Dec 07, 2009
Copenhagen – As climate negotiations open in Copenhagen, civil society organizations around the world issued the following statement strongly criticizing the Danish government for acting in a biased, manipulative and nontransparent manner in its role as President of the Conference of the Parties:
We, the undersigned civil society groups, express our concern over
the actions of the Danish government in its role as President of the
UNFCCC Conference of Parties.
The historic Copenhagen Climate Conference has yet to begin and a lengthening list of concerns is being raised by governments and by members of civil society:
- We criticize the undemocratic practices adopted by the Danish
Prime Minister of convening small and exclusive groups of countries
before the Copenhagen meeting, excluding the vast majority of countries
whose futures are at stake in the negotiations.
criticize the Danish Prime Minister’s decision to produce draft
“Copenhagen Accords” before the meeting has even started. These have
been circulated to a select few governments, excluding others. They
have been produced in spite of on-going negotiations under the UNFCCC
and prejudge the outcome of good-faith negotiations among all Parties.
further criticize the texts on the basis that they systematically
ignore the demands of developing countries and overwhelmingly reflect
the position of Denmark and other developed countries on key issues.
They seek to shift the burden of addressing climate change from those
who caused it to those who suffer its worst effects.
- We criticize the Danish Prime Minister’s consistent disregard for the concerns of developing countries by downgrading expectations for Copenhagen to a “political agreement” and by falsely stating that the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.
These actions are inconsistent with the duty of the Danish Government in its neutral role as President of the Conference of Parties. They are an attack on the democratic processes of UN negotiations. And they are an affront to the interest of small and poor countries in the negotiations.
Further actions of this kind threaten the trust that is the very foundation of a fair and effective deal in Copenhagen. They undermine the capacity of the Danish Government to play a constructive role in the negotiations. Left unchecked, they threaten a Copenhagen collapse.
Copenhagen must mark an historic turning point. Parties have placed their trust in Denmark’s good reputation as a fair and impartial player.
We therefore call for:
- The COP President to serve in an even-handed and unbiased manner;
- A fair, open and transparent process; and
- The full participation of all countries in an inclusive manner.
The imperative in Copenhagen is not to seal a deal at any costs – but to provide the opportunity for the nations of the world to work together to secure one that is fair and effective.
We call on Denmark to support such a process. The world is watching.
Quotations from representatives of organizations signing the statement
Raman Mehta from Action Aid India said:
“The global community trusted the Danish government to host a fair and transparent process but they have betrayed that trust. Most importantly, they are betraying those who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and whose voices are not being heard. This unfair behaviour strikes a blow to all efforts to achieve justice and equity in the climate change negotiations process.”
Meena Raman from the Third World Network said:
“The Danish government’s biased actions threaten the trust that is the very foundation of a fair and effective deal in Copenhagen and, left unchecked, these actions will cause the collapse of the Copenhagen process. The whole world is watching.”
Palle Bendsen from NOAH/Friends of the Earth Denmark said:
“Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen is betraying the long-held and sacred tradition of Danish hospitality and decency. Danes cannot expect to be crowned a hero of the climate negotiations with this unfair behaviour. There’s more at stake than the Danish government’s public image – the lives of millions and the future of our planet are on the line.”
Asia Indigenous Women’s Network
Centre for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project, South Africa
Center for Encluntes and Active Non-Violence, Austria
Concerned Citizens Against Climate Change
Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of Siberian Forest, Russia
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Phillipines
Global Forest Coalition
Indigenous Environmental Network, North America
International Forum on Globalization, USA
International Rivers, USA
National Forum for Advocacy, Nepal
National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, India
Presencia Ciudadana Mexicana A.C., Mexico
Rainforest Foundation UK, United Kingdom
Red Mexicana de Accion frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC), Mexico
Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria (REMA), Mexico
Society for New Initiatives and Activities, Italy
Tibet Justice Center, USA
Third World Network
Union de Grupos Ambientalistas, Mexico
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
World Development Movement, UK
Dec 02, 2009
A new report by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Friends of the Earth Europe shows that Europe can and must cut its emissions by 40% in 2020 and 90% in 2050.
Just a week ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, a new study released Tuesday, December 2nd by the Stockholm Environment Institute in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe proves for the first time that Europe could double its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020.
