TIANJIN, CHINA, Saturday, October 9, 2010 — With talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change set to close here today, members of Friends of the Earth International said they were disappointed by the lack of progress, particularly rich countries’ threats to abandon their existing legal commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

At the same time, they said that some hope had emerged that headway could be made on one issue at least — climate finance — at the upcoming UNFCCC conference in Cancun.

Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth International said:

“Unfortunately, what we saw in Tianjin was backsliding on the commitments rich countries have already made, not forward progress. Rich countries are still refusing to meet their obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide funds for developing countries to deal with climate change. Now, rather than honoring their existing legal commitments, they are immorally trying to shift the burden to developing countries and extract further concessions from them. A second period of pollution reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol is essential. We must progress toward this second period in Cancun, as the first one expires in 2012.”

Friends of the Earth U.S.’s Karen Orenstein said:

“While rich countries’ backtracking has been tremendously disappointing, there is at least one sign of hope to emerge from Tianjin. The establishment of a global climate fund under the authority of the UNFCCC appears within reach. The devil, though, is in the details. The fund must be designed entirely within the UNFCCC with no role for the World Bank. And the United States must stop holding the fund hostage to new demands on poorer countries. Rich countries’ legal as well as ethical obligation to provide financial resources to developing countries must not be treated as conditional.”

Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland’s Asad Rehman said:

“We saw in Tianjin a similar dynamic to what we saw in Copenhagen, with rich countries refusing to do their part to solve the problem. But something new is happening too. A growing international climate justice movement is taking to the streets and putting increasing pressure on political leaders. That movement will be crucial to our ability to achieve progress in Cancun.”


Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth U.S. Tel: +86 131 020 994 25 (valid only until Oct. 9) or +1 703 587 4454 or email nberning@foe.org

Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth International, meenaco@pd.jaring.net (in Tianjin)