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10 December 2010 | | |

Earth Calling Moon

UN climate talks: The moment of truth is near

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Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, said on Friday to the countries present at the Climate COP in Cancun that they will be responsible for bringing hope to the world or destroying it, in a brief speech to the plenary session at the Moon Palace, the hotel where the climate negotiations are being held and that will come to an end today.

Yesterday, Bassey gave another speech but in a different context: he spoke to the public in an activity organized by Via Campesina. Bolivian President, Evo Morales, also participated in the activity.

In his speech to the plenary session on Friday, the Chair of the environmentalist federation Friends of the Earth International also spoke on behalf of the network of social movements and organizations Climate Justice Now!

“We came here with the hope that developed countries agree to take leadership to do what has been long overdue to address the climate challenge owing to their historical responsibility in causing the problem and with a sense of justice and equity demanded by the crisis,” said Bassey. And he added: “Rather than playing the blame game to cover up failure to own up to their responsibility, rich nations should recognize their climate debt, pay up and equally agree to a fair responsible sharing of the remaining atmospheric space.”

Bassey also made reference to the Kyoto Protocol, one of the central issues in these negotiations. “The attempt to bury the Kyoto Protocol is legally and morally unacceptable”, he said. “Corporate and trade interests must not be prioritized over the climate and the poor. We need to shift production systems and consumptions patterns for others that respect Mother Earth”.

And the environmentalist concluded: “It is up to you, Excellencies and ministers, to give the world a sense of hope or to dash it.”

Yesterday, in downtown Cancun where La Via Campesina´s activity with Evo Morales took place, Bassey was interviewed by Real World Radio about the Alternative Nobel Prize he received in Sweden a few days ago. The Chair of Friends of the Earth said that the award “was the recognition of a collective struggle and not just the work of one person, because the future of the planet will be secured by collective actions, by mass movements, by people working together in the same direction”, he explained.

Bassey was very satisfied with the activity by La Via Campesina and said that it was one of the most significant days since the beginning of the COP in Cancun. He said that “during two weeks the delegates of the world have been meeting in the Moon (for the Moon Palace Hotel), but sadly they don´t have any idea of what´s happening on Earth”.

The Nigerian environmentalist highlighted that in April, 2010, in the Cochabamba Climate Change Summit, the social movements reached the Peoples´ Agreement in just two days, and said that this agreement includes solutions that are easy to understand and implement.

He also highlighted, among the proposals of the Peoples´ Agreement, the need to limit the rise of global temperature to 1 or 1.5 C, and the urgent need for developed countries to recognize their climate debt and pay.

Inside the Moon Palace, they are doing the same things they did in Copenhagen (COP15, December 2009), said Bassey. They are proposing to bring a 4 or 5-degree rise in global temperature, and with these high figures, no adaptation will be possible, he regretted.

The environmentalist also pointed out that the Northern countries want to continue polluting and doing businesses to obtain profits. The COP has lasted too long, we need to start doing something, he concluded.

Photo: Radio Mundo Real.

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