The report, titled ‘Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge: Domestic Actions and International Obligations to Protect the Planet,' shows how Europe can cut its emissions by 40% in 2020, and by 90% in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Europe is currently only aiming for half of those reductions.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “This study proves that it is possible for Europe to deliver its fair share of necessary global emission cuts. A 40% cut by 2020 in Europe is feasible and affordable, and it can be done without resorting to dangerous or unproven solutions. The EU can make these cuts in a way which not only improves the quality of life for people in Europe, but also ensures the rights of poorer parts of the world to develop sustainably.”
The study also shows that drastic cuts by the EU will not be enough and that the EU and other countries must support the developing world's climate challenge. It suggests that the EU should contribute between €150 and €450 billion per year to developing countries, or less than €3 per person per day. Only the combination of a reduction in emissions by the EU as well as the provision of adequate finances for the EU will be enough to fight climate change.
Dr. Charles Heaps of the Stockholm Environment Institute, lead author of the report and a senior scientist in SEI’s climate and energy program, said: “Our analysis shows that deep cuts in emissions can be achieved in Europe at reasonable cost between now and 2050. The scale and speed of changes required may seem daunting...but the potential costs of inaction are so large that doing nothing presents a far more implausible and dangerous future pathway for Europe.”
Read the full report here.
Sep 17, 2009
Friends of the Earth International is proud to be associated with The Age of Stupid, director Franny Armstrong's new film illustrating the disastrous effects of climate change.
The premiere of The Age of Stupid took place worldwide on September 21/22 on the International Day of Climate Action. Friends of the Earth groups that took part in the screening included Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Romania and many more.
Celebrities and politicians from all over the globe put their weight behind the film. The New York premiere alone was attended by Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson, Moby, The Age of Stupid's Oscar-nominated star Pete Postlethwaite and filmmakers Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillett.
Many other celebrities arrived in New York by sailing boat, bike, rickshaw, electric car or skateboard before walking down the green (not red!) carpet.
Let's hope the film will inspire people in developed countries to cut down on their carbon emissions and call for a just agreement at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December.
For information about the film and how you can still see it go to The Age of Stupid website.
Watch the trailer here:
Sep 09, 2009
Young Friends of the Earth urge you to Act Now on climate change. Watch the ice melt!
To All Politicians,
I am asking you to do the right thing in Copenhagen; you have our lives in your hands.
Your commitment to our environment will affect the lives of our future generations and how and if they can live in this world.
Remember, with climate change, there are no second chances; we cannot rectify your mistakes.
Yours in Peace
Aug 14, 2009
On June 5 Friends of the Earth El Salvador began their Second International Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change meeting. Below is the declaration, translated from Spanish, that came out of the meeting.
In the intense heat of Padre Octavio Ortiz community, in canton La Canoa, in El Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, more than a hundred representatives of movements, organizations and networks of Central America believe that life is a right and defending it, a duty.
We are convinced that our actions should be aimed at fighting for survival, which is tougher for our communities every day.
We met to analyze the impacts of climate change we suffer every day in our communities, which manifests in the form of floods or droughts, hurricanes and tornados, but also in the voracity of transnational corporations and governments that fail to respect the cycles of Mother Earth and prefer to get astronomical profits than preserve the balanced life of our communities.
To avoid an environmental catastrophe it is urgent to make immediate fundamental changes in the political, social and economic global system, so that environmental wisdom and social considerations prevail over the private economic interests and that the important decisions are taken by the local, peasant and indigenous communities, instead of by big transnational corporations.
We declare that
What was expressed in the “Central American statement of the peoples and communities affected by climate change” (El Salvador, June 2008) is a constant feature of our Central American and global reality and we affirm our commitments expressed there as social organizations, which are part of the global movement for Climate Justice NOW!
We are part of a struggle based on the mobilization and dissemination, resistance and transformation.
Mobilization and dissemination as awareness raising and communication to the rest of the society at all levels: communities, local, regional, national and international.
Resistance such as the defense of programs and projects that continue threatening the life such as the destruction of forests, mining, big hydroelectric dams, mega highways, free trade agreement, etc.
Transformation such as drafting and implementing proposals to guarantee survival. Water, food, medicine, energy, food processing, etc.
We work in regional and international strategic alliances based on political trust, affinity, solidarity and reciprocity between organizations and local communities.
We assume the ethical and moral commitment of exposing those who attempt against our purpose of survival, resistance and transformation.
