
You are undermining the aims of the Climate
Change Convention you agreed at the Rio Earth
Summit. You are putting short term national
political interest over the safety and
security of the whole planet. This is immoral
To those countries who wish to exploit
every loophole in avoiding real emission
reduction measures at home, let me say this.
Hot Air trading and fossil fuel projects in
the Clean Development Mechanism and as JI
projects will do nothing to slow down climate
change. By continuing to fuel global warming,
you are putting the lives, jobs and homes of
millions of people across the world at risk.
This is also immoral and unacceptable.
To those countries who want to introduce
nuclear power as the solution to climate
change I say that you threaten our future and
the safety of our children.
To those countries who argue that the
Kyoto agreement should not be fully enforced,
I say you are ridiculing this entire process.
The climate treaty must be put into practice.
There must be binding consequences if it is
not. The same countries that are trying to
avoid enforcement of this treaty are the
first to demand enforcement of world trade
rules. This is dangerous hypocrisy.
Finally, to those Northern countries that
evade their duty to help developing countries
deal with the effects of climate change, I
say this. You have been polluting the planet
for more than a century. You now have a duty
to help those who suffer as a result, and to
help developing countries for sustainable
Mr Chairman, Ministers, Ladies and
Gentlemen, I hope you will be strong enough
to make a real deal here at The Hague. A deal
that will truly start to reverse man-made
climate change. Remember, your citizens are
watching you. Success will be rewarded.
Failure will not be forgiven.