Civil Society Walks out of Warsaw Climate Talks, Says Hope Lies with Building Peoples’ Power

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From Friends of the Earth International 

[WARSAW, POLAND, November 21, 2013] Today, one day before the planned conclusion of the Warsaw UN climate talks, hundreds of individuals from all continents representing social movements, trade unions and non-governmental organizations – including Friends of the Earth International – walked out of the UN climate conference in protest. [1]

“Polluters and corporations dominated this conference with their empty talk, so we walked out in protest. Polluters talk, we walk,” said Jagoda Munic, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth International.

“While people around the world are paying with their lives and livelihoods, and the risk of runaway climate change draws closer, we simply could not sit by this egregious inaction. Corporate profits should not come before peoples’ lives,” said Jagoda Munic.

“People and communities around the world who are already implementing climate-safe, local energy systems are the real climate leaders. Together, we must now apply political pressure so that our governments follow these leaders instead of the corporate polluters,” she added.

Friends of the Earth International witnessed at these talks outrageous inaction by developed country governments – and in particular the ‘Dirty Four’: Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.

Meanwhile, the Polish host government actively helped corporate polluters such as coal companies to influence the talks. The European Union also disappointed, with only minimal ambition and insufficient climate finance proposals.

In Warsaw, industrialised countries’ governments did nothing to cut emissions or provide real finance to tackle climate change. In addition, they continued to avoid their responsibility to prevent climate catastrophe.

“Developed nations governments have been hijacked by corporate polluters and their positions prevented even a minimal progress of the talks. Developed country governments actions in Warsaw demonstrate that they are listening to polluters such as Shell and ArcelorMittal instead of their own people, said Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator.

“We are calling on developed countries to go back home and listen to their own people. People all over the world demand urgent steps to agree an ambitious, binding and equitable international agreement on climate change. Now is the time to break free from our fossil fuel addiction and start a transformation towards sustainable and just societies,” she added.

The UN is the most democratic space to address the climate crisis. The UN climate talks are supposed to be making progress on implementing the agreement that world governments made in 1992 to stop man-made and dangerous climate change.

The agreement recognises that rich countries have done the most to cause the problem of climate change and should take the lead in solving it, as well as provide funds to poorer countries as repayment of their climate debt.


Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator: +48 537884908 (Polish mobile) or email *

Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International: +385 98 17 95 690 (Croatian mobile) or email *

Friends of the Earth International media line: +31-6-5100 5630 (valid only until 22 Nov) or email: *


[1] The organisations which walked out today include the International Trade Union Confederation, PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance, Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Jubilee South (APMDD),, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, ActionAid and many others representing millions of people from around the world who demand real climate action.

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