We commit ourselves to
To be the voice of thousands of victims and people affected who suffer every year as a result of the climate crisis.
To watch, expose and criticize the positions or measures of the governments to tackle climate change, by promoting our vision as a social movement of victims and people affected.
To make alliences based on the principles of struggle, solidarity, local work, which enable us to strengthen our work related with others that are similar to us in the rest of Central America.
To promote the Regional Tribunal for Climate Justice Initiative, which holds the actual guilty, responsible for the causes and effects of climate change.
To urge the governments and international institutions to not pay the external debt, by recognizing the ecological and climate debt to our countries.
To relaunch joint, coordinated actions in all the region against climate change and the policies that are its cause like Free Trade Agreements, Debt and policies of privatization and exfoliation of resources like mining, oil, agrofuels and hydroelectric dams.
To create mechanisms of effective communication between the grassroots communities, organizations and international networks like Friends of the Earth, REDLAR, OILWATCH, Vía CAMPESINA, MAELA and many others working nationally such as Redes y Frentes contra la Minería, all linked with the actions of mobilizing, resisting and transforming. As a way to spread the messages, vision, mission and work of the networks, organizations and peasant and indigenous sectors.
We want a direct and loyal commitment to struggle in all the possible fora and representations to link our local, national and international struggles with the effect of Climate Change, that is why we talk about Climate Justice Now...where the communities feel totally identified.
The governments of the South to represent the real interests of their peoples and to take a non negotiable position to transnational corporations and their lobbyists, the governments of each country should reach a consensus between governments and peoples that enables to express the true will of the victims and affected. This is a demand of action to the international community that will express its position during the Conference of the Parties COP 15 in Copenhagen, in December of 2009.
The Central American governments to effectively confront the impacts of climate change in our territories, through the real participation of the communities, policies oriented to building sustainability and survival.
The positions for climate justice should be dignifying and strong in the fora and international acts, demanding the industrialized countries to drastically reduce their emissions and to pay the historic debt, by not asking our peoples to adapt, but direct action from their corporations. There should be a radical change.
The governments, to listen and include the opinions and proposals of the communities and citizen organizations in the construction of public policies related with climate change.
For a different world, a world we are all part of...with Climate Justice, Economic Justice, Energy Justice and Food Sovereignty, NOW.
Community Padre Octavio Ortiz cantón La Canoa, El Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, June 5 and 6, 2009.
Jul 21, 2009
Maria is from the Kiribati Islands in the Pacific and part of a solidarity network called the Pacific Calling Partnership. Hear her experience of facing the destruction of her homeland and her call to global leaders to act fast to preserve her way of life and that of millions of others.
Jul 16, 2009
The director of Friends of the Earth El Salvador (CESTA) talks about raising awareness about climate change.
Ricardo Navarro from was recently interviewed on Climate Radio to give a Southern perspective on the current climate emergency. Ricardo won the Goldman prize for sustainable development in 1995.
He spoke about how a new regional Movement of Climate Change Affected Peoples is responding to the pressures of climate change with awareness raising, permaculture techniques and low-level technologies as well as putting up resistance to inappropriate development. He also gave a wider perspective on the United Nations climate talks which he has been attending since 1992.
Listen to the interview here.
Jul 09, 2009
Members of civil society movements gathered in Sardinia for an alternative G8 summit ahead of the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy.
As world leaders met to discuss market-based solutions to climate change and the World Bank's role in bringing about a low carbon economy during the G8 summit, members of civil society movements congregated at the alternative G8 summit to represent poor and local communities around the world. There they discussed how the transition to a low carbon economy can be managed in a way that does not harm the poor by limiting energy access or the right to develop, and adds to the empowerment of local communities to make decisions about local resources.
Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International was there and documented the event.
Read his blog posts:
more informationThe alternative G8 final summary statement
Jul 08, 2009
Ahead the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, members of civil society movements gathered in Sardinia for an alternative G8 summit. Here is their statement on the climate, energy and natural resource management crisis.
The climate crises into which the world has been plunged is a crisis that will continue to deepen unless decisive steps are taken to halt the unsustainable consumption lifestyle dependent on increasing use of fossil fuels. Today the world has a clear path that needs to be taken to directly tackle the climate crisis and this is a common sense approach of simply keeping fossil fuels in the soil. We drilled our way into this crisis and further drilling will not get us out of it.
