LDC Watch Joins CSO Walk-out At COP19, Warsaw

As COP19 approaches the end of the session today 22 November, climate justice civil society groups including LDC Watch staged a massive walk-out yesterday 21 November protesting the lack of ambitious action by developed countries on crucial issues of climate finance and mitigation responsibilities. On 20 November, the G77+China group of developing countries which includes LDCs also walked out of the “loss and damage” talks as developed countries were pushing this most critical issue for discussion after 2015 when the last COP18 in Doha had agreed to establish an international mechanism for “loss and damage” by this COP19.

Another key fact is that COP19 is the first UN climate talks to have corporate sponsorship which obviously spells out the corporate capture of the negotiations with corporate lobbies pushing for false solutions like carbon markets, “clean coal”, agrofuels, nuclear power, geoengineering et al in the name of clean energy, low carbon, and green economy.

The CSO walk-out was also accompanied by the release of a protest statement:

Enough Is Enough

We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan and with all climate-impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.

The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.

The Warsaw Conference started off on the wrong foot, with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction, corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue, and a Presidency that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. Things only got worse during the first week, when Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on mitigation commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously.

This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on substance. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions or support for adaptation before 2020 – and on many of these things, it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.

We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, developed country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.

Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is not to further engage in the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now going back to mobilize people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more.

Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, the polluting industrialized governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.