Blog Archive

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reactions from Oxfam, Bill McKibben of, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Bolivia, Post Carbon Institute, Civil Society,

OXFAM INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEAS, For Immediate Release: 18 December 2009


The ‘climate deal’ announced in Copenhagen today is a triumph of spin over substance said Oxfam International.  The agreement – which was announced by the US, India, China and South Africa - has not been endorsed by the EU and many other countries.

The deal provides no confidence that catastrophic climate change will be averted or that poor countries will be given the money they need to adapt as temperatures rise. Leaders have also put off agreeing a legally binding deal until the end of 2010.  

Oxfam said this is not a done deal - any agreement must be endorsed by all countries - and demanded that it be a floor not a ceiling on action.    

Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International said:  
“This agreement barely papers over the huge differences between countries which have plagued these talks for two years.

The deal is a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below 2 degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the big decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash.

“Millions of people around the world do not want to see their hopes for a fair, binding and ambitious deal die in Copenhagen. Leaders need to get back round the table in early 2010 and take the hard decisions they copped out of in 


$100bn a year in climate cash for poor countries
This is an aspirational goal not a commitment – poor countries will have no confidence that they will receive the money they need to reduce their emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

$100bn is only half the money needed. The shortfall could mean that health workers in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa will not get the $1.5bn they need each year to prevent climate induced deaths from malaria and diarrhoea.

There are no assurances that the $100bn will be additional to existing aid commitments. This means aid for education and health care could be diverted to pay for flood defenses.

The $100bn will not all be public money. Unless climate cash comes from public sources, there are no guarantees that it will reach the right people, in the right places, at the right time.  

SPIN: Global temperature rises will be kept below 2 degrees centigrade
The absence of any emissions reductions targets means there is no guarantee that warming will be kept below 2 degrees centigrade. Climate science is clear on the need for rich countries to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Specific targets are essential.

Shorbanu Khatun, a climate migrant at the summit with Oxfam said: “I came all the way from a displaced persons camp on the flooded coast of Bangladesh to see justice done for the 45,000 people made homeless by cyclone Aila. How do I tell them their misery has fallen on deaf ears?”   


Yup, you could say we're not so pleased with this ...

MEDIA RELEASE, December 18, 2009; Contact: Jamie Henn,, +45 52 68 47 65
Bill McKibben,, +45 52 69 45 90

"The President has wrecked the UN (and the planet)"

Bill McKibben and, responds to Obama's press conference this evening: "This is a declaration that small and poor countries don't matter, that international civil society doesn't matter, and that serious limits on carbon don't matter. The president has wrecked the UN and he's wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it's at the expense of everything progressives have held dear. 189 countries have been left powerless, and the foxes now guard the carbon henhouse without any oversight." is an international campaign that's totally disappointed in the president of the U.S.


Statement of Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth U.S., on tonight's announcement by President Obama:

"Climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate.

"The blame for the failure to achieve a real deal lies squarely on the rich countries whose pollution has caused the climate crisis -- especially the United States. Rich countries refused to budge from the grossly inadequate emissions reduction proposals they brought to Copenhagen, and they failed to put sufficient money on the table so that poor countries that did not cause this crisis have the capacity to cope with it.

"With the future of all humans on this planet at stake, rich countries must muster far more political will than they exhibited here. If they do not, small island states will become submerged, people in vulnerable communities across the globe will be afflicted with hunger and disease, and wars over access to food and water will rage.

"The devastation will extend to those of us who live in wealthy countries. If we cannot find a way to cooperate with others to produce a real agreement to solve this problem, climate change impacts will devastate the U.S. economy, undermine our security, and inflict irreparable harm on future generations.

"The failure to produce anything meaningful in Copenhagen must serve as a wake up call to all who care about the future. It is a call to action. Corporate polluters and other special interests have such overwhelming influence that rich country governments are willing to agree only to fig leaf solutions. This is unacceptable, and it must change.

"Fortunately, while the cost of solving the climate crisis rises each day we fail to act, the crisis remains one that can largely be averted. It is up to the citizens of the world -- especially citizens of the United States, which has so impeded progress -- to mobilize and ensure that true solutions carry the day. I firmly believe that together, we can still achieve a politics in which climate justice prevails."

President Obama Leads World to Historic, If Incomplete Climate Deal
Progress Made Sets Stage for Fair, Ambitious, and Binding Deal in 2010

Copenhagen, Denmark--After two weeks of fraught, stalled negotiations, President Obama arrived in Copenhagen, built on the progress made yesterday by Secretary of State Clinton, personally negotiated with world leaders for hours, and tonight announced the elements of an international climate accord.  The Sierra Club offered the following comments in response.

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
"The world's nations have come together and concluded a historic--if incomplete--agreement to begin tackling global warming.  Tonight's announcement is but a first step and much work remains to be done in the days and months ahead in order to seal a final international climate deal that is fair, binding, and ambitious.  It is imperative that negotiations resume as soon as possible.
"President Obama and the rest of the world paid a steep price here in Copenhagen because of obstructionism in the United States Senate.  That a deal was reached at all is testament to President Obama's leadership--all the more remarkable because of the very weak hand he was dealt because of the Senate's failure to pass domestic clean energy and climate legislation.  Now that the rest of the world--including countries like China and India--has made clear that it is willing to take action, the Senate must pass domestic legislation as soon as possible.  America and the world can no longer be held hostage to petty politics and obstructionism.   
"What was clear over the past two weeks is that there is no argument over the science of global warming or the urgency with which we must act.  A parade of developed and developing counties alike made crystal clear that they would implement their national plans to tackle global warming and build the clean energy economy not because they were required to do so, but because it was simply in their own national interest to do so.
"The agreement reached here has all the ingredients necessary to construct a final treaty--a mitigation target of 2 degrees Celsius, nationally appropriate action plans, a mechanism for international climate finance, and transparency with regard to national commitments.  President Obama has made much progress in past 11 months and it now appears that the U.S.--and the world--is ready to do the hard work necessary to finish what was started here in Copenhagen.
"A chilly two weeks in Copenhagen has given humanity its best chance of preventing the ravages of a warming world.  Today's deal is neither perfect nor complete, but we must not this chance slip away."

