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The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held the first two weeks of December in Lima, Peru. Friends of the Earth International will participate in the COP campaigning for a fair global climate deal, demanding that the most developed countries cut their emissions substantially and assists developing countries to change over to clean energy. Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice & Energy Co-coordinator from Friends of the Earth International talks about the risk of governments this year, yet again pushing for false solutions – instead of focusing on actions to reduce climate change.
In this year’s climate conference COP 20 in Lima, the levels of media and political attention has been relatively low, and focus has rather been on the road to COP 21 in Paris next year. Dipti Bhatnagar explains that the Paris COP is being hyped up as the place where the deal on climate change will be signed, which has lead to some people to think that Lima is not that important. She disagrees with these statements and claims that Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) consider this years COP “as a step on the way, as we believe that we need constant action and focus to see what our governments and international institutions are doing - to be able to get any kind of fair deal at all, it does not happen over night, once we get to Paris”.
Friends of the Earth’s position are that the world’s richest, most developed countries are most responsible for climate change. They have emitted the biggest share of the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere today, way more than their fair share. Furthermore, Friends of the Earth demand that the most developed countries must urgently make the deepest emission cuts and provide most money, if countries are to share fairly the responsibility of preventing catastrophic climate change. Dipti highlights that FOEI: “are very clear that equity and justice is and needs to be a very important part of any climate agreement, as we need to recognize who has created the climate crisis”. She says that FOEI position for many years have been that developed countries need to step up to the plate: “they are doing horrible little based on what they should be doing in the negotiations in terms of commitments on emission reductions. They need to drastically reduce their emissions. They need to provide finance for developing countries to be able to reduce emissions to be able to adapt to the changes, which have already occurred and are irreversible”. FOEI position is clear: “we want justice for the poorest and the most vulnerable people in developing countries who are already facing the impacts, who will continue to face the impacts of climate change”.
Dipit emphasizes that the governments instead of doing the right actions for reducing climate change, rather are pushing for false solutions: “we see that they will continue to push carbon markets and offsetting mechanisms like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which sounds wonderful but is actually robbing communities of their land and is not reducing emission”.
The People’s Summit
Parallel to the climate conference civil society organizations, networks, social movements, research centers, and citizens in general will join in the People’s Summit on Climate Change (Cumbre de los Pueblos). Dipti explains that the People’s summit is really important, as it creates spaces for everyone to get together and in-depth discuss the issues like, for example false solution, financialization of nature, and the energy transformation that we need. FOEI will organize three events in that space, focusing on their main messages: “we will be talking about the planetary crisis, the energy transformation, and we will be talking about the opposition to false solutions”.
COP under corporate capture
In last year COP 19 in Warsaw, Friends of the Earth heavily criticized the climate talks for being under corporate capture and for corporations sponsoring the event and leaving civil society outside, which lead to massive protests and large parts of civil society, Friends of the Earth included, to leave the meetings. Dipti explains the events in Warsaw by saying: “we had so many instances were the Polish presidency and the UNFCCC-secretariat were just so close dirty energy companies and corporations that we had 800 of us from many organizations, from trade unions, from social movements across the world, who were there in Warsaw - we walked out of the COP to say: this is not acceptable, this capture of our government, and capture of the international spaces, the democratic spaces have been captured by these companies, especially dirty energy companies, and that is what is leading to this complete, inadequate action on the biggest challenge that humanity has faced”.
She states that: “COP continues to be corporate captured - whether it is in Warsaw, or it is in Lima or it is Paris”. As a response to the undergoing corporate capture FOEI will be releasing a briefing on December 8th, which looks at one of the dirty energy companies that is operating in South America. The company is doing lobbying at the UNFCCC-level and pushing for financialization of nature and false solutions. Dipti ends by saying that: “we need to hit the heart of the way this is operated right now. The slogan we use is system change, not climate change. Something needs very radically change and transform in order to stop the climate crisis”.
Friends of the Earth International will reveal the name of the dirty energy company on the 8th of December.
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