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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / teo_wams_speech

teo_wams_speech

20 november 2000
the hague

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 well.

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 talking.

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 and unacceptable.

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 economic development.

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.

 

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