The climate crises finds its root causes in the energy crises, over-consumption of natural reources by the global North and elites worlwide, wasteful and harmful production patterns and a fundamentally undemocratic and anti-social way of managing natural resources, which systematically prevented local communities from their sovereignity on their own resources and development choices.
The story of the extractive industry has been the story of crude exploitation that defies boundaries of decency. Pristine environments, nature reserves, indigenous territories and biodiversity hotspots have not been respected by oil and mining corporations which have benefited of massive profits without giving reparation and enjoying immunity.
The resistance of local communities against large-scale mining and fossil fuel development is part of their historical struggle against the neo-liberal economic framework which continues to bring sufferings and injustice to the people. In many instances, the aggressive entry of large-scale mining and energy have violated the human rights and other rights of local communities, particularly the indigenous peoples and nature's rights. These human rights violations are reflected in the forced physical and cultural displacements of communities, the misinterpretation or misuse of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the division of social relationships, and the loss of livelihoods and access to natural resources.
No global climate deal fixing general emission reduction targets in the long-term will be enough to tackle the climate emergency and responsibilities of those who generated it. Current climate talks do not refer to the need to implement different energy, transport, housing, agriculture policies and new approaches in other sectors of society. Nor do they foster the need to consume less, in particular in Northern countries. The global climate narrative is taking us away from the main goal that any action should have: to extract and consume less and less fossil fuels.
The Northern countries must adopt drastic changes in their consumption patterns and lifestyles, that will reduce the demands for energy and minerals. In turn this will eliminate the pressures from Southern countries to allocate lands for large-scale mining and fossil fuel development, thus reducing current harsh conflicts over land use.
At the same time a radical transition out of the oil economy would stop plans for new large scale infrastructure, such as pipelines, refineries and transport facilities, connnected to the fossil fuel industry.
The G8 approach to the climate crises remains limited and confined in the territory of market based mechanisms and the primacy of the private sector. This approach has already proved to be a failure and to favour only corporations to accumulate more profits, does not pay for reparation for damages to the environment and communities generated so far and avoid transforming their business.
In a responsible and mature manner international social movements are proposing instead a comprehensive bottom-up strategy to tackle climate change, centred on individual, communities and public institutions' responsibilities and aimed at limiting corporations' capacity to avoid their legal and ethical responsibilities.
There are thousands of alternative practices at community and local administration's level and already several policy proposals at local, national and international level have been tabled as part of this bottom-up strategy. Without public policies in the public interest transforming
any sector of society no climate strategy will be effective and no just transition towards a sustainable and fair society will happen.
PHASING OUT THE OIL ECONOMY
Oil driven economics have led the world into unprecedented levels of diverse crises, wars and other conflicts, corrruption as well as other catastrophes that have been displaced from sources to their victims, who are found mostly in the South. Oil has been presented as a cheap energy source, but the truth is that the real cost of oil has been externalised and the burden has been placed on impoverished local communities as well as on the environment. Without realising it, the world has become addicted to crude oil and its derivatives in a way that virtually stuffs petroleum into our bodies. This addiction must be broken.
Carbon emissions should be drastically reduced and a transition to a different model of production and consumption is urgently needed in order to break the dependency of our economy on fossil fuels extraction. Oil extraction hardly ever brings benefits to the local communities and to the poor. To the contrary, it is a threat to food security and human rights of indigenous and local people.
The current market value of the oil is far less than the massive climate and ecological debt the product has accumulated. We declare that the oil economy is a bankrupt system that needs to be urgently jettisoned. Oil should be kept in the soil as the safest, most democratic and cheaper “carbon capture and storage”. Ecuadorian proposal not to extract oil in the Yasuni park and the Nigeria proposal to stop new oil exploration should be supported.
Keeping oil in the ground is a necessary condition to stop deforestation and protect natural forests, where most of new oil reserves are located.
STOPPING THE NEW OIL FRONTIER
Gluttony of energy makes the companies move onto new sources, such as tar sands and bitumen. These new frontiers of oil extraction are economically, environmentally and socially unsustainable and irresponsible. By using huge water, energy and land they cause irreversible damage to the environment and the climate, which is unprecedented in history. This new extraction causes more impacts than oil and it is set to raise new levels of conflicts and nature devastation. Even with the addition of these dirtier sources of oil, the unsatiable energy appetite will still not be satisfied.
In order to achieve the needed shift in our economy there should not be new oil exploration, both in the South and in the North. Governments should stop putting the private interest of oil companies before the public interest and the fundamental rights of communities in the South and in the North.
Today as access to new fields become more difficult, oil corporations are moving further into deep waters. Moving to deep waters may limit direct conflict with local communities but they pose great dangers of further polluting our global marine heritage. Exploitation in deep waters is also known to release higher levels of greenhouse gases thus further jeopardising the world climate. We demand that further oil explorations should be halted forthwith for the sake of the climate and for the sake of our collective patrimony.
STOP UNDER-MINING LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
It is necessary to clearly distinguish between traditional, indigenous, artisanal small-scale mining and large-scale mining. We have observed and documented that destructive large-scale mining is incompatible to many of the cultural systems of indigenous peoples and local communities.
In almost all large-scale mining operations and projects, there is lack of proper and genuine consultations with the communities who are going to be affected. In cases where public consultations are allegedly conducted, these are often superficial, not culturally-sensitive, biased and are in some cases, misleading or coercive. There have been too many documented cases of mining companies resorting to bribery of communities and employing “divide-and-rule” tactics.
There is a need for a serious assessment of what are the needs of society that justify the extraction of large volumes and quantities of minerals. In the case of gold, less than 5% is actually used for industrial purposes, about 65% is used for jewelry and ornaments, and about 30% are retained as gold reserves by national banks. An alternative framework on large-scale mining should be based on the rational need of the country for these minerals, the direct link of using these minerals for national industrialization, and ensuring the least impact of these mining operations on the rights of the communities and people and to the environment. Food security and sovereignty should always be prioritized as well as ecological balance, equity and social justice. There shall be no compromise on human rights, dignities and collectivities. In the context, the option of keeping the minerals in the ground becomes a possibility.
There is a need to expose the myth of “Responsible Mining”. This concept was a back-up framework of the International Council on Mines and Minerals (ICMM), after their original concept of “Sustainable Mining” was successfully debunked by many civil society organizations and movements. Responsible mining is a weak concept because it relies on voluntary compliance of mining companies, it highly depends on the ability of governments to enforce legal policies, it fails to address issues of corporate and state corruption, and merely gives token recognition to safeguards such as EIAs, FPICs, etc.)
Upholding the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and prioritizing community-based and community-initiated development and management of resources should be the priority of social movements. While we continue to work in solidarity with countries in the North, community organizing and strengthening should always be given due importance. Capacities of indigenous peoples and local communities should be developed and strengthened to make them more capable of resisting development aggression. The same capacities will also enable them to identify, develop and implement appropriate and sustainable alternatives
RECLAIMING PUBLIC POLICIES FOR THE COMMON GOOD
Time is running out and it is no more time for inactions or for embarking on the same journeys that led the world into the current crises. The climate debate must be reframed. Real actions such as moving away from over consumption is one path to take. It needs to be recognised that market frameworks have failed miserably on the financial and economic front and cannot help in tackling climate change. Carbon trading is not the solution, but risks to exhacerbate the problem.
Governments should stop once and for all to promote corporate interests and promote public policies aimed at supporting a different economic model centred on a sustainable use of natural recources, to reduce consumption, to consume mainly local productions, to protect the environment and human rights, including the rights of directly affected communities to choose how to manage the resources of their own territories.
Resources needed for financing such a change should be generated through fair, transparent and progressive taxation. At international level resources should not be allocated to international financial institutions which are still heavily supporting irresponsible mining activities and fossil fuel development worldwide.
The lifestyle change must also lead us to use sustainable local materials in tune with climate and weather realities in any productive sector of society, including building houses. This requires the simple acts of waste reduction, reusing and recycling. Technologies and new practices are not missing at all, the issue is democracy in the access to them and the need for social and just policies which guarantee access to all in the appropriate manner and in a democratic and controlled way, putting at the centre the communities and their right to decide which development to follow in the respect of nature and human rights.
An urgent transition to a post carbon economy is needed. Leaving new oil in the soil, coal in the hole and tar sand in the land is the right path to take now. It is time for the payment of ecological debt that the North owe to the South, that the rich owe to the poor!
The world needs to move to renewable, clean, and decentralized energy sources and meeting energy needs should not subvert food sovereignty. The world must move away from the fossil fuel intensive forms of industrial agriculture and rather support small holder farmers and agro-ecological approaches which have been shown to be more suitable and more productive than genetically engineered crops and others that depend on artificial chemical inputs.
The thinking that agrofuels are renewable energy sources and can replace fossil fuels is faulty and has already contributed to the food crisis, significant human rights violations and has triggerred massive land grabs estimated at 30 million hectares of land in the global South in attempts to meet energy and food needs of rich regions. This is a new form of colonialism that the world cannot afford. Therefore the struggle for food sovereignity should go hand in hand with the one of communities for their energy sovereignity
We have to resist corporate globalization. Building movements toward this end is very crucial as we pursue a common agenda for sustainable futures based on social justice, economic justice and ecological justice. There is a need to build or strengthen alliances among communities and support groups that are working on the issue of large-scale mining and fossil fuel extraction.
Coordination of actions at the global level is needed, as large-scale mining companies and oil and energy majors are some of the biggest and most sophisticated corporate structures, and have close links with international and multilateral financing institutions. These venues and mechanisms of generating international solidarity are important links for local communities to elevate their struggles for a better and more just world which will respect nature and its rights.
Finally, we state that the G8 cannot decide for the world. The people must!
Jun 25, 2009
The bill passed by Members of the Scottish Parliament sets a target to reduce greenhouse gases by 42 percent by 2020.
BRUSSELS, 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
'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.
The 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."
Jun 18, 2009
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.
Whilst 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.
Claire 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.
Sam Fleet's post for FoEI:
- Plans are a foot
- Young FoEE, split three ways
- Like a festival without the fun
- The flood is coming...
- Have you done your homework?
- Bingo and beach parties in Bonn
- UN Secretariat 1, Greenpeace 0
- The clock is tck tck ticking
- The flood came
- Inspired, tired and on my way home
- Silence, sincerity and snacking
- Inside the Maritim bubble
- Japan - 8 percent???
- Bonn wrap up: "plugged in"
Jun 04, 2009
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.
On 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.
May 15, 2009
Do you know what energy sovereignty is and what it means to you? These two short videos will enlighten you. The first looks at local sustainable energy initiatives, while the second looks at examples of energy sovereignty from around the world. Both have people power right at the heart of them.
Towards Solutions 1: People's Power (11 min)
Inspiring practices of and concrete proposals for sustainable energy initiatives. It is not all about technology!
Towards Solutions 2: Energy Sovereignty (8 min)
This short documentary presents the concept of energy sovereignty with examples from around the world.
Apr 22, 2009
Show yourself in support of the 'Patagonia Without Dams' campaign!
The construction of big hydroelectric dams in Patagonia would not only endanger one of the world's biggest freshwater reserves, the Northern and Southern Patagonian ice fields, but would also represent a disaster for the country's energy policy.
Chile’s relatively short rivers and small river basins are very fragile ecosystems that are of great cultural and environmental value, and yet the country has exceptionally rich resources for renewable energy and the potential for energy efficiency.
Drawing on this potential would make the construction of hydroelectric dams unnecessary and ensure this precious area of Chile is preserved.
To support the campaign, just take a photo of yourself with the phrase 'Patagonia SIN Represas' (Patagonia WITHOUT Dams). You can write the phrase on your face, hold a sign or get a tattoo - anything you like!
Then send the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be added to the growing collage of faces.
- See the photographs submitted so far and read more about 'Patagonia without Dams' (in Spanish)
- Find out more about the campaign from Friends of the Earth Chile (in Spanish)
Apr 07, 2009
British band Radiohead joined Friends of the Earth Latin America in the campaign for Climate Justice. In March 2009, as the band performed in some of the continent's largest cities, Friends of the Earth International member groups spoke to concert goers on the climate issues affecting the region and beyond.
The tour took in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aries and Santiago. At each show Friends of the Latin America were there promoting the federation's climate justice campaign.
In support of the campaign Radiohead's lead singer, Thom Yorke, said:
“The solutions to climate change already exist. We just need politicians to make the right decisions. We can all convince politicians to do the right thing.
Support Friends of the Earth's campaigns by signing up to them at our concerts or on their websites and show your governments what you want them to do against climate change”.
Here's what happened on the tour:
During the Radiohead concerts in Mexico City, on March 15 and 16, Otros Mundos Chiapas/Friends of the Earth Mexico, collected 2,000 signatures asking the Mexican authorities to comply with agreements signed on CO2 emissions relating to sectors such as public transport, large industry and mining activities.
View photos of the audience sending their message to the world.
Friends of the Earth Brazil collected 2,600 signatures before the Radiohead show in São Paolo on March 22. The signatures were in support of a bill promoting decentralised renewable energies which is currently being discussed by the government.
Carolina Hermann from FoE Brazil said that around 15 volunteers spoke to the band's fans on issues of climate justice before each show.
“The people were very receptive. When we spoke of renewable energies everyone showed an interest and wanted to collaborate” she said.
During Radiohead's concert in Buenos Aires volunteers for Friends of the Earth Argentina collected signatures calling for a law to protect South America's Glaciers.
Ten volunteers wearing white t-shirts bearing the slogan 'Glaciers. Witnesses and victims of climate change. Protect them Now' spoke to members of the audience informing them about the melting of glaciers as a result of climate change and the need for a law to protect them.
More than 1,700 people added their signatures to the campaign which will be added to the 27,000 signatures already collected on the website www.protecciónglaciares.com.ar.
In Chile volunteers from Friends of the Earth Chile/CODEFF, collected more than 6,200 signatures during Radiohead's two performances in Santiago on March 26 and 27.
The signatures also called on the government to create a law to protect glaciers. This is part of CODEFF's sustainability and climate justice campaign. The campaign aims to raise public awareness about the main causes and impacts of climate change.
When signing, many people welcomed Friends of the Earth International's climate campaign and pointed out that these kinds of initiatives are necessary to let people in Latin America know about the problem and to inform them about how they can protect the environment.
Apr 02, 2009
Friends of the Earth activists in Australia did more than just switch off their lights for Earth Hour this year.
By occupying Hazelwood Power Station near Melbourne, the activists sent a clear message to state and federal governments: 'Switch off Coal and Switch on Renewables'.
Hazelwood is the most polluting power station in the industrialised world, emitting an astonishing 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The forty-year-old power station is responsible for over 5% of Australia’s total carbon emissions and, by shutting down Hazelwood, the Australian government would instantly meet their 5% emission reduction target.
"Governments are happy to provide token support for climate change by switching off their lights for an hour, once a year, but if they are serious on climate change it's clear Hazelwood needs to be decommissioned this year," said FoE Australia climate campaigner, Louise Morris.
"This Earth Hour we need to acknowledge it is time to do so much more than just switch off our lights for an hour. We need to switch off our reliance on dirty coal and switch onto job rich renewable energy sources."
Hundreds of millions of people 'voted earth' on 28th March by switching off their lights for one hour. The event took place across 25 time zones in over 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries and represented the world’s largest demonstration of public concern about climate change.
Mar 16, 2009
Examples of member group campaigns from australia to swaziland.
australia: climate justice for pacific islanders - recognition of rights of climate refugees
The Pacific Region will be one of the worst affected by climate change due to their extreme geographic vulnerability. In November 2005, the 1000 residents of the Carteret atolls in the Pacific became the first people in the world to be officially evacuated due to climate change. Starting as soon as money is available to the Papuan New Guinean regional government, 10 families at a time will be moved to Bougainville, a larger island 62 miles away. Friends of the Earth Australia is activity campaigning for the culturally-sensitive relocation of Carteret Islanders, financed by regional historical polluters such as the Australian government.
malaysia: mangrove restoration for fisherfolk livelihood protection
SAM/Friends of the Earth Malaysia has a long-standing collaboration with fisherfolk in Penang working with them to protect marine areas and ensure their livelihoods. The impacts of climate change on marine resources and increase in extreme weather events has lead SAM to take practical action to support local Penang communities in mangrove restoration as well as undertake an education and awareness raising campaign on climate change causes and it´s projected impacts.
haiti: building resilience to water shortages and supporting food sovereignty
Haiti Survive/Friends of the Earth Haiti has been working on training and research on climate change impacts for a number of years and from this has been able to identify adaptation actions to help communities cope with the effects of climate changes. A priority project that Haiti Survive is currently implementing is a community rainwater harvesting adaptation project to collect and store water for the dry season. This project is reinforcing food sovereingty activities in the local communities, increasing their resiliance to impacts of climate change on food systems.
swaziland: education and resistance to vulnerability
Yonge Nawe/Friends of the Earth Swaziland runs a creative education and popular communication campaign to provide rural and urban communities in Swaziland with information about climate change and impacts. Yonge Nawe is also actively campaigning against inequitable development that threatens the resilience of those vulnerable to climate risks, such as timber plantations and processing plants that dry up the water resources of communities and the effluent has polluted the remaining rivers – destroying fisheries and increasing water stress.
'voices of the peoples affected by climate change'
Friends of the Earth International produced a testimonial publication with 9 case studies from communities from across the world documenting the way in which climate change is impacting on their lives and the resilience of communities to protect themselves from these impacts through co-operation and organisation. Download the publication in english, french and spanish.
Jan 25, 2009
Each year the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change holds negotiating sessions known as the "COP" (conference of parties). The most recent one was COP14, that took place in Poznań, Poland in December 2008.
Read our final speech to the delegates and direct reports from Poznań on our blog
news: what did friends of the earth say
- Rich nations to blame for climate inaction and rejection of rights [Dec 12]
- Young people meet EU ministers to demand they 'wrap up' climate change [Dec 11]
- Climate change talks standstill: a human rights threat [Dec 10]
- World Bank unfit to manage climate funds [Dec 8]
The Climate negotiations in brief
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Summit and provides a principles of equity for a multilateral agreement on addressing climate change including the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. This reflects the rich, industrialised nations’ overwhelming contribution to historical emissions and therefore their responsibility in acting first to bring down their national emissions.
After a number of years of intense negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11th December 1997 and it the Protocol attempts to implement the principles of the Convention agreement. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012 and governments are currently negotiating the second commitment period of the Protocol as well as addressing the 'implementation gap' of other Convention commitments for finance, technology transfer and adaptation.
These talks are scheduled to be completed in December 2009.
Kyoto comes into force
The Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005 after the Russian Parliament ratified the treaty in 2004. Kyoto commits industrialized countries who have ratified it to individual, legally binding targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to and average of 5% from 1990 levels in by 2012.
Climate negotiations continue in Poznań
Each year the UNFCCC holds negotiating sessions known as the "COP" (conference of parties). The most recent one was COP14, that took place in Poznań, Poland in December 2008. Delegates continued their work on the "Bali Action Plan" which was agreed at COP 13. The purpose of the Bali Action Plan is to commence implementation on Convention obligations that have not been met thus far, and also design the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to start after 2012.
Read the reports from the conference on the Friends of the Earth International blog
Friends of the Earth International believes that for the outcomes of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol under the current negotiations to be deemed as legitimate, any agreement reached must be socially, politically, economically and ecologically just and compliant with human rights. Only with a radical global change which is based on climate justice we will be able to prevent the worst consequences of climate change which would hit the poorest people hardest in a sustainable way.
A post-2012 agreement must commit developed countries (Annex I) to make immediate steep emission reductions, support for the respect of land rights and the conservation of the world’s last remaining forests. In addition Annex I countries must make large-scale financial transfers for developing country appropriate adaptation and mitigation with arrangements for appropriate and fair multilateral mechanisms to distribute funds.
Such an agreement should also ensure that the human rights impacts of climate change are taken into account and that the public and civil society have rights of information; public participation and access to justice to ensure that its provisions are developed and applied in an open, fair, transparent and just way.
On the closing day of the COP14 negotiations Friends of the Earth International were invited to give their verdict on the conference. Read it here
REDD myths: A comprehensive critique of a new scheme intended to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries.
Read updates from the conference on the Friends of the Earth International blog
- Rich nations to blame for climate inaction and rejection of rights [Dec 12]
- Young people meet EU ministers to demand they 'wrap up' climate change [Dec 11]
- Climate change talks standstill: a human rights threat [Dec 10]
- World Bank unfit to manage climate funds [Dec 8]
- Climate talks pressured by global day of action [Dec 5]
- UN climate talks: clash on climate goal [Dec 4]
- Giant loophole in forest plans [Dec 2]
- Forest carbon trading exposed (REDD) [Nov 27]
- Read our climate position paper for the talks [pdf]
- Read Friends of the Earth International's analysis of COP13 in Bali (2007)
- Find out what happened at the intersessional negotiations in Accra, Ghana (2008)
- The World Bank and climate change