December 17, 2018

COP24 – People power and local resistance highlighted as polluters thwart progress at climate talks

KATOWICE, Poland – Despite last-minute behind-the-scenes efforts to shore up the “rulebook” of the Paris Climate Agreement, country delegates at COP24 failed to deliver a strong enough set of guidelines to accelerate its implementation. The rulebook was adopted but crucial sticking points were left to future negotiations.

Hopes that the latest evidence presented by the IPCC report released in October earlier this year would spark immediate efforts to upgrade climate action before 2020 were also crushed, as governments ruled by fossil fuel interests blocked progress.

After a year of national and local level dialogues, whose purpose was to catalyze the submission of stronger national climate plans, the most recent analyses foreshadow a world 3.3°C warmer if current plans were implemented.

Glen Klatovsky, Australia Acting CEO, commented:

“Too often we have watched Australian governments attend these meetings with the clear goal of representing the interests of the coal industry. And this year was no different. Our delegation was the only other nation to join the U.S. at a pro-coal event held by the Trump administration during the climate talks.”

“It is time we had a government that represents the people and not the fossil fuel industry. The people of Australia are facing drought, storms and bushfires – and the prospect of a third major bleaching event for the Great Barrier Reef. We deserve leaders that will step up to the challenge of facing the climate crisis.”

May Boeve, Executive Director, commented:

“It’s maddening to see how the fossil fuel lobby was given free rein at the climate talks, while at least 15 civil society organizers were barred from even entering Poland. The end result is again underwhelming, signalling that not even the last IPCC report on 1.5°C was enough of a wake up call for some of the biggest polluters on the planet. Even more troubling, the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have gone out of their way to block the official endorsement of the IPCC report, making it clear the low regard in which they hold both science and multilateralism.”

“Most governments refused to strengthen their climate plans; and public finance commitments from richer countries still don’t match the powerful wave of commitments to divest from fossil fuels, which reached 1,000+ commitments and almost 8 trillion dollars in managed assets right before COP24.”

“Hope now rests on the shoulders of the many people who are rising to take action – the inspiring children who started an unprecedented wave of strikes in schools to support a fossil free future;  the 1,000+ institutions that committed to pull their money out of coal, oil, and gas; the many communities worldwide who keep resisting fossil fuel development and calling for a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy systems for all.”

“By refusing to acknowledge what needs to be done before it’s too late and making the tiniest of tiny baby-steps of progress, politicians have pushed this climate COP toward irrelevance. But they can rest assured: we will keep ramping up our efforts, we will be louder and bolder in peacefully disrupting our societies’ toxic addiction to fossil fuels and in helping build the solutions that will allow us to avoid catastrophic and runaway climate change. We only have a handful of years to get this right and we won’t stop until the world is free from fossil fuels and is a more equitable and safe place to live for all”.




– Photos of people taking action on the final day of COP24 are available here.