BARCELONA, SPAIN, 6 November 2009 — Rich countries are deliberately attempting to sidetrack UN climate negotiations towards a weak, ineffective politically binding agreement in Copenhagen – rather than fulfilling their legal obligations to agree ambitious new targets to slash their emissions – at the conclusion of the latest round of UN climate negotiations in Barcelona, warns Friends of the Earth International.

“We have seen rich countries continually seeking to ditch emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol. They are tearing down an existing, legally binding international framework, which has taken years of negotiation to establish, in an attempt to wriggle out of their responsibility to cut their emissions first and fastest,” said Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland Executive Director Andy Atkins.

“Rich countries must agree to ambitious new targets – of at least 40 per cent by 2020 without carbon offsetting – under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol if we’re to have any reasonable chance of avoiding climate catastrophe and breaking the deadlock in negotiations,” he added.

Kate Horner, Friends of the Earth US Policy Analyst, said:

“The US must also take its place alongside other rich nations in pledging strong emissions cuts. The Obama administration’s proposals for an alternative pledge and review system – where countries would propose targets for emissions targets – would leave us in the obscene situation of seeing a race to the bottom to see who can propose the lowest cuts.

“The African delegation was courageous in highlighting that rich countries have blocked steps at every turn to agree strong, fair and binding targets to slash their emissions.”

Friends of the Earth International is running an international petition demanding industrialised countries to turn climate justice into reality, asking new targets of at least 40 per cent emissions reductions, without offsetting compared to 1990 levels as well as sufficient public finance for adaptation and climate protection in the global south. The world’s people are demanding real action.

Sign our petition for a just agreement in Copenhagen –