COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — Commenting on the failure of rich country governments to secure a strong and fair UN agreement to tackle climate change in Copenhagen, Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:

“Copenhagen has been an abject failure. Justice has not been done. By delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the developed nations.

“We are disgusted by the failure of rich countries to commit to the emissions reductions they know are needed, especially the US, which is the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases. In contrast African nations, China and others in the developing world deserve praise for their progressive positions and constructive approach. Major developing countries cannot be blamed for the failure of rich industrialised countries.”

A confidential United Nations paper leaked on December 17 predicts that average temperatures rise will far exceed the 2 degree threshold set by the UN even if current international pledges are fully implemented. This is effectively a death sentence for many in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, including small island states, who had demanded a limit of 1.5 degrees.

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, added:

“Instead of committing to deep cuts in emissions and putting new, public money on the table to help solve the climate crisis, rich countries have bullied developing nations to accept far less. Those most responsible for putting the planet in this mess have not shown the guts required to fix it and have instead acted to protect short-term political interests.

“The only real leadership at the conference has come from the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who’ve come together to demand strong action to prevent climate catastrophe. Their voices are loud and growing – and Friends of the Earth International will continue to be part of the fight for climate justice.”

Friends of the Earth International has been one of the key contributors to the alternative people’s summit known as the Klimaforum with allied organisations such as La Via Campesina and the World March of Women.

Friends of the Earth will continue to fight for a strong and fair agreement to tackle climate change.

“There is a growing climate justice movement and more and more people are getting involved. This is the beginning of change. Everyone can pressure their government to take a stronger stance. Everyone can take action to tackle climate change, consuming less, saving energy and improving energy efficiency for instance,“ said Palle Bendsen from NOAH / Friends of the Earth Denmark.


– Rich, developed countries did not commit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% in comparison with 1990 levels by 2020. These cuts should be made at home – with no offsetting. Offsetting, including through the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’, is a false solution and should be rejected.

– Rich, developed countries did not acknowledge the climate debt that they owe to developing countries as a result of decades of pollution.

– The World Bank and its climate funds have not been rejected despite the fact that they are set to increase developing country debt and promote dirty energy such as “clean” coal.

– Forests are still included in ‘carbon offsetting initiatives’ and this does not help to combat climate change. It diverts attention from the real solutions to climate change and deforestation. Copenhagen talks did not state that plantations are not forests. Damaging monoculture tree plantations have not been excluded from the UN climate negotiations.

– False solutions like nuclear energy and agrofuels have not been excluded from the UN talks.



Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland, + 44 7720 147280 (+45 6178 2833)

Henry Rummins, Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland

email: or call +44 776 16 01 666 (UK mobile) or + 45 617 20 747

Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth US communications: