EU governments may feel that they are world leaders on climate change, but they lag far behind the science and the growing world movement of people demanding serious action. European heads of state agreed to raise money for developing countries to tackle climate change at the EU Spring Summit in Brussels today, but failed to put any money on the table to support their plans.
Hundreds of Greenpeace activists from across Europe have blocked the exits of the Brussels building where EU finance ministers are discussing funding for developing nations to tackle climate change.
The lack of hard cash from the EU means the world is no closer to guaranteeing that a good global climate deal will be agreed at the end of the year in Copenhagen. While they agreed to repay their carbon debt in principle and that is a step in the right direction, it's as though the politicians have ordered the bill, but nobody is reaching for their wallets to pay their share (...and if the restaurant goes out of business…).
No money, no deal, no future
Our EU climate and energy policy director, Joris den Blanken, explained the politics quite simply:
"The EU is waiting for Godot. We have now wasted three months until the next EU Summit in June. The EU has agreed it must repay its carbon debt, but developing nations are going to think twice about joining a global climate agreement without concrete financial commitments from rich countries. You cannot start negotiating about who should contribute what to tackle climate change unless there is money on the table."
The world's top climate experts have warned us again that climate change is accelerating at a greater rate than they expected. At a meeting last week, they warned of the dangers of runaway climate change if we do not take urgent action now.
If only politicians felt the same way about saving the planet as they do about saving banks. The climate crisis is making activists of all sorts of people all over the world. People want leadership on climate change and are demanding more from their politicians. And they're taking direct action to expose climate villains too.
The movement is growing wider and bolder as the countdown to the Copenhagen climate summit approaches. From flash blockades in Brussels, mass civil disobedience protests at coal power plants in the US and UK, to global actions online and in homes, schools and businesses around the world.
What now for the politicians?
We need European governments to stop wasting precious time and to repay their carbon debt. We want them to show leadership at the forthcoming EU ministerial meetings.
Richer developed countries need to contribute at least EUR 110 billion ayear by 2020 to make sure developing countries are able to reduceemissions of greenhouse gases and cope with the already unavoidableimpacts of climate change.
Each country's contribution towards a climate bailout plan is based onits ability to pay and its level of responsibility in causing climatechange. Based on this, the European governments' share is EUR 35 billiona year by 2020.
There are other international opportunities and actors of course. The G20, meeting in London in early April, should start with climate financing high on the agenda.
IT industry executives listen to consumers, and politicians listen to CEOs. So let's mobilise IT industry CEOs to lobby their governments for a strong Copenhagen climate deal.