POZNAN, POLAND, December 10, 2008 – Marking the United Nations Human Rights Day, Friends of the Earth International has warned that industrialized nations’ inaction on climate change at the UN climate talks flies in the face of international human rights obligations.

Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia said:

“The world’s most impoverished people are the most affected by climate change yet did not contribute to it – it flies in the face of their human rights that industrialized countries are still failing to make immediate, steep reductions in their carbon emissions.”

“The UN climate talks standstill is squarely to blame on the governments of industrialized countries in the European Union as well as Japan, Australia, Canada and the US – they are dragging their feet instead of fulfilling their legal obligations to mitigate climate change,” she added.

The 194 nations which signed on to the UN climate convention have the legal obligation to protect human rights through mitigation of climate change, but greenhouse gas emissions keep on rising across industrialized nations despite their obligations to cut their emissions.

Industrialized countries have grown rich emitting greenhouse gases and causing climate change and have a historical responsibility for the increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels.

Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, industrialized countries must make the most cuts and finance the transition of developing countries to low-carbon economies.

So far, industrialized countries have not fulfilled their obligations and are shifting the blame for lack of progress in the talks on to major developing countries. An international agreement in which industrialized countries would shift burden on to developing countries would be unjust and inequitable.


Meena Raman, Honorary Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia: + 60 12 43 00 042 (Malaysian mobile number)

Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator: + 48 698 327 785 (Polish mobile number valid until Dec. 13 only)

Friends of the Earth International media line: +48 662 964 285 (valid only until 13 December 2008); or +44 7921 039636