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rich nations to blame for climate inaction and rejection of rights

POZNAN, POLAND, December 12, 2008 – After two weeks of negotiations, United Nations climate talks are closing with rich industrialized countries squarely to blame for failing to live up to their obligations.

Some rich countries rejected Indigenous Peoples and local communities' rights, according to Friends of the Earth International.

The world's wealthiest countries, in particular Australia, Canada, European States, Japan and the US, failed in Poland to commit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Industrialized countries are failing to live up to their historical and current responsibilities by not committing to steep, immediate binding emission reduction targets. Many are trying to deflect blame on to major developing nations,” said Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator Stephanie Long.

“Developing countries rightly expect the world's wealthiest nations to take the lead. Instead, industrialized countries are continuing to dodge their financial and technology transfer obligations to developing nations.

 

"Rich nations are not living up to their obligations to assist developing country adaptation efforts to survive climate change impacts. It has been 16 years since these commitments were made, and substantial steps were expected in Poznan,“ said Meena Raman, Honorary Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia.

“We are outraged that Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada deleted language on the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in a key decision on deforestation. This risks the violation of rights and displacement of millions of Indigenous and forest-dwelling peoples who are the guardians of forests and among the worst affected by climate change,” she added.

Some 1.6 billion people rely on forests, including 60 million Indigenous people, who are entirely dependent upon forests for  their livelihoods, food, medicines and building materials.

Friends of the Earth International remains critical of the undue influence of the private sector in the UN climate negotiations, which must remain the domain of governments and civil society. Governments have the responsibility to ensure that people and the planet are protected from climate change, which includes reigning excessive corporate interests over people's livelihoods.

Assessment of the Poznan talks

 

+ Industrialised countries failed to demonstrate its commitment and leadership to reducing emissions: Industrialised (Annex I) countries did not advance talks in this area at all from one year ago. The identical text from the 2007 Bali talks conclusions has been inserted in the Poznan text.

 

+ Industrialised countries need to commit to emissions reduction targets of at least 40%  on 1990 levels by 2020. Yet, these countries have shamefully wasted an entire year of inaction.

 

+ The industrialised countries are continuing to dodge their adaptation, financial and technology transfer obligations to developing countries. It has been 16 years since these commitments were made and substantial steps were expected in Poznan. Developing countries tabled many positive proposals most of which were ignored by industrialised countries.

 

+ Parties agreed on text in the negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries that did not exclude plantations from the definitions of forests. Monoculture tree plantations store only a fraction of the carbon – and the biodiversity - stored by forests.

 

+ Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada stripped out language on the

recognition of rights of Indigenous Peoples in REDD negotiations.

 

+ Parties failed to explicitly reject proposals for carbon trading mechanisms for forest conservation and instead support community based-forest governance that upholds the rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities.

 

+ Industrialised countries failed  to remedy woefully inadequate level of financing support for adaptation in the 'Adaptation Fund' under the Kyoto Protocol, a fund created explicitly to meet the financial cost of adaptation in developing countries.

 

+ Industrialised countries are still considering buying their way out of emission reduction obligations through damaging initiatives such as 'carbon offsetting' in developing countries. Friends of the Earth International rejects offsetting as it wards off real measures to tackle climate change.

 

Parties failed to explicitly reject false solutions such as carbon capture and storage, large dams, nuclear energy and agrofuels.

 

For more information contact in Poznan:


Meena Raman, Honorary Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia:
+ 60 12 43 00 042 (Malaysian mobile number)

Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator: 
+ 48 698 327 785 (Polish mobile number)

MEDIA OFFICER LINE: 
+48 662 964 285 (until 13 December 2008) or + 31-6-5100 5630 (Dutch number until 13 December 2008).

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