US HOLDS U.N. CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS HOSTAGE
Press Release: Friends of the Earth International
US HOLDS U.N. CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS HOSTAGE
June 12, 2009
Rich industrialised Countries Offer Little Hope for Just Climate Agreement
BONN, GERMANY, June 12, 2009 –Throughout the United Nations climate talks
due to end today in Bonn, the United States administration blocked
progress to move negotiations forward, according to Friends of the Earth
Rather than show global leadership, the Obama Administration failed to
live up to its responsibility as the world’s largest historical greenhouse
gas polluter. This strategy damages the prospects for a just, equitable,
and effective outcome at the key UN conference planned in Copenhagen,
Denmark, in December this year.
“The election of President Obama created tremendous hope worldwide that
the U.S. would finally play a leadership role in solving the climate
crisis that – more than any other nation on Earth – it is responsible for
causing. Unfortunately for the survival of people and the planet, the
Obama Administration’s position at these UN negotiations sounds
frighteningly similar to that of George Bush,” said Karen Orenstein of
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Domestic greenhouse gas emission reductions by industrialised countries of
at least 40% by 2020 on 1990 levels – with no offsetting – are needed for
a reasonable chance of avoiding catastrophic global climate change.
The US administration, however, is still talking about zero per cent
reductions by 2020 on 1990 levels. Japan tabled a dangerously low
emissions reduction target during the talks of 8% below 1990 levels. The
EU remained unimpressive with their inadequate 2020 target of 20 % (30% if
other industrialised countries commit to similar efforts). Considering
that the EU is set to offset over half of its commitments, already weak EU
targets will be even further watered down.
Delegations from around the world repeatedly warned developed countries
that their refusal to set their own adequate targets is preventing any
progress in other aspects of the negotiations under the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Alliance of Small Island States called on developed countries to
commit to higher greenhouse gas reduction targets so that global
temperature rise stays below 1.5ºC. Bolivia demanded repayment of the
developed world’s climate debt. El Salvador and Paraguay stood strong to
protect Indigenous Peoples rights.
Alarmingly, industrialised countries failed in Bonn to agree to the
substantial transfer of money and technology cooperation needed to enable
developing countries to tackle climate change.
“Industrialised countries need to assume their historical responsibility
and pay back their climate debt. Developing countries must stay strong in
calling for climate justice. By ignoring calls to repay their climate debt
and hindering progress in these talks, rich countries are jeopardising the
lives and livelihoods of millions of people.” said Meena Raman, Honorary
Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia.
Industrialised nations owe developing countries a ‘climate debt’ for both
excessive greenhouse gas pollution over the past 200 years and to
compensate for the damage that pollution has and will cause.  Rich,
industrialised countries account for some twenty percent of the world’s
population but are responsible for around three-quarters of historical
greenhouse gas emissions. But developed countries have so far refused to
repay this debt and continued to block progress in the negotiations.
For more information, contact in Bonn:
Meena Raman, Honorary Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia: Tel: +
60 12 43 00 042 (Malaysian mobile number)
Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth US: Tel: +1-202-640 8679 (US mobile
Sonja Meister, Friends of the Earth Europe (English, German): Tel:
+49-176-64 60 85 15 (German mobile number)
Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
Tel: +44 77201 47280 (UK mobile number)
IN BONN TODAY Press conference at 15.30 in Saal Reger, Hotel Maritime from
Friends of the Earth International and Third World Network, Pan African
Climate Justice Alliance, Friends of the Earth USA.
*Interviews available with Friends of the Earth campaigners from Japan,
US, Malaysia, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, UK. Media coordinator: +49 176
NOTES TO EDITORS
 For more information on climate debt, read the Third World Network