Politicians Listen to the Polluters at UN climate talks

Feature story - December 11, 2011
UN climate talks in Durban have ended the same way they began, in failure. Governments at the UN climate talks have chosen to listen to the polluters over the people and failed to reinforce previous climate saving measures and have steered clear of new global rules for tackling climate change.

Greenpeace volunteers dressed as the representatives of polluting fossil fuel industries 'celebrate' outside the Durban climate talks with champagne, toasting the victory of the carbon cartels as the deadlocked negotiations entered their last hours. © John Robinson / Greenpeace

Despite the rallying calls that filled the hallways of the conference center yesterday, polluters have won this round of talks with politicians making little progress on a global deal to tackle climate change.

Two years ago in Copenhagen, politicians promised a US $100 billion fund would be set up to help the poorest countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. They came to Durban two years later only planning to design a way to collect and distribute the money. It turns out they could not even manage to do that. 

While the details of the talks may be complex the truth is simple. We are nowhere near where we need to be to avert catastrophic climate change.

Chief among the blockers for a success at the negotiations by far is the US, which is clearly operating at the bidding of the carbon cartels. Its negotiators have no place in the room. Other powerful governments and blocs, like the EU, China, and India should have already outmaneuvered them, joining together to side with the most vulnerable to make real progress.

“The grim news is that the blockers lead by the US have succeeded in inserting a vital get-out clause that could easily prevent the next big climate deal being legally binding. If that loophole is exploited it could be a disaster. And the deal is due to be implemented 'from 2020' leaving almost no room for increasing the depth of carbon cuts in this decade when scientists say we need emissions to peak," said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director.

“Governments departing the UN talks should be ashamed. When they return home we wonder how they will be able to look into the eyes of their children and grandchildren. They have let us down and their failure will be measured in the lives of the poor, the most vulnerable and least responsible for the global climate crises.”

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