Dec 15, 2008

FoEI speech to the UN climate conference

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 15, 2008 12:50 PM
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At the end of the COP 14 negotiations in Poznan Friends of the Earth International were invited to give their verdict on the conference. Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth US spoke on behalf of the federation. This is what she said:

Friends of the Earth International came to Poznan hoping for progress. We had hoped industrialized countries would commit to steep emission reductions - without offset loopholes - and would announce their willingness to support developing country mitigation and adaptation actions.

However, we remain thoroughly disappointed with the outcomes of the talks thus far.

The distinct lack of achievement here in Poznan falls squarely on the shoulders of the rich industrialized Annex I countries who after 16 years, and despite the rhetoric we have heard about urgency, are still failing to take the climate crisis seriously and realize their obligations under the Convention.

Most Annex 1 countries have spent the majority of this precious negotiating time crafting get-out-clauses and offsetting schemes at the expense of genuine reductions.

These delaying tactics do not set an encouraging tone for the intense year of negotiations to come.  Here in Poznan, we have seen, yet again, the same obstructionist, business-as-usual approach of developed countries. 

Looking forward, we must not ignore the science and the reality of what needs to be done.

For any reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, Annex-1 countries must by February 2009 commit to at least 40% emission reductions by 2020.  But even this level of reduction may not be enough for many vulnerable nations, so why are we discussing anything less?

To achieve necessary emissions reductions globally, finance and clean technology must be urgently delivered to allow developing countries to make a just-transition towards low-carbon development.

Further, negotiations under REDD:

  • are failing to ensure the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities are genuinely protected,
  • are failing to distinguish monoculture tree plantations from natural forests,
  • are failing to recognize the biodiversity benefit of forests,
  • and are risking the privatisation of forests through market-based schemes.

We are not approaching a cliff; we are hanging dangerously over the edge.  We must see a radical shift in the focus of this process.

Anything less with be a failure for all people and the planet.

Aug 25, 2008

UN Climate Talks in Accra, August 2008

by SisiNutt — last modified Aug 25, 2008 12:15 PM
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Forests are more than carbon!

Workshop on campesino forest use, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Workshop on campesino forest use, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

One of the main topics at the United Nations climate talks in Accra from 21– 27 August 2008 was Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD).

What was at stake? The proposed inclusion of forests in carbon markets would enable developed countries to avoid real carbon emissions reductions at home. Furthermore, any proposal that increases the financial value of forests may trigger a vast increase in land rights abuse. This would be the result of a rapid expansion of state or corporate control over forests without regard to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.

In Accra, Friends of the Earth International presented its positions and proposals in various official workshops, side events and discussions with country delegates.


learn more

Listen to Real World Radio: UN climate talks end amid scrutiny

Download our new briefing as PDF: Forests are More than Carbon

Read regular updates from Kate Horner of FoE US here

Our latest press releases

A selection of FoEI in the news

Read climate talks updates from Third World Network

Watch videos from the conference at the United Nations web site


...and visit our climate finance campaign pages!

group photo of climate people

The FoEI team in the Accra Conference Center

Apr 07, 2008

the big ask europe campaign

by DebraBroughton — last modified Apr 07, 2008 04:35 PM
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The Big Ask unites Friends of the Earth groups across Europe in a call for governments to commit to binding annual targets for cutting emissions. Around Europe people are asking their politicians to take responsibility for tackling dangerous climate change.

Our Big Ask is that EU member states make legally binding commitments to cut emissions year-on-year. These cuts should be equal to at least a 30% reduction of EU-wide domestic emissions by 2020 and 90% by 2050. The Big Ask brings together Friends of the Earth groups from 17 European countries:

- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, EWNI (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

- The Big Ask will engage hundreds of thousands of people across Europe. People will be empowered to take action against climate change by making this demand of their politicians – at the levels of both national government and the European Union.

- People will take action by visiting their local MPs, signing postcards and petitions and staging local actions. Friends of the Earth groups will organise concerts, exhibitions, and other events, and engage national celebrities to inform people about and engage people in the campaign.

Find out more at thebigask.eu


Track the progress of European leaders as they decide on our response to climate change. Will they lead the fight to keep global warming below 2°C? Ask them if they're ready to lead


the big ask banner


Apr 01, 2008

young friends of the earth europe demo

by DebraBroughton — last modified Apr 01, 2008 10:08 AM
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December 8th 2007. A young group of proud penguins marches through the streets of Berlin. Their aim: To speed up the negotiations in Bali and save the world


Feb 04, 2008

UN climate change meeting - an analysis

by DebraBroughton — last modified Feb 04, 2008 05:00 PM
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Friends of the Earth International and WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia had a large team of local and international activists campaigning in the lead-up to and throughout the United Nations climate change negotiations in Bali, December 2-15, 2007.


civil society in Bali


Climate change is now an international environmental and social justice issue with increasing active engagement from social movements and citizens, particularly affected peoples. In Bali there was an unprecedented civil society presence that highlighted the impacts of climate change and proposed solutions. Friends of the Earth believes that a global climate justice movement is necessary to ensure that the responses to climate change are socially and environmentally justice, and that demand a high level of ambition, commitment and action from political leaders.


foei side eventFriends of the Earth took part in the development of the so-called "Solidarity Village" in coordination with La Via Campesina and Focus on the Global South. This space allowed communities affected by climate change to build relationships among themselves. They also had the opportunity to express their motivations behind their struggle for climate justice. The issues – ranging from the enforcement of land rights for forest conservation, food and energy sovereignty, privatization, trade liberalization and agrofuels – have had a common theme of corporate globalization taking over the climate agenda and the need to resist this with an alternative agenda that leads us towards sustainable societies.


