Dr Godwin Ojo of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and Shenna Sanchez of the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) at the intersessional ministerial meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) speak on behalf of global environmental groups, trade unions and youth groups, who had staged a walkout from the Warsaw Climate Conference to show indignation at alleged non-committal attitude of governments for, according to them, failure to take decisive and swift action against “the biggest threat to both people and the planet, and the continued domination and sabotage of the international climate talks by powerful corporate interests.”
Collectively we represent millions if not hundreds of millions of global citizens.
Civil society organisations (CSOs), indigenous groups and citizens’ networks, among others, call for an energy transformation towards peoples’ and community energy – a transformation that delivers renewable and clean energy for those with energy, the billions without access to energy as well as generating millions of new green jobs.
We are people who participated in the walkout of the Warsaw Climate Conference and those who supported and united with its call for more serious climate action. We have come together to reiterate to all ‘leaders’ participating in the UN climate negotiations that they are dangerously off-track in addressing the climate emergency. We call upon them to listen to the demands and solutions of people.
The walkout was an act of protest and indignation over governments’ continued failure to take decisive and swift action against the biggest threat to both people and the planet, and an act of condemnation of continued domination and sabotage of the international climate talks by powerful corporate interests.
In the face of massive destruction, displacement and loss of lives caused by current levels of global warming and the certainty of much worse impacts in the near future, governments continue to choose to act in the interests of a wealthy few, and collude with big business to defend unsustainable consumption and production models ahead of the urgent need for a sustainable, ecological, and just world.
We are more determined than ever to fight for the survival of our families, our communities and our peoples across the world – a survival that rests on nothing less than the fundamental transformation of a system that has generated massive impoverishment, injustices and a climate crisis that threatens all life on earth. People are waging this fight in various arenas in every corner of the globe, over every dimension of their lives – food, energy, health and security, jobs and livelihoods.
People are mobilising everywhere and taking to the streets in bigger numbers and increasing intensity to stand up to vested interests and fight for their future and those of the next generations. People-driven solutions, compatible with planetary limits, are being created and asserted at local, national and global levels – aimed at meeting the needs of people rather than the relentless pursuit of profits for big business and wealthy elites.
We are back, far more strengthened in giving voice to those who are already acting with the urgency needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – the huge majority of civil society around the world that you, ministers, represent and cannot ignore any longer.
In the coming weeks and months, towards and during the Social COP in Venezuela, the People’s Summit and the COP20 in Peru, and the COP 21 in France, we will be fighting harder than ever for governments to:
- Commit to a global goal of limiting warming that recognises the latest IPCC’s warnings on the threats of tipping points, and to the right to food and food sovereignty, recalling that science suggests that 1.5C of warming would be too much for many vulnerable peoples and countries;
- Deliver a swift global transformation away from the use of dirty fossil fuel and destructive energy systems driving the crisis, towards a carbon-free and renewable energy economy that, primarily among others, is decentralised, community controlled, affordable, accessible to all people for their basic needs and well-being;
- Urgently scale up targets for emissions cuts in the pre-2020 period, and set emission targets comparable to the scale of the emergency for 2020-2025;
- Ensure equitable and fair sharing of efforts among all countries based on their historical responsibility, their capacities, and the urgency of the crisis;
- Enable people to deal with climate impacts by protecting the rights of peoples and communities, building resilience, addressing loss and damage, and ensuring a just transition to climate resilient, low carbon, equitable and democratic economy and society;
- Define and commit to concrete targets for the transfer of finance and technology to make global transformation possible; and,
- Reject the damaging influence of corporate interests on climate policy and prevent their promotion of false solutions as the global response to the climate crisis.
The global climate movement is building its strength and power in every country of the world. We call on those who claim to represent us to either act in our interests or step aside.