Center for Biological Diversity Statement on “Deal” at Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN— Upon news of a non-legally binding accord today in Copenhagen, Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, had the following response:

“We all know what we must do to solve global warming, but even the architects of this deal acknowledge that it does not take those necessary steps. Merely acknowledging the weaknesses of the deal, as President Obama has done, does not excuse its failings. If this is the best we can do, it is not nearly good enough. We stand at the precipice of climatic tipping points beyond which a climate crash will be out of our control. We cannot make truly meaningful and historic steps with the United States pledging to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by only 3 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. 

The science demands far more.

“The people of the United States voted for President Obama based on his promise of change and hope. But the only change today’s agreement brings is a greater risk of dangerous climate change. And the only hope that flows from Copenhagen stems not from the president’s hollow pronouncements but from the birth of a diverse global movement demanding real solutions and climate justice — demands made with a collective voice growing loud enough that in short order politicians will no longer be able to ignore it.”

Bolivia calls Copenhagen climate accord “unacceptable”

Copenhagen, 14 December 2009 - As President Obama announced that major states had reached a deal in Copenhagen, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon angrily denounced the released text of the agreement:

“This is completely unacceptable. How can it be that 25 to 30 nations cook up an agreement that excludes the majority of more than 190 nations. We have been negotiating for months on one of the gravest crises of our age, and yet our voice counts for nothing? If this is how world agreements will now be agreed, then it makes a nonsense of the UN and multilateralism.”

Pablo Solon also condemned the substance of the agreement:

“The agreement talks of setting targets that limit warming to 2 degrees. The leaders of the rich countries should come to Bolivia to see what global warming is already doing to our country. We have droughts, disappearing glaciers and water shortages. Imagine this scaled up three times. We cannot accept an agreement that condemns half of humanity.”


Statement of Asher Miller, Executive Director of Post Carbon Institute, on “Meaningful Agreement” (sic!) Announced in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN--Despite dire warnings from his own nation’s leading scientists, and over the cries of millions of voices in hundreds of countries across the globe, US President Barack Obama has chosen political expediency over truth and justice.

The so-called Copenhagen Accord is merely the repackaging of old and toothless promises, which holds no one accountable and utterly fails to reflect the urgency of the moment at hand.
Less than one year ago, President Obama took the oath of office on a cold winter day in our nation’s capital, calling upon each of us to “summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.”

Now, on another cold winter day, our President appears to be more concerned about saving face and avoiding sacrifice than honoring his own lofty words.

It is now time for the American people to lead, to demand action, and to show the way, as Obama himself said “block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”

The world can no longer wait.


US Undermines Climate Talks with Bullying Tactics and Backroom Deals

Civil Society Denounces U.S. Plan for Fast-Tracking Warming, Worsening Humanitarian Crisis, and Fueling Ecological Collapse

Copenhagen, Denmark --- Despite President Obama's assurances of progress today at the UN Climate Talks, the negotiations continue into the early morning as civil society leaders are left out of the sessions at the Bella Center and protesters gather outside.

"For the U.S., which is the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, to come to Copenhagen and try to strong arm the world into accepting a phony accord that will do nothing to prevent climate catastrophe is beyond irresponsible; it is criminal." said John Peck, Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders and member of Via Campesina.

"At the present, before the end of the final plenary, the draft Copenhagen Accord sets dangerously low emissions targets and  provides too few resources to stop the unfolding climate catastrophe gripping the planet," said Professor Michael Dorsey with the Climate Justice Now! Network. "The Accord is little more than rhetoric hiding a failure to actually address the climate crisis.  This destructive Accord represents a death sentence for Africa, the Amazon, Indigenous Peoples, and small island nations."

"An accord secretly crafted without the participation of developing countries is another example of the U.S. using its power to manipulate the outcome with no binding commitments," said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. "We are highly suspicious of the tactics of the US obstructing a Kyoto Protocol agreement, while at the same time aggressively trying to push through a forest carbon offset agreement called REDD+ with weak safeguards that could violate the land and forest rights of Indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities. Indigenous peoples here in Copenhagen have been demanding action -- not false hopes and empty promises -- and these delays and bullying tactics amount to continued carbon colonialism."

"The COP 15 has seen an obscene amount of lobbying by the emerging corporate carbon dealers who are peddling false solutions, while the oil and coal lobbies are still the elephant in the room," said Camila Moreno, of the Global Justice Ecology Project from Porto Alegre, Brazil.  "The common sense solutions that have been demanded by social movements and civil society around the world are to leave fossil fuels in the ground and make a deal that is legally binding. Today's developments do nothing to move those real solutions forward and could wipe entire nations off the map."

"This is an emergency and we need climate justice now!  We must acknowledge that we from the south are the real creditors and the governments of the North are the real debtors. They owe the world economic debt, ecological debt and climate debt and they must pay now," said Wahu Kaara from the Kenya Debt Relief Network


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