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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.

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