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Oxfam: Warsaw climate talks reach an all time low

Oxfam: Warsaw climate talks reach an all time low

In advance of the final day of the Warsaw Climate Conference, Oxfam and other NGO’s and social movements have said that red lines have been crossed and the conference is heading in the wrong direction.

Barry Coates, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director said, “Unless there is a dramatic turnaround, virtually nothing of substance will come out of these talks. Governments are listening to the fossil fuel lobbies rather than their own citizens.

“The New Zealand government has aligned itself with those unwilling to take action and are blocking progress by more progressive countries. We need to send a strong message to governments that enough is enough and highlight to people around the globe the dire state of these crucial negotiations.”

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International was among hundreds of climate change activists and NGOs that walked out of talks yesterday. She said, “This is a symbolic action - Oxfam walked out of the climate talks in Warsaw and not out of the UN process. The problem is the lack of political will and not the process itself - a multilateral process which delivers a global deal on tackling climate change is the only way we can ensure that emissions are kept below danger levels and poor countries get the support they need to deal with the consequences of a changing climate.

“The stakes are too high to allow governments to make a mockery of these talks. Climate change means real and harmful impacts on people right around the globe. It means people losing their lives, homes and livelihoods in floods and typhoons. It means people going hungry because crops have failed and food prices have sky rocketed. This is happening today - without action there will be worse to come tomorrow,” she said.

Why walk out now?
The climate negotiations in Warsaw have reached an all time low and the actions of many rich countries are undermining the UN process. Unless we see a rapid dramatic change of direction, we will not prevent temperatures from rising even further above danger levels. The poorest and most vulnerable communities will be left to face the consequences alone.

• The Polish government, which hosts the talks, has put the interests of dirty energy industries over the interests of citizens from around the globe - the Polish government hosted a “Coal & Climate Summit” alongside the talks, with corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue, and is beholden to the coal and fracking industry.

• The New Zealand government has joined with Japan and Australia in reducing emissions reduction targets and blocking progress towards an agreement that would help the poorest countries deal with the consequences of climate change (the loss and damage negotiations).

• The Finance Ministerial which closed yesterday delivered very little finance and did not even begin to set out a road map for how countries will deliver the $100 billion promised a year by 2020

• There has not been any increase in emission reductions or support for adaptation before 2020 – and on many of these things it has actually taken us backward. A clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.

Coates said, “We want to mobilise people around the world in calling on all governments for serious action on climate change. It is clear that, without this pressure, governments cannot be trusted to protect people and the planet from climate catastrophe.”

What organisations / movements walked out of the Warsaw Climate talks yesterday?
A wide variety of NGOs, civil society movements and trade unions walked out including: Oxfam, Greenpeace, Action Aid, Friends of the Earth, International Confederation of Trade Unions, civil society movements from Africa and Asia and many more.


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