- Gerry Arances
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
- Kelly Dent
- Natalie Eggermont
helped organize more than 700 people to come from Belgium, France and Britain by chartered train to protest the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland.
- Residents of Zurawlow, Poland
protesting fracking near their village.
We are broadcasting from Warsaw, Poland, where the U.N. climate summit, known as COP 19, has just entered its second week. On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched in Warsaw calling for climate justice, culminating in a rally outside the National Stadium where the climate summit is taking place. Speakers from all over the world addressed the crowd, urging world leaders to take action on global warming, including climate activists from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, and organizers of a chartered train that brought more than 700 people from Belgium, Britain and France to join the demonstration. Polish activists also spoke, including residents of the village of Zurawlow, where resistance to fracking is growing despite massive shale gas concessions.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in Warsaw, Poland, broadcasting from the U.N. climate summit, known as COP 19. Officially, it’s the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The climate summit has just entered its second week.
Last week’s massive typhoon in the Philippines has cast a cloud over the summit, with Filipinos and other climate change activists demanding action, fearful another summit will pass without a strong deal. Filipino chief climate negotiator Yeb Saño has entered his eighth day of a hunger fast. Many climate activists here have begun fasting in solidarity with the Filipino people.
Meanwhile, Japan is facing criticism after it announced it will backtrack on its pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Japan had originally pledged to cut its emissions by 25 percent by 2020, but on Friday Japan announced it will not fulfill this pledge.
Meanwhile, a major coal summit has opened today here in Warsaw. It’s organized by the World Coal Association and Poland’s Economy Ministry. Conference organizers have billed it as, quote, “the coal industry’s most important event of the year.” Poland is one of the world’s largest coal producers. More than 88 percent of its electricity comes from coal.
Early this morning, activists with the group Greenpeace unfurled a banner reading “Who rules Poland? Coal industry or the people?” from the roof of the Economy Ministry in Warsaw. A second banner read, “Who rules the world? The fossil fuel industry or the people?” Greenpeace criticized the Polish government for hosting the coal summit during the climate talks.
GREENPEACE ACTIVIST: In the building behind me today, Polish government is organizing something called a coal summit, where the coal—representatives of the coal industry will convene to try to greenwash the picture of coal. We find it an affront for the organizations and the delegates from the almost 200 states who are trying at the same time, at the stadium, National Stadium in Poland, to meet and basically enact or to build a treaty which would be keeping the climate in—on the word at two degrees.
AMY GOODMAN: On Saturday, thousands of people marched outside the National Stadium demanding action on climate change—among them, 750 people who rented a train from Brussels, Belgium. Among those who addressed the rally was a leading Filipino climate change activist.
GERRY ARANCES: I speak in behalf of my organization, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, and in behalf of my brothers and sisters who have lost their relatives, their sons, their daughters, and those that will be orphaned and have been orphaned, and for the next generation of Filipinos whose lives will be at stake every year, every month, every day.
Today, now is the time. It’s the most painful time in our history in our country. Lives have been lost, thousands. My friends, their families are still missing. Food is lacking, water, shelter. This is the most painful year for the last 10 years in the Philippines. But this is not the only typhoon or supertyphoon that we have faced. For the past five years, we have been facing every year supertyphoons. Thousands of lives have been lost, and this is the most painful, the most powerful supertyphoon that have hit us.
The problem is, we are suffering, and my brothers and sisters are suffering, not because of their own doing, not because of our own doing. We have very small emissions. My country and the rest of the developing countries, most of us, especially from the—our brothers in Africa, have very small emissions. And yet, those that have caused this climate crisis are still pushing for more dirty and harmful energies all over the globe.
KELLY DENT: My name’s Kelly Dent. I work for Oxfam. And behind me are some of the young 70 Belgium activists who came on the train with many of you to join the people of Warsaw and surrounding areas, as well as the international activists that are gathered here today, because we care about climate and we need climate action now. Climate change is harming food production. It’s increasing hunger. Oxfam, in its work around the world, is responding to the typhoon in the Philippines. This should be a wake-up call for governments. How many more people need to be killed before governments act on climate change, governments that are gathered here now at these climate talks? We need to see, from these climate talks, progress. We need to see a strong agreement that will reduce emissions, that will provide money for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world. We need to see a low-carbon pathway, renewable energy and an end to fossil fuels. Thank you.
