Jun 25, 2009

Scotland's climate bill sets precedent for Europe

by Krista Stryker — last modified Jun 25, 2009 02:02 PM
Filed Under:

The bill passed by Members of the Scottish Parliament sets a target to reduce greenhouse gases by 42 percent by 2020.

Scotland bannerBRUSSELS, 24 June 2009 - Friends of the Earth Europe has warmly welcomed the ground breaking Climate Change Bill passed in Scotland today.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) today voted for a target to reduce greenhouse gases by 42 percent by 2020 – the most ambitious statutory target in the world.

The vote followed an overwhelming display of support for early action to cut emissions from scientists, Scottish celebrities and campaigners who travelled to the Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, to lobby their MSPs.

Friends of the Earth Europe's climate campaign coordinator, Sonja Meister said: “With this law Scotland is leading the world in the fight to tackle dangerous climate change. The emission cuts now required by law in Scotland are the first in the world to be in line with what science tells us is needed.

“The EU should now follow Scotland’s lead and set equally ambitious targets to help get the international climate negotiations on the right path.”

The Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Duncan McLaren, said: “Scotland played a leading role in the Industrial Revolution, and now we can play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy with new green jobs for the next generation.

“Climate justice and climate science tell us we urgently need to make emission cuts of at least 42 per cent by 2020. The technology exists to deliver them. The Scottish Government must now exercise the political will to make it so.”

Scotland's Climate Change Bill comes in the same week that the Hungarian parliament took a major step towards the realisation of a climate law. On Monday evening Hungarian MPs adopted a resolution on the preparations of a climate law initiated by the Friends of the Earth Hungary and the Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development.

Around Europe, Friends of the Earth groups are asking governments to commit to annual cuts in climate changing emissions as part of the European Big Ask. Friends of the Earth's Europe-wide climate campaign aims to get governments and the European Union to commit to legally binding annual cuts in emissions to fight climate change. The Big Ask calls on the European Union to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within Europe by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2050.

Jun 22, 2009

El Salvador: Your planet needs you!

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 22, 2009 11:30 AM
Filed Under:

'Your planet needs you! Together against climate change' was this year's slogan for the UN's World Environment day on June 5. In recognition of this Friends of the Earth El Salvador chose the day to begin their Second International Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change meeting.

CESTA: movement of victims affected by climate changeThe meeting was held in La Canoa del Bajo Lempa community which is in a region frequently affected by floods and droughts.

More than 100 environmental and community leaders from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Chile among others, discussed issues such as the seriousness of climate change from the social and economic impacts to the political causes.

One reason for the event was also to create partnerships with the various groups that attended the meeting. There were movements against mining, dam construction, groups working for food sovereignty and indigenous leaders looking to identify and learn from each others' struggles.

The Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change (MOVIAC) is an initiative of Friends of the Earth International  and aims to give affected peoples a voice. This is of particular importance in Central American where each year the region is battered by hurricanes and floods displacing communities and resulting in many deaths and injuries.


El Salvador was on the receiving end of Hurricane Mitch in 1988 when 400 people lost their lives and more recently Hurricane Stan in 2005 when 32 people lost their lives. Tropical storms also cost many lives each year and the resulting floods can destroy whole communities.


change from above

Friends of the Earth El Salvador believes that in the last few years their government has not assumed responsibility to face environmental problems and has no policies to fight the phenomena produced by climate change.


The group is calling on the new Government to halt the execution of mega projects that destroy ecosystems and displace communities, creating more poverty and environmental vulnerability.


The government cite the global economic crisis for their inacction on climate change, in response to this Ricardo Navarro, President of Friends of the Earth El Salvador said:

"In the scheme of things the current economic crisis is not significant and can't be compared to the environmental crisis to come."


Photo: Ricardo Navarro, President of Friends of the Earth El Salvador/CESTA addresses attendees at the Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change meeting.

Jun 18, 2009

Bonn climate talks

by PhilLee — last modified Jun 18, 2009 01:19 PM

From June 1-12 2009, delegates from 182 countries were in Bonn discussing key negotiating texts which would serve as the basis for critical climate talks in Copenhagen this December.

Young FoEE Bonn - Group ShotWhilst the Friends of the Earth International delegation were stressing to delegates inside the conference centre about the world's need for a just climate agreement in Copenhagen, outside activists from Young Friends of the Earth were making plenty of undiplomatic noise.


At the end of the first week of the conference the 50 young activists from Young Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth International called for the leaders to be "kept behind after school" for their failure to take action to achieve fair solutions to the climate crisis.

Activists wearing masks with the faces of government leaders took their place in a classroom built outside the Maritim Hotel in Bonn. The leaders will be forced to write out that they must commit to reduce their carbon emission by at least 40% by 2020, to repay their climate debt and to promise not to invest in offsets, coal and nuclear.

Friends of the Earth International is critical of the role that industrialised countries are playing in the UN climate negotiations, by avoiding taking action at home, promoting carbon offsetting and other false solutions to the climate crisis.

Young FoEE Bonn Aciton 4Claire Prizeman, a Young Friends of the Earth Europe activist said: “Rich countries must do their homework and promise to radically cut their emissions and give up on false solutions like offsetting, so-called clean coal and nuclear if we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Rich countries have to live up their historical responsibilities and act now for climate justice.”

Sam Fleet, a member of the Friends of the Earth Europe communication team was at the conference with Young FoEE where he blogged about his experience. You can read his blog posts below and also watch videos and see photos of the actions that took place, including the outdoor classroom. 


blog posts

Sam Fleet's post for FoEI:







Jun 04, 2009

FoE campaigner calls for an end to offsetting

by Krista Stryker — last modified Jun 04, 2009 02:24 PM

Tom Picken, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland urges delegates at the UN climate talks in Bonn to abandon carbon offsetting and look for real long term solutions to combat climate change.

Tom PickenOn June 5, 2009, at the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany, Tom Picken, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland delivered a speech on climate change. In the speech, he condemned the practice of offsetting carbon emissions for combating climate change and urged delegates to find a more effective solutions.


Here is an extract of the address he gave

What is the cost if you don’t achieve your task? Is it the escalating financial cost predicted?

Is it the 300,000 deaths every year, happening right now, directly the result of climate change - according to Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum?

Is it the political cost that Annex I governments will have to pay back home if they fail to set their own targets – with no-one else to point the finger at and blame?

Or, will the cost of failure be deception? Saying you will act, announcing targets, but then offset this commitment to developing countries that have disproportionately suffered the consequences of over-consumption and currently emit but a fraction of the per capita carbon of industrialised countries? 

It is possible to avoid these costs getting worse, but first, this group must finish its task.

The targets submitted by Parties before this meeting are totally unacceptable.

We have clear demands. We demand an aggregate Annex I reduction of more than 40% by 2020 on the table here in Bonn. This is a simple assessment of what science and equity demands, and of what the timetable work plan demands of you. 

New commitments however will only have meaning if they are actually achieved, not watered down. 

Offsetting has failed – it fails the climate and it fails the people of both developed and developing countries. 

Offsetting is used as an excuse for inaction in Annex I countries that carry on polluting business as usual. 

Offsetting does not ensure positive sustainable development in, or sufficient financial transfers to, even big developing countries. Offsetting is not the tool for achieving financial and technology flows. 

Offsetting cannot be reformed, it must not be expanded; offsetting must be scrapped once and for all. 

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to avoid dangerous climate change, not avoid responsibility. 

Real targets, achieved for real, now.


Tom Picken, campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales, Northern Ireland in Bonn