UN climate negotiations begin in Poznan

Feature story - December 2, 2008
It has been a year since governments in Bali pledged to nail down an agreement to save the climate by December 2009. That means they have one year left to agree on how to stop the climate crisis. This year’s UN meeting on Climate Change has just started in Poznan, Poland and we think it is about time for government leaders to stop the talking, get serious, and start real negotiations that will lead to real action.

Forest destruction costs the world economy at least 2 trillion dollars annually. Ocean fish stocks are collapsing, putting a basic source of food for 3 billion people at risk. Droughts and forest fires are destroying our planet's most precious resources and rising sea levels are threatening to displace hundreds of millions of people before the end of the century.

But it isn't all bad news. The good news is that the solution is pretty simple: to avoid runaway climate change, the world needs to quit its addiction to coal and stop destroying forests - and that work has to start in Poznan. We need to start investing in a future we can all believe in. We need investments in clean, renewable energy and an end to subsidies for dirty and dangerous energy like coal and nuclear.

Climate Rescue Team

Some government leaders have proven that they cannot be trusted to take swift action on climate change based on the facts. From the coal mines of Konin, to the meeting rooms at the UN conference in Poznan, we are taking action to make sure that government leaders know it is time to get serious about climate change and quit coal. Our Quit Coal Tour has set up a Climate Rescue Station in Konin, Poland- one hour from the UN meetings - to highlight the true cost of coal in the lead up to crucial UN climate negotiations. The Rescue Station is currently set up on the edge of an open pit coal mine where activists have been demanding an end to our addiction to coal in a series of direct actions. On December 8th, a week into the talks, the dome will be moved to Poznan town square.

To make sure the truth is heard at the UN meetings, we've also sent a team of climate experts to Poznan. We are there to pressure governments to quit coal and work towards a meaningful deal to save the climate. Our message to delegates is simple - it's time to get serious about tackling climate change.

Not just another meeting

One year doesn't seem like a lot of time to most of us, considering the scope of the problem. After two decades of climate negotiations, governments are still tip-toeing around each other when it comes to real solutions to climate change. This year the world is watching the UN negotiations and demanding that governments make good on their promise to come up with an action plan in Copenhagen next year. Be a part of the action and upload your photo to be projected at the UN meeting in Poznan, Poland.

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Now here's what we need from our leaders in Poznan:

• a "climate vision" that will address what the science requires: global emissions peaking by 2015.

• a draft negotiating text on the table and a detailed workplan to get this completed by Copenhagen in December 2009

• Developed countries must agree greenhouse gas emission reduction targets at the upper end of 25-40%, as identified by the IPCC