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Breaking news: Labour, Environment, Climate Justice Groups Walkout of Warsaw Climate Talks

Photo credit:  Monica Lopez BaltodanoThe Warsaw UNFCC international climate negotiations are feeling the heat of an increasingly united social movement demanding change.

Climate justice groups are being joined by eNGOs such as Friends of the Earth International and Greenpeace, ActionAid International, WWF, Oxfam and labour representatives under the The International Trade Union Confederation in walking out of the official UN climate talks.  

Climate justice groups are no stranger to calling out the corporate agenda of these talks, including attempting to hold a people’s assembly during the Copenhagen negotiations, taking to the streets in Cancun and staging a walk out of the South African talks.

What is different today is who is standing with them. News of the mass walk out marks a change where previous divisions had existed. While I have no expectation these divisions are laid to rest, history is happening now in Warsaw in seeing these diverse members of social movements join together in rejecting the corporate agenda of the talks and the under performance of countries like ours (to put it mildly – find out more on Canada’s recent role in this article).

But don’t take it from me, here is the International Trade Union Confederation’s statement 

Here is a statement from environmental groups

As we’ve argued before, the UN climate talks are deeply flawed. The level of corporate involvement, ability of countries like Canada to derail ambitious emission reduction targets and extent to which false solutions like carbon trading and offsets top the agenda is disheartening at best.  

Hope does live. The passionate statement from the Philippines negotiator Yeb Sano  and pledge to be on hunger strike for the remaining period of the talks until meaningful progress has been made has inspired a global response, including candlelight vigils being held across the world today in solidarity with climate change victims in the Philippines. In the streets of Warsaw is the glimmer of hope, of people coming together to demand climate justice and climate action. This is reflected in the multitude of campaigns aimed at stopping environmentally and socially destructive projects and positive campaigns for climate solutions, all joined globally in our desire for a better world. It is these campaigns that organizations hitting the streets in Warsaw will need to hold up in their pledge to turn attention to focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action (from environmental statement). 

For myself, I’m continuing to dedicate much of my time to stopping the Energy East pipeline project.It is the latest and biggest (1.1 million barrels per day!) attempt to secure the capacity for ongoing reckless tar sands expansion, a critical Canadian contribution to runaway climate change. And I know I’m not alone, more than 20 Council of Canadians chapters joined me in participating in last Saturday’s Defend our Climate day of action which saw over 130 communities mobilize across Canada.

Today, my solidarity extends to everyone in the streets of Warsaw!