Alliance-building work in Bali culminated in the establishment of a network of organizations such as the Durban Group, Third World Network, Via Campesina and World Rainforest Movement and Indigenous peoples organizations called Climate Justice Now! The purpose of this new coalition is to ensure that justice is put at the heart of the climate agenda – not only in UNFCCC meetings but in other spaces such as the G8 and WSF. This involves, for example, exposing false, corporate-driven solutions such as agrofuels, offsetting and carbon finance for forests and demanding massive North to South financial transfers for adaptation and mitigation, clean renewable energy, a dramatic shift in production and consumption patterns.

During the Global Day of Action (December 8 2007) Friends of the Earth International Climate and Energy Coordinator Hildebrando Velez was a speaker at the People’s Assembly before going to join the mobilization for climate justice. Hundreds of people marched in the hot afternoon sun in Denpasar with organisations such as SPI (Indonesian chapter of Via Campesina), WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia and Friends of the Earth International – chanting and waving banners. Jubilee South had fantastic oversized puppets of political leaders that are spearheading the privatisation of lands, ecosystems and services at the cost of people and the environment.


Friends of the Earth recognizes that overconsumption of resources and production of pollution of the atmosphere by the North that is manifests in global climate change, has its roots in economic and social injustice. It is imperative that the global community recognise that the effects of these injustices are suffered most by communities who are already living in highly vulnerable environments due to excessive resource exploitation to meet the market demands of the North. These facts make our main task the consolidation of the Climate Justice movement in which we are already working. Friends of the Earth accepts the task of articulation of the organizations and affected peoples, in particular provide spaces to raise their voices to the decision makers.



inside negotiation halls

Strategically Friends of the Earth chose to focus on lobbying and media work on the obligations of the Annex I (global North) of both emission reductions, finance for technology sharing, deforestation and adaptation. Over the past year there has been an exceeding amount of pressure on non Annex I (global South) to accept 'contributions' of emission reductions mostly because of the international desire to have USA in future climate change agreements, as well as from IPCC reports which state that global emissions reductions are required to keep temperatures even to 2.4 degrees (which is far too high for the most vulnerable peoples and ecosystems). There is very little recognition that this is blatantly inequitable – especially since Annex I countries have failed for over ten years to fulfill their finance obligations to the South for mitigation and adaptation.


In Bali we saw major players of the Group of 77 developing countries (G77) and China extremely well-organised and united. China presented a very comprehensive proposal for a multi-lateral fund for technology transfer, which was supported by the G77. The G77 were also outspoken throughout the COP about the bullying tactics being applied - such as threats of trade sanctions. The EU were less strong than in the past and while they managed to retain emissions reductions of 25-40% by 2020 in one of the two main decision texts, they failed to support the proposal for a technology fund.


Overall, Bali delivered two main decisions which are the timetable for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I, and the Bali Action Plan which is a collection of many different aspects of UNFCCC obligations of mitigation, technology, finance and adaptation. Both are really short on content, and negotiating timetables for the next two years. This is expected to deliver a final decision on Copenhagen in 2009 which will become the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.


The Bali Action Plan was the decision taken first in the last plenary and was achieved after a not-seen-before backlash against the USA in which the USA was forced to reverse their position and accept that they had obligations to reduce emissions and to take special consideration of the national circumstances of non Annex I to not all be signing up for emission reduction mitigation actions – i.e. least developed countries and small island developing states who have comparative low emissions and are extremely vulnerable to climate change. This was widely reported as the 'Bali outcome' and by itself is a really weak decision because it has emissions’ reduction ranges of between 10-40% in a footnote.

However - this decision text has to be considered alongside the second major decision of the workplan of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I - which does actually have emissions reduction ranges of 25-40% by 2020 for industrialised countries, global peak and decline of emissions by 2015 and keeping temperature below 2 degrees. This is a Kyoto Protocol decision so doesn't apply to the USA - but theoretically provides an 'in' for the USA once there is a change of administration and predicted change of policy on Kyoto. Hence Friends of the Earth International final press release of a weak 'deal' (http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2007/kyoto-afloat-after-attempted-sabotage/)




Useful links:


a. Interviews available at Real World Radio http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/rmr/?q=en

b. Third World Network news bulletins www.twnside.org.sg/climate.news.htm
c. Focus on the Global South www.focusweb.org and http://www.focusweb.org/players-and-plays-in-the-bali-climate-drama.html?Itemid=1

d. International Forum on Globalism www.ifg.org/baliblog.htm

e. Transnational Institute http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17794&username=guest@tni.org&password=9999&publish=Y