UGENT1010 REPRESENTATIVE: Dear friends, I am here to speak on behalf of UGent1010, which is a—which is a student group from Belgium which tries to make the University of Ghent a more sustainable place and environment. And we are actually here today from Belgium to demand a change, because we came to see and witness the COP 19 and to speak our minds about which path we think should be taken towards a more sustainable environment and society. But what we saw was a building, a closed one, where people are supposedly debating right now sustainability and deciding our future. Well, up 'til now, these types of conferences have led to only one thing: empty deadlines describing a better world but without any clue of how to get there. Well, to this, we say, “Enough.” To you closed doors and buildings, we say, “Look at what we have accomplished. We are here. We came from Belgium with no less than 700 people by train, completely organized by young people. We came from various organizations, surpassing political boundaries. What this tells me and us is young people are resourceful. We take action. So we demand to be a part of your dialogue.” But more, to your empty deadlines from far, far away, we say, “Follow our example. We emerged from the global 10:10 movement, so our actions have short-time—short-term results in order to achieve our longtime goals. We demand from you, policymakers, a plan, a road to lead us to your wonderful deadlines. So, no more chair sustainability in your ivory towers. No more theory without action. A system change is step by step, so we say to you, ’Start walking.'” Thank you.
NATALIE EGGERMONT: My name is Natalie Eggermont. I’m representing Climate and Social Justice, the organization that initiated the train. I want to thank everyone that boarded the train with us 24 hours ago. We have done something extraordinary, 700 Belgians on a train to Warsaw. I don’t want to repeat demands that we have repeated for ages—the need to increase ambitions to cut emissions on their own—on our own grounds without using market mechanisms and to agree to a fair financing agreement. I want to stress the importance of us being here today. Many organizations have put their heads already on Paris 2015. Their absence stands in strong contrast with the industry lobby machine that has decided to invest in this conference. The ones that are absent, I think, have made a very superficial analysis of the challenges we are facing. We are not only facing an ecological crisis, but a social one, as well. The economic crisis has raged through our societies as a typhoon. And both are caused by a deep, systemic failure of our economic system. In order to really achieve climate and social justice, we need to profoundly change our societies, something which cannot be done in a day. Paris 2015 will, as this COP, only be one event in a long struggle for change. Everyone that has found it worthwhile to spend 40 hours on a train to be here today has put this analysis into practice. I want to congratulate you for your determination. We will not silently await Paris, and this is only the start. Thank you.
MITHIKA MWENDA: My name is Mithika Mwenda from Kenya, from Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. It’s a movement of all African civil society from across the Africa. To me, we have Augustine Njamnshi from Cameroon, the Congo forest. As you know, this is the land of the world where the REDD activities are taking place, and that’s where the next struggle is coming. It represents indigenous peoples. It represents the people, the Pygmies, who have been at the forefront of climate change, and we don’t know where these people will go if the forest is depleted. From Augustine, we have my colleagues from Botswana. We have my colleague from Niger. We have my colleague from Tanzania. We have Nigeria. We have Tanzania. We have Zambia. And all the people across Africa—we have others who have not come here. And we joined the movement. We joined other people from the world because we believe that climate change is a global problem which requires global partnership and solidarity, so that if we are going to compete with it and to defeat it, the way people from the Philippines, people from Puntland in Somalia, people from Sub-Saharan Africa, people from South Africa, Cameroon and those others, we need to work together so that we can compete the global corporate capture on climate change.
MODERATOR: One minute.
MITHIKA MWENDA: We are gathered here today. We are gathered here today. We have braved five hours of cold. You know we come from Africa, where we do not experience this cold. It is very cold for us, but we have braved this so that we can tell the world, really, they need to act. The delay we are experiencing here in that stadium is really frightening for us. The people have died in the Philippines. We had thousands died in the Philippines. You did not hear that during the same period 100,000 died in Puntland in Somalia because of the impacts of climate change.
ZURAWLOW ACTIVIST: [translated] We have come here from villages located around the village of Zurawlow, where we have been protesting since the 3rd of June, 2013, against plans to explore for and mine shale gas. The voivode of Lublin, where we live, is completely covered with shale gas concessions. Our region has the biggest documented major groundwater reservoirs in Poland, and these groundwater reserves are the source of drinking water for inhabitants of this region. We know that hydraulic fracturing technology poses a direct danger to the cleanest of these groundwaters. We want the Council of the European Union to adopt directive—we hope that the voice and the expression of determination by ordinary citizens will be heard and that it will have an influence on the decisions that will soon be made in the European Council.
ZURAWLOW ACTIVISTS: Chevron out! Chevron out! Chevron out! Chevron out! Chevron out! Chevron out!
AMY GOODMAN: Just some of the voices from Saturday’s climate change rally just outside the National Stadium here in Warsaw, Poland, where thousands gathered deeply concerned about the lack of progress at this U.N. climate summit. Among those who addressed the crowd and who filled the protests themselves were 750 people who rented a train from Brussels, Belgium, to Poland to make their voices heard. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We’ll be broadcasting from Warsaw from the National Stadium, where the U.N. climate change summit is taking place, all week, the only global daily TV-radio news hour to be broadcasting from the summit for the week. If you have questions, you can post them on our Facebook page, you can tweet at us. And also tweet out that Democracy Now! is here on the ground, inside and out, covering the critical issue of climate change, as the Philippines deals with the worst storm in recorded history. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, who are the corporate lobbyists who have the ear of the U.N. climate change delegates? Stay with us.