What if someone told you we should abandon all hope for global climate action until 2020? Well, that's exactly the proposal that the U.S. is pushing at the United Nation Climate Talks taking place this week in Durban, South Africa. The 2020 delay might well be the worst idea ever.
Waiting nine years for climate action isn't just a delay, it’s a death sentence for communities on the front lines of the climate crisis—and it could slam the door on ever getting carbon pollution levels below the safe upper limit of 350 parts per million.
It’s not too late to stop this delay from going through. Over the next three days, our team of 350.org activists in Durban will be working with our partners at Avaaz and allies from around the world to isolate the U.S.—and build support for the African nations that are fighting for real climate action. But it will take a massive grassroots outcry to demonstrate that people everywhere are taking a stand to prevent the U.S. negotiators from signing away our future.
If we raise an international alarm before the talks end on Friday, we can convince the U.S. to get out of way of progress and help unlock the global process that can lead to bold climate action all around the world.
The climate talks in South Africa end in just 48 hours, and it's vital that we ramp up the pressure now. To make sure the U.S. gets the message, our team on the ground here in Durban will deliver your messages directly to the U.S. negotiating team at a high-impact event we're helping to pull together on Friday. We can't say much more about it now, but suffice to say our message will be unavoidable.
This year, the 350 network has shown that people power can truly move the planet in the right direction. We mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to push for climate action in nearly every country on earth. We beat back the Keystone XL pipeline when no one said it was possible. We took over the radio waves to spread a message of hope and action on the climate crisis. And through our actions, we helped keep the hope of saving our planet—and reaching 350 ppm—alive.
The United Nations Climate Talks here in Durban aren’t going to get us back to 350 by themselves, but they can keep the option open by making progress on a legally binding, international framework to help nations make serious cuts in carbon emissions. In 2012, we’re going to need to do all we can to challenge the fossil fuel companies that are the real obstacles to progress. Breaking their stranglehold on our governments is the only way to really unlock these negotiations.
But right now, the most important thing we can do is keep the possibility of a strong international climate deal alive by pushing back on the U.S. negotiating team. In recent months, President Barack Obama has shown that he'll stand up for the climate, but only if he's got a movement to back him up. On the Keystone pipeline, he's been doing the right thing by blocking Republican efforts to push it through—now we need him to do the right thing on the international stage.
There’s no guarantee that we’ll be successful, but we owe it to our allies across the planet—many of whom are already feeling the impacts of climate change—to resist the chorus of cynics and keep hope alive. As Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The 350 network has pulled off the impossible before—now's the time to step up the pressure again.
Add your voice today: www.350.org/durban
Continued strong and united leadership by African governments is essential at the United Nations (U.N.) climate talks in Durban, South Africa if the world is to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, Friends of the Earth International warned Dec. 2.
The global grassroots environmental federation condemned the inaction and intransigence of the industrialized world at the Durban climate talks, and the developed countries’ tactic of trying to escape their responsibilities for climate action by unraveling previous agreements and calling for a new mandate for the U.N. climate negotiations.
Friends of the Earth International’s assessment of the talks so far is:
- Led by the U.S., Canada and Japan, developed nations are trying to shift their responsibilities for deep and drastic emissions cuts onto developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. Developing countries are suffering the most from the climate crisis and have done the least to cause the problem.
- Developed countries are trying to kill the existing framework for legally binding emissions reductions—the Kyoto Protocol—and replace it with a disastrous bottom-up voluntary approach. The European Union (EU) has joined this push with a proposal for a so-called “new mandate” this week in Durban.
- Developed countries are trying to carve out new business opportunities for their financial elites and multinational corporations to access funds earmarked for climate action by developing countries. These funds are supposed to go towards sustainable development and urgently needed measures to protect poor and vulnerable communities from the devastating impacts of climate change.
- Only the Africa group of countries—one of the regions already facing the worst impacts of the climate crisis—is showing leadership in the negotiations and holding industrialized countries to their previous commitments.
“We are already one week into the talks and still there has been no discussion on the most important issue here in Durban—when and with what level of urgency the rich industrialized countries who are responsible for the climate crisis are going to reaffirm their commitment to legally binding emissions cuts in line with science and equity.
"So far, developed countries acted in the interests of their multinationals and financial elites. The world’s eyes are now on the governments of Africa to show leadership where the rich governments have abjectly failed,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.
“On Saturday thousands of people will march on the streets of Durban to demand climate justice. African leaders must hear their call and stand strong in the interests of our peoples and the people of the world,” he continued.
“Developed countries are busy trying to rearrange the deckchairs as the planet is about to sink. By opening the door to a deregulation of the U.N. climate agreement, they will begin a race to the bottom whose first victims will be the billions of people in the poorest and most vulnerable countries of Africa and the small islands,” said Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The EU must ensure that Durban does not lock the world into an ineffective global agreement that will give a green light to polluters to continue putting their economic interests before the people and the planet. The EU must stop its talk of new mandates and deliver in Durban under the existing mandate it is committed to—the continuation of the Kyoto protocol and its binding emissions cuts,” he added.
“South African President Jacob Zuma must stand with Africa and be uncompromising on what Africans have agreed must happen if our continent is not going to burn. We need deep and drastic binding emissions cuts by the rich countries and real, public climate finance, not a mandate for a new wave of financial colonialism through a private sector facility in the new Green Climate Fund,” said Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa.
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