Coal is Killing the Climate and the Warsaw Talks
Warsaw, Poland – TODAY – As Australia continued to come under fire for obstructing international climate talks, civil society groups from across the world introduced a 'People's Communique on Coal' into the UN climate summit that concludes this Friday.
The climate talks have been overshadowed by the controversy of the Polish Government supporting a "coal and climate" conference on the sidelines.
The groups, from local community organisations, to regional networks and large international NGOs, released the statement today to highlight the need for an immediate and absolute just transition from coal, in order to confront the climate crisis.
"Australia has sent its coal corporation's representatives to Warsaw, instead of the humanity and compassion of its citizens," said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development from the Philippines, and a leading organiser of the international statement.
Given that emissions from burning coal are the single biggest human source of climate changing greenhouse gases, the communique says that, the push for Coal is a betrayal of the commitment and obligation of governments under the United Nations to address climate change and shift to sustainable pathways."
"This people's declaration on coal makes clear that in every country we demand a just transition to renewable energy controlled by people. That in every country we reject coal that hurts our health, that destroys our rivers and mountains, and that contributes to the climate change driving extreme weather like Typhoon Yolanda," Ms Nacpil said.
The declaration comes out of Reclaim Power – a global month of action on energy, which occurred throughout October and highlighted resistance against dirty energy that is driving climate change and proposed clean, people-controlled solutions.
"Africans are choosing a better, cleaner, safer and more democratic future by rejecting coal. Our ministers must do the same at the Warsaw conference, and not let the dirty coal lobbyists dressed up as Australian government officials get in the way of urgent, immediate, emission controls by developed countries and a ban on new fossil fuel projects," Robert Chimambo, the Zambia chapter of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said.
Jagoda Munic, chairperson for Friends of the Earth International said: "The Polish government should act in the interests of Polish people, not corporations. We are calling on them to act as a leader in Central and Eastern Europe and transition to a just, clean renewable energy future, not one dominated by dirty coal."
"King Coal is dead, but his zombie marches on. Today, activists rallied outside the coal summit happening alongside the UN climate conference to expose the industry's blatant attempt at greenwashing. It's either coal or the climate – this industry has no future on this planet," Jamie Henn, Communications Director for 350.org said.
The People's Communique comes in contrast to the communique produced by a coal industry conference supported by the Polish government and attended by Christiana Figueres, the UN's highest ranking official on climate change. Figueres's attendance at the Polish conference has attracted a high level of criticism and she has been urged to reject attempts to link the conference to the UN talks in any significant way.
The organisers of the People's Communique are urging Ms Figueres to accept their call for the