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Rich Countries Criticised For Lack of Serious Action on Climate Change

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By Jaya Ramachandran

BONN (IDN) – As the UN climate talks in Bonn (COP23) drew to a close, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) bashed the rich countries for once again showing poor leadership by not taking serious action on climate change – despite new evidence showing emissions are on the rise.

FoEI’s Dipti Bhatnagar said: “Rich nations, including those calling themselves ‘climate leaders’, have brought crumbs to the table on pre-2020 climate action. But this is meaningless, as they continue to push dirty energy at home and overseas, and fail to support energy transformation in the South. As we learnt this week, emissions are set to rise again for the first time in three years. If nothing changes, then these so-called leaders have booked their spot on the wrong side of history.”

Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth Malaysia (Sahabat Alam Malaysia) said: “Coming from the Asia-Pacific region, in view of all the crises faced, we needed to see much more urgent action from rich countries, to own up to climate debt and historical responsibility. We are shocked that rich countries continue to wipe out the crucial differences in responsibilities between developed and developing countries. We’re sick and tired of talk shops. We need action, now. The urgency is mounting.”

Commenting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refusal to set a deadline for ending coal use in her country, Ann-Kathrin Schneider, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said: “Coal is dirty energy and has no place in the 21st century. It was disappointing to see Angela Merkel fail to announce a coal phase-out here in Bonn. This is not climate leadership. We showed our people power by 25,000 people marching against coal on Bonn’s streets and we will keep pushing for a fossil free world.”

Twenty countries and two U.S. states joined the ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ on November 16, promising phase-outs. Conspicuously absent from that list is Germany whose Chancellor Merkel was engaged in tough negotiations with the Green Party and the liberal Free Democratic Party to form a new coalition government – after the September 2017 general elections.

Godwin Ojo, Friends of the Earth Nigeria (Environmental Rights Action) said: “In Bonn, we saw weak outcomes on ‘loss and damage’ for developing countries who are facing irreversible impacts of climate change. We will keep fighting alongside communities to stop dirty energy and for the finance needed for energy transformation. We will keep calling for a ‘just transition’ from dirty energy to a new system that is clean and benefits communities and workers. It is time to divest from dirty energy to renewable sources.”

FoEI’s Nele Marien said: “This COP in Bonn has pushed to scale up carbon markets, even though past experience proves they do not reduce carbon emissions and even drive land and resource grabbing in vulnerable communities in the South. We need real solutions, not this smokescreen.”

With COP24 set to take place in Katowice, Poland, Urszula Stefanowicz, Friends of the Earth Poland (Polski Klub Ekologiczny) commented: “Next year’s climate talks will be hosted by Poland for the third time in ten years. This puts the Polish government in a position of great responsibility for the whole process. Poland needs to be more than a good host. In Katowice, it has to push for urgent climate action and demonstrate that coal regions like Silesia can shift away from fossil fuels in a socially just way.”

Celia Zoe Wicher of Young Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Our countries’ leaders are failing us by favouring corporate interests and their own profits over the livelihoods of people already suffering from the impacts of climate change today and also those of future generations. They are not leaving us with many options but to challenge them, as youth, in the streets, at elections, and in court.”

FoEI’s Bhatnagar concluded: “Around the world, civil society groups are mobilising to fight dirty energy. Emissions are rising but so is people power. We will take the lead to stop the climate crisis and fight for justice.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 November 2016]

Photo: Over 20,000 people were mobilized in Bonn on 4 November 2017.to demand an end to coal and dirty energy and call for climate justice ahead of COP23. Credit: Amelia Collins/Friends of the Earth International

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