By Tetet Lauron, 21 November, 2013. Source: IBON International
With only two days to go until the 19th Conference of Parties wraps up, and growing increasingly disappointed that this year’s climate summit will not deliver meaningful climate action, around 800 members of global civil society walked out of the Warsaw Climate Conference.
Wearing white shirts with signs that said, ‘#cop19 polluters talk, we walk’, and ‘#volveremos, we will be back’, the mass walkout included social movements, grassroots organizations, trade unions, women, youth, indigenous groups, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The statement read at the press conference immediately preceding the walkout said that civil society was voluntarily withdrawing from the Warsaw climate talks and would instead focus on mobilizing people to push governments to take leadership for serious climate action.
Ten days into the climate summit, sentiments are rife that the negotiations seem to have been excruciatingly slow, if not bogged down, on substantive issues such as agreeing on more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, as well as the provision of climate finance for countries that are most vulnerable to and actually being impacted by extreme weather events such as the recent super typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines.
Civil society groups lament that what should have been a key moment to steer the world away from climate catastrophe has so far been off tangent in making big and bold decisions to solve the climate crisis. On the one hand, the Warsaw Climate Conference has seen the aggressive backtracking of developed countries such as Canada, Japan, the US, Australia and the EU on commitments to climate action and financing. Corporate sponsorship from big polluters, a high-level coal summit endorsed by Poland, the host government – these were signs not just of the lack of commitment to transition to a sustainable future, but also of the growing corporate influence over the UNFCCC, which was denounced by civil society. Continue reading