Just before we went to air today, Somali youth climate activist Marian Osman addressed the main plenary at the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. "There’s a Somali proverb that goes: 'A mere finger can't obscure the sun,’" Osman said. "You cannot hide the truth by deception. As any one of the thousands whom are in need in Somalia and the Philippines this week could tell you, no amount of political stalling can hide the fact that a climate crisis is here." Earlier this month, a deadly cyclone slammed the Puntland region of Somalia, wreaking havoc on an already vulnerable population.
Negotiations at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland, have entered their final scheduled day, but deep divisions remain between rich and poor nations. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries have been meeting for the past two weeks trying to lay the foundation for a new global climate treaty to be agreed at talks scheduled in Paris in two years. On Thursday, more than 800 members of various environmental groups staged an unprecedented walk out of the talks. Questioned by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman hours later, the U.S. special envoy for climate change and lead climate negotiator, Todd Stern, rejected calls for reparations to poor countries damaged by the carbon emissions of the world’s biggest polluters. We discuss the state of the talks with two guests: Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre, and Nitin Sethi, senior assistant editor at The Hindu. Sethi was responsible for leaking U.S. briefing papers on the climate negotiations before the summit began, revealing how U.S. negotiators at the climate talks are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to the internal memo, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will "focus increasingly on blame and liability" and that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts."
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"Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming
"We’re not abandoning the U.N., we’re just abandoning this COP, because it’s just gotten so bad," says Anjali Appadurai, a youth climate activist working with the environmental groups who backed a walkout of the talks today at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland. Hundreds of people abandoned the negotiations, citing a lack of progress over the past 10 days. Among the organizations supporting the effort were Greenpeace, Oxfam, 350.org, the International Trade Union Confederation, ActionAid International, WWF International, Earth in Brackets and Friends of the Earth. "We’re going to bring back social movements as an essential part of this process so that COP 20 next year in Lima can be stronger because of the social movements lighting a fire underneath it," Appadurai says. In 2011, she addressed the U.N. climate summit in Durban, South Africa, on behalf of youth delegates.
A pair of climate scientists are calling for what some may view as a shocking solution to the global warming crisis: a rethinking of the economic order in the United States and other industrialized nations. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin of the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England say many of the solutions proposed by world leaders to prevent "runaway global warming" will not be enough to address the scale of the crisis. They have called for "radical and immediate de-growth strategies in the United States, EU and other wealthy nations." Anderson says that to avoid an increase in temperature of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the world would require a "revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony."
After more than two months in detention, five members of the Arctic 30 are now free on bail in Russia. The group of 28 activists and two journalists were detained following an attempt to board Russia’s first offshore oil rig. We discuss the case with Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, who says their fate remains uncertain as they continue to face charges of "hooliganism" that carry a maximum prison term of seven years.
As we began our show, hundreds of environmental activists walked out of the U.N. climate change summit in Warsaw, Poland, today over the absence of a binding agreement on curbing global warming. The move comes less than 36 hours after a group of 133 developing nations walked out of a key negotiating meeting amidst a conflict over how countries who have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases should be held financially responsible for some of the damage caused by extreme weather. "Our message to our political leaders is that nature does not negotiate," says Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. "You can’t change the science — we have to change political will."
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Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi-born scientist with International Institute for Environment and Development, discusses what he calls the key issue at the Warsaw climate summit: With talks on emissions cuts delayed until 2015, poor nations are seeking funding for the "loss and damage" that global warming has already caused. An impasse over the issue prompted a walkout by 133 developing nations and China at the talks earlier today. "The only real decision to be made in Warsaw is whether we have a new mechanism on 'loss and damage' or not," Huq says. "We are now left with the inevitable consequence of failing to mitigate and failing to adapt [to climate change]."
A Russian court has granted bail to nine more people detained in a Greenpeace action against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic. They are among 28 activists and two journalists who have been jailed for two months. "With 30 of my colleagues facing as much as seven years in prison in Russia for a peaceful action to protest arctic oil drilling, and are being accused of hooligans, let’s be very clear: The real hooligans are those CEOs and other leaders of the fossil fuel industry who are not prepared to accept that they have to change," says Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. The Arctic 30 face charges of "hooliganism" which could carry up to seven years in prison. With the latest rulings, 17 of the group have been granted bail so far.
As aid workers in the Philippines continue to dig mass graves amidst the search for possible survivors after Typhoon Haiyan, the executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, gave a moving address today to her fellow climate change delegates at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw, Poland. "Every time we attend this conference, I’m beginning to feel that we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die," Sering says.
"Finance Climate Action, Not Fossil Fuel Subsidies": Activists Blast Priorities of Biggest Polluters
As delegates to the U.N. climate summit debate over how to meet a pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020, critics note industrialized countries spend more than five times as much money on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry as they do on helping poorer countries adapt to global warming. We speak with the activists raising these concerns inside the climate talks in Warsaw, including Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, which has just released the report, "Fossil Fuel Subsidies Continue to Overshadow Climate Finance."
U.N. Defends Banning Three Youth Activists While Allowing Fossil Fuel Firms to Sponsor Climate Talks
During a press conference, Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman questioned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about whether he would consider banning fossil fuel industry lobbyists from U.N. climate meetings in the same way the World Health Organization has banned tobacco lobbyists from meetings on tobacco regulation. Ban responded: "We need to engage all areas of industry and society in the transition to a low-carbon future, including industries that are presently associated with high greenhouse gas emissions." Goodman also asked Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, whether she would allow three youth activists who protested the influence of corporate lobbyists to be re-admitted to the this year's climate summit after they were stripped of their badges.
A group of 133 developing nations have walked out of a key part of the climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, amidst a conflict over how countries who have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases should be held financially responsible for some of the damage caused by extreme weather in nations with low carbon emissions. The United States, Australia, Canada and other industrialized countries are pushing for the issue — known as loss and damage — to be put off until after the 2015 climate talks in Paris. "When you see developed countries being so bold to tell you that they are not even considering reducing their emissions, that they are not even considering paying for the costs that those inactions have on the life of others, that is really rude and hard to handle it politically," says Claudia Salerno, the lead climate negotiator for Venezuela, which is a member of the G77+China group that walked out. "We are heading to a point in which countries are not ready to take responsibility for their acts, and in this case, even more pathetic, they are not wanting to be." Salerno became famous at the 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen when she banged her hand against the table in an attempt to be heard, hitting it so vigorously that it began to bleed. Her country is set to host a ministerial meeting next year ahead of the 2014 U.N. climate summit in Peru, where it will welcome the input of civil society.
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