Dec 10, 2010
As world leaders met in Cancun, Mexico to discuss efforts to tackle global warming, Friends of the Earth International were calling on the rich industrialised countries, which have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases, to agree to urgent and dramatic cuts in their emissions starting NOW.
We're calling on developed countries to tackle climate change by urgently making real changes at home. Carbon offsetting – when developed countries buy carbon credits from developing countries to avoid cutting emissions themselves – has no part to play in a just international agreement to fight climate change.
We believe in Climate justice which means emission cuts in developed countries, and money for developing countries to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change – but it also means a change in our consumption patterns.
closing press releases and analysis
blogs and comment
Read our closing blog post from FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey
Hemantha Withanage blogs for Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka
Analysis and blogs from Friends of the Earth United States
Clearing the air: Moving on from carbon trading to real climate solutions
The international Caravan of our ally, La Via Campesina, advances for Cancun
Cancun in Brussels: The European Assembly for Climate Justice
Brussels: Don't nuke our climate!
Public encouraged to hit World Bank “Piggy Bank Piñata”
Australia: The Camp for Climate Action
Dec 08, 2010
Brussels, 8th December 2010 - Activists gathered today outside the World Bank office in Brussels, and invited members of the public to hit a World Bank “Piñata” in the shape of a piggy bank, to oppose World Bank involvement in climate finance.
The action, which took place during the second week of the UN climate change negotiations, demanded that all money to fight climate change should go through the United Nations, not the World Bank or any other multilateral development banks. The decision to establish a global climate fund under authority of the UN should be adopted at the climate negotiations currently taking place in Cancún.
The World Bank is the largest multi-lateral lender for oil and gas projects and a major actor in deforestation. It has failed to accept its own internal recommendations to stop funding destructive coal, oil and gas extraction. The World Bank is not a transparent or democratic institution and its decision-making is dominated by donor countries. It is also the world's largest carbon broker and it would be a conflict of interest for it to become the world's largest conduit for climate change mitigation funding.
The action also called for the European Union and other developed countries to provide transparent and appropriate finance, technology transfer and adaptation funding to developing countries. This is part of repaying the “climate debt” that they owe developing countries due to the large amounts of greenhouse gasses that they have emitted.
Susi Hammel, who took part in the action, said: “The European Union, and other rich industrialised countries, have a historical responsibility for causing climate change. As well as cutting their own emissions, rich nations have to transfer money and technology to developing countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change, and develop in a sustainable way. We cannot trust the World Bank to deal with climate finance, as it is not democratic or transparent, and is a major supporter of fossil fuel projects. Instead, we need to see agreement in Cancún on a global climate fund under the authority of the UN.”
Any climate finance mechanisms must be designed to ensure human rights including Indigenous Peoples’ rights are protected, false solutions are rejected, and governance structures provide transparency and accountability. Carbon trading and international offsets must not replace new public money to enable developing countries to cope with the impacts of climate change.
Dec 07, 2010
Whilst UN climate negotiations take place in Cancun, European youth have been taking action in Brussels to demand climate justice.
As part of an international day of action to oppose false solutions to the climate crisis on December 7, 30 young people from across Europe targeted European institutions and corporations which support and fund nuclear energy. The message was simple: nuclear power is unsustainable and unacceptably dangerous.
"Nuclear energy is promoted as a clean technology but the mining of uranium has massive social and environmental impacts and the problem of safe nuclear waste disposal is yet to be solved. Young people are being locked into an uncertain future where they will have to shoulder the burden of this false solution." Susi Hammel, Young Friends of the Earth Europe.
As part of a series of actions, youth demonstrated outside the European Commission to highlight its ongoing support for this dangerous technology. They also took action outside the Foratom offices, a powerful pro-nuclear lobby group, and BNP Paribas whose significant financial contributions enable the ongoing development of the nuclear industry.
"What we need are real solutions. If the negotiators in Cancun care about our future, they will choose renewable resources and opt for decentralised production and distribution of energy. This will empower communities to directly produce their energy from local, sustainable resources." said Sebastian Power from the Federation of Young European Greens.
The action took place as part of the ‘1000 Cancun’s action day’ called for by the International peasant farmers network La Via Campesina. Participants in the action are youth who have gathered from all over Europe for a two week long Climate Justice Convergence in Brussels, in parallel to the UN Climate talks in Mexico. For two weeks, over 60 young people have gathered to take action and demand climate justice.
