November 30, 2009, Copenhagen Denmark – More than two million supporters of Friends of the Earth International worldwide want the United Nations (UN) climate talks talking place from 7 to 18 December to become a milestone towards ‘Climate Justice’, but the chances of achieving a just and effective UN agreement in Copenhagen are extremely slim. [1]

“Rich countries are responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today and must immediately commit to steep and legally binding reductions of their emissions. These reductions must take place without offsetting and without other false solutions such as agrofuels, nuclear energy or so-called ‘clean coal’,” said Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria.

Negotiators at the Copenhagen talks are expected to agree to binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the second phase of the UN Kyoto Protocol, which starts in 2013. This Protocol is the only treaty that enforces emissions reductions on industrialized, developed countries.

Greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change and impoverished people and communities –who have contributed least to these emissions- are the most affected by climate change, according to the UN.

Meena Raman from Friends of the Earth Malaysia said:

“The divide-and-rule tactics of rich countries have cast a dark shadow over the run-up to Copenhagen, which has led to legitimate and strong opposition by developing countries. If Copenhagen is to be any different developed countries must change their mindsets or potentially face more delays, walk-outs or a collapse of the talks.”

“Climate justice will be achieved when the countries that have the most historical responsibility for causing climate change do the most to prevent further damage, and substantially reduce their own emissions at home,” added Meena Raman.

To demonstrate their desire for climate justice, thousands of people are expected to ‘flood’ the streets of Copenhagen in the morning of December 12 in a march organized by FoEI to demand climate justice and an end to carbon offsetting, which is a false solution to climate change. [2]

“Carbon offsetting – when developed countries buy carbon credits from developing countries to avoid cutting emissions themselves – has no part to play in a just international agreement to fight climate change. Developed countries must tackle climate change by making immediate and real change at home,” said Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El Salvador.

During the Copenhagen talks Friends of the Earth International campaigners will lobby negotiators and deliver a petition signed by more than 30,000 people urging world leaders to do the right thing in Copenhagen by effectively protecting our climate and people all over the world. [3]

Campaigners will also strengthen the climate justice movement through mobilizations, debates and activities at the alternative civil society summit known as ‘Klimaforum’ with allied organisations such as La Via Campesina and the World March of Women. Thousands of voices demanding climate justice will also be presented in a ‘climate capsule’ exhibition at the Klimaforum and Bella Center.

Friends of the Earth International believes that:

– Rich, developed countries should 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 owe to developing countries a climate debt that is the result of decades of pollution. This debt must be recognised and repayed, for example through massive emission reductions and through the provision of sufficient public funds democratically through the UN to fight climate change.

– The World Bank and its climate funds must be rejected as they are set to increase developing country debt and promote dirty energy such as “clean” coal.

– Major corporations and polluters are lobbying to undermine a just climate agreement and are advancing their own economic interests at the expense of people and the planet.

– Including forests in ‘carbon offsetting initiatives’ does not help to combat climate change. Instead, it diverts attention from the real solutions to climate change and deforestation. Plantations are not forests. Monoculture tree plantations must be excluded from the UN climate negotiations.


Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International, Tel: +234 80 37 27 43 95 (Nigerian mobile number) or email

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

Ricardo Navarro, Friends of the Earth El Salvador, Tel: + 503 78 88 75 67 (El Salvador mobile number) or email

For more spokespeople contact details in Copenhagen (from December 7) please send a request for our ‘spokespeople contact sheet’ to Friends of the Earth International media line: +31-6-51 00 56 30 (Dutch mobile number)


[1] For more information about the Copenhagen UN talks please send a request for our Copenhagen media briefing to

[2] For more information about the Copenhagen Flood please send a request for our ‘Flood briefing’ to

[3] For more information about the petition signed by more than 30,000 people see

Friends of the Earth International is the world’s largest grassroots environmental federation with 77 national member groups and more than 2 million individual members and supporters.