As two weeks of UN climate talks draw to a close in
Bonn, Germany, Friends of the Earth Europe pointed to actions by civil society
and developing countries which helped push through progress on short-term
emissions reduction commitments. But it said that, on the whole, rich countries
including the European Union had once again shown poor leadership and acted as
if climate change is a distant prospect, when in reality it is already destroying
people's lives and livelihoods around the world.
Jagoda Munic, director of Friends of the
Earth Europe, said: "The world's remaining carbon budget is
shrinking with every year of insufficient progress. The European Union claims
to be a climate leader but this does not hold true as long as its economy is
still based on fossil fuels. Next week the EU is set to announce plans for up
to 90 new gas infrastructure projects – these are totally incompatible with the
Paris Agreement. People power was visible here in Bonn and that strong people's
movement is where the real climate leadership is."
During the COP23 talks it was reported that global greenhouse gas
emission are rising again after several years of stagnation and
is set to be one of the hottest three years on record.
Celia Zoe Wicher from Young Friends of the
Earth Europe said: "Our countries' leaders are failing us
by favouring corporate interests and their own profits over the livelihoods of
people already suffering from the impacts of climate change today and also
those of future generations. They are not leaving us with many options but to
challenge them, as youth, in the streets, at elections, and in court."
The 2018 talks, COP24, will take place in Katowice,
Poland. Urszula Stefanowicz of Friends of the Earth Poland concluded: "Next
year's climate talks will be hosted by Poland for the third time in ten years –
this puts our government in a position of great responsibility for the whole
process. Poland needs to be more than a good host. In Katowice the Polish
presidency has to ensure the delivery of urgent climate action and it needs to
demonstrate that coal regions like Silesia can shift away from fossil fuels in
a socially just way."
During the COP23 in Bonn, Friends of the Earth
International, its member groups and allies staged a flurry of creative
actions. More than 25,000 people marched through Bonn in the biggest anti-coal
protest in German history, and a protest in front of Kraftwerk
Köln-Neurath lignite power station demanded an end to coal. These actions
echoed displays of 'people power' against dirty energy across the world and
supported by Friends of the Earth International.
A new study released at the beginning of the talks by
Friends of the Earth Europe showed that fossil fuels, including natural gas, can have
no substantial role beyond 2035 in an EU energy system compatible with limiting
global warming to 2°C.