Find out more about the Youth Climate Justice Convergence
Dec 03, 2010
The European Assembly for Climate Justice took place in Brussels from 26-29 November and brought together more than 250 people from 10 European countries for 4 days of debates, discussion, action and networking.
The event gave a clear signal that the UN climate negotiations, taking place in Cancún, Mexico must not be used to further the interests of rich industrialised countries, and big business.
The participants also discussed the way in which European countries are responding to the climate crisis – and specifically the need to ensure that action to tackle climate change also brings us closer to achieving justice within and between countries.
The assembly was inspired by the call made by La Via Campesina for “Thousands of Cancuns” during the negotiations in Cancun.
View photos from the IETA sit in
View photos and video form The European Assembly for Climate Justice
Find out more about 1000 Cancuns
Nov 26, 2010
Social movements from around the world are mobilising for the UN climate talks that will take place in Cancun from November 29 to December 10, 2010.
Thousands of women and men, people affected by the destruction of the environment, farmers, landless, Indigenous Peoples and activists from all sectors of society will gather in Cancun to propose thousands of solutions to confront the climate crisis. They will show the world leaders their opposition to the false solutions to climate change being discussed at the climate conference, such as market-based proposals on carbon trading; REDD; agrofuels; and geo-engineering.
Friends of the Earth International, together with Via Campesina and World March of Women, are calling for social movements, popular organisations and individuals around the world to amplify the calls for climate justice and to organise protests and actions rejecting false climate change solutions and to support a people’s agenda for climate justice.
Please organise or take part in a mobilisation near you on December 7, the International Day of Action. Mobilisations can take the form of marches, demonstrations, parties, festivals, discussions and much more. They can take place wherever you like: in cities, villages, schools and community centres.
Nov 17, 2010
There are hundreds of acronyms and word combinations that are baffling to all but the most seasoned climate talks follower. Where possible we try and explain the meaning of all the climate terms as they arise. However, should you find an acronym or a term that makes no sense, you will hopefully find its definition in this list.
Wealthy nations legally bound to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the U.N. Kyoto Protocol. They are responsible for the vast majority of GHG emissions historically and thus the most responsible for climate change. In the UNFCCC they are listed as 'Annex I countries'.
All the 'non-Annex I' countries of the globe, from China and India to the Least Developed Counties (LDCs). They are historically the least responsible for climate change.
ADAPTATION (to climate change)
Actions countries take to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
The main greenhouse gas. The other main ones include nitrous oxide and methane.
CDM (Clean Development Mechanism)
A mechanism used by developed countries to try to ‘offset’ their emissions. The CDM is riddled with loopholes and leads to increased emissions globally.
Speculative market where carbon certificates are traded.
Paying someone else to reduce their carbon emissions instead of cutting your own. If carbon offsetting worked optimally it would lead to zero net emissions. This system has been proved not to work but most importantly, does not lead to emission cuts. It therefore allows business to pollute as usual.
Developed nations owe a climate debt to developing ones because developed countries have emitted the vast majority of the greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere. Since this is far more than their ‘fair share’ and developed countries have over-occupied their slice of the carbon budget, it is considered a ‘debt’ that the developed world owes the developing one.
This debt must be repaid not only through money to help developing countries adjust to and prepare for climate change damage and to embark on clean energy pathways, or technology and knowledge to help build green economies, but also through action – cutting the emissions in the developed world.
Climate Justice means addressing the climate crisis using a rights-based approach. Climate justice will be achieved when the developed countries reduce their consumption and their control of the world's resources through real solutions rather than false solutions which continue to privilege a minority of the world's population.
Climate justice will be achieved when the perpetrators support the people who have to adapt to impacts of climate change. Climate justice requires a global transformation away from dominant development and economic paradigms to recognising all people’s right to a dignified life within ecological limits.
GREENHOUSE GASES (GHG)
The gases which cause the 'greenhouse effect' which is the main cause of climate change. The main GHGs are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.
MITIGATION of climate change
Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
MONOCULTURE TREE PLANTATION
Large scale area planted with only one tree species. They are even-aged, even-spaced plantings - often exotic tree species - which decrease the biodiversity of birds and insects in the area and tend to require the intensive use of chemicals to maintain them. This is not a forest but rather a ‘green desert’.
The People's AgreementAn agreement that came out of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April this year. The agreement is seen as a counter-balance to the overwhelmingly negative proposals on the table in the UN climate talks. Find out more
A market-based mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries. REDD allows developed countries to offset their carbon emissions by purchasing forest carbon credits from developing countries.
Including forests in carbon offsetting initiatives allows developed countries to buy up forests whilst continuing to pollute. It is ineffective, dangerous, and undermines efforts to stop climate change and halt deforestation.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the name given to the climate talks conducted by the United Nations that take place at various times throughout the year. The meetings where the agreements are adopted are the COPs (conference of the parties) that take place in late November/early December each year. Last year COP15 was in Copenhagen, this year COP16 is in Cancun and next year COP17 will be in Durban, South Africa.
Sep 13, 2010
Climate injustice worsens every day in Guatemala as the country is repeatedly battered by tropical storms. This year tropical storms Agatha and Alex have affected the country with heavy rains causing widespread disruption and death.
The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction reported that in the wake of the most recent storms, September 7, 46 people died, 272 were injured and 40 are missing. Meanwhile 13,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.
The Inter-American highway has been damaged and part of it is temporarily closed whilst rivers, already swollen as a result of tropical storm Agatha, continue to burst their banks.
On September 6 a bus lost control as a result of the bad weather and ended up in the Selegua river killing seven people and injuring 24. Of the injured several were associared with CEIBA/ Friends of the Earth Guatemala. Those people were Milton Santos Velásquez, Francisca Sales Velásquez, Francisca López Morales and Humberto Maldonado Méndez who were strong advocates of equal rights and the defence of territories.
Guatemala is currently in a state of emergency as a result of the recent incidents. The mudslides caused by the tropical storms Agatha and Alex have caused a great deal of damage to the country's infrastructure and the most recent storm has led to the death of many people buried by mudslides on the route of the Inter-American highway. As a result part of this vital artery linking the region's major cities is closed.
The Guatemalan President has estimated the country's losses to be more than $US160 million.
Speaking on the dire situation a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Guatemala said:
"We need to start listening to nature's call and urge the rich developed nations to stop exploiting Mother Earth and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming and environmental destruction."
Jun 09, 2010
On May 7 several members of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) were invited to be part of a delegation of global social movements and civil society organisations to join with President Evo Morales Ayma of Bolivia to present the outcomes of the Cochabamba Peoples Climate Summit to the Secretary general of the the UN, Mr Ban Ki-Moon.
The global delegation consisting of Friends of the Earth, Via Campesina, 350.org, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Third World Network, Council of Canadians as well as the Indigenous Environmental Network aimed to be representative all the peoples of the world as well as every continent of the world.
At this historic and unprecedented meeting with the Secretary General (he doesn’t usually hold meetings with civil society groups) President Morales introduced the delegation from the global movements and gave the floor to FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey and, member of the FoEI Executive Committee, Meena Raman. They had been selected as spokespeople to present the conclusions of the Peoples Summit to Ban Ki-Moon. The presentations were forceful, direct and reiterated our demands for a strong and fair global agreement within the framework of the multilateral process.
Later in the afternoon a press conference was held at the UN with Meena and Nnimmo and other representatives of global civil society. At the press conference we spoke about the Peoples Summit, the inadequacy of the Copenhagen Accord as well as the ongoing international climate negotiations. Following the press conference we joined President Morales in presenting the outcomes to the formal meeting of the G77 plus China (the UN Ambassadors of 132 countries).
The outcomes of the Peoples Summit have also been included in a formal submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requesting that they be negotiated in the next round of climate talks in Bonn this June.
Mar 11, 2010
Friends of the Earth United States has launched two television ads against the US$55 billion in loan guarantees that President Obama's administration has proposed to hand out for the construction of the first new nuclear reactors in the US in thirty years.
The 30-second television advertisements will run in South Carolina, where the state Supreme Court is set to hear a Friends of the Earth appeal related to two proposed nuclear reactors in the state; and in Georgia, where the first of the Obama Administration’s loan guarantees are slated to go to the construction of two nuclear reactors.