Yesterday was a fantastic day in Warsaw, where the Friends of the Earth International delegation including Justiça Ambiental (JA!, FoE Mozambique), joined 800 people from social movements, NGOs and Trade Unions in a massive walk-out of the COP19 climate talks.
Photo credit: Luka Tomac
Following an ad-hoc press conference with representatives of some of the groups who were joining the walk-out, we filled the corridors of the conference centre walking in a calm and dignified way. Our T-shirts carried the message “polluters talk, we walk” and #volveremos – which means “we will be back” in Spanish, as we build up to COP20 in Peru next year.
“Developed nations governments have been hijacked by corporate polluters and their positions prevented even a minimal progress of the talks. Developed country governments actions in Warsaw demonstrate that they are listening to polluters such as Shell and ArcelorMittal instead of their own people, said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy coordinator of Friends of the Earth International and JA!
After the walkout, at the convergence space managed by Polish youth across the river from the COP venue, we gathered to hear moving, empowering and challenging reflections from some of the people who had organsied and participated in the walk-out. We will be meeting again today afternoon with some of these groups to discuss some next steps in building a movement for climate justice.
Warsaw COP19 is one of the most corporate-captured COPs ever, where the Polish hosts officially listed their corporate partners at the COP, including corporations pushing destructive dirty energy across the globe. It is in this context that several southern movements called for ‘redlines’: to cut emissions, provide real finance and help impacted people. These are absolute basics that we need to get out of COP19. Now the moment has come that it is clear these ‘redlines’ are very far away from being realised by the COP presidency and the world leaders.
We agreed with the movements and NGOs to leave this COP and call for governments to prepare a serious just and binding agreement in the next couple of years. We didn’t walk out of the UNFCCC process. At least, the UN is a supposedly democratic international space for getting a desperately-needed legally-binding, equitable and ambitious treaty. But it has been captured and hence has not been delivering much-needed ambition and finance.
The support we have felt has been fantastic. FoE groups around the world have been taking action together, on social media and on the streets.
Here are some of the media statements produced:
FoEI press release:
YFoEE press release:
Polluters talk album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foeeurope/sets/72157637908817256
Full COP19 album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foeeurope/sets/72157637776415645
Young FoEE album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/youngfoee/sets/72157637906549166/