Wednesday, November 20, 2013

  • As Poor Countries Walk Out of Climate Talks, Venezuela Calls on Industrial Nations to Take Action


    A group of 133 developing nations have walked out of a key part of the climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, amidst a conflict over how countries who have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases should be held financially responsible for some of the damage caused by extreme weather in nations with low carbon emissions. The United States, Australia, Canada and other industrialized countries are pushing for the issue — known as loss and damage — to be put off until after the 2015 climate talks in Paris. "When you see developed countries being so bold to tell you that they are not even considering reducing their emissions, that they are not even considering paying for the costs that those inactions have on the life of others, that is really rude and hard to handle it politically," says Claudia Salerno, the lead climate negotiator for Venezuela, which is a member of the G77+China group that walked out. "We are heading to a point in which countries are not ready to take responsibility for their acts, and in this case, even more pathetic, they are not wanting to be." Salerno became famous at the 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen when she banged her hand against the table in an attempt to be heard, hitting it so vigorously that it began to bleed. Her country is set to host a ministerial meeting next year ahead of the 2014 U.N. climate summit in Peru, where it will welcome the input of civil society.

  • U.N. Defends Banning Three Youth Activists While Allowing Fossil Fuel Firms to Sponsor Climate Talks


    During a press conference, Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman questioned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about whether he would consider banning fossil fuel industry lobbyists from U.N. climate meetings in the same way the World Health Organization has banned tobacco lobbyists from meetings on tobacco regulation. Ban responded: "We need to engage all areas of industry and society in the transition to a low-carbon future, including industries that are presently associated with high greenhouse gas emissions." Goodman also asked Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, whether she would allow three youth activists who protested the influence of corporate lobbyists to be re-admitted to the this year's climate summit after they were stripped of their badges.

  • "Finance Climate Action, Not Fossil Fuel Subsidies": Activists Blast Priorities of Biggest Polluters


    As delegates to the U.N. climate summit debate over how to meet a pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020, critics note industrialized countries spend more than five times as much money on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry as they do on helping poorer countries adapt to global warming. We speak with the activists raising these concerns inside the climate talks in Warsaw, including Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, which has just released the report, "Fossil Fuel Subsidies Continue to Overshadow Climate Finance."

  • Filipina Climate Chief: "It Feels Like We Are Negotiating on Who Is To Live and Who Is To Die"


    As aid workers in the Philippines continue to dig mass graves amidst the search for possible survivors after Typhoon Haiyan, the executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, gave a moving address today to her fellow climate change delegates at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland. "Every time we attend this conference, I’m beginning to feel that we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die," Sering says.

  • As 17 of Arctic 30 Granted Bail, Greenpeace Chief Calls Fossil Fuel CEOs "The Real Hooligans"


    A Russian court has granted bail to nine more people detained in a Greenpeace action against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic. They are among 28 activists and two journalists who have been jailed for two months. "With 30 of my colleagues facing as much as seven years in prison in Russia for a peaceful action to protest arctic oil drilling, and are being accused of hooligans, let’s be very clear: The real hooligans are those CEOs and other leaders of the fossil fuel industry who are not prepared to accept that they have to change," says Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. The Arctic 30 face charges of "hooliganism" which could carry up to seven years in prison. With the latest rulings, 17 of the group have been granted bail so far.

  • After Global Failure to Cut Emissions, Will Poor Nations Get Help to Deal With Climate Change?


    Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi-born scientist with International Institute for Environment and Development, discusses what he calls the key issue at the Warsaw climate summit: With talks on emissions cuts delayed until 2015, poor nations are seeking funding for the "loss and damage" that global warming has already caused. An impasse over the issue prompted a walkout by 133 developing nations and China at the talks earlier today. "The only real decision to be made in Warsaw is whether we have a new mechanism on 'loss and damage' or not," Huq says. "We are now left with the inevitable consequence of failing to mitigate and failing to adapt [to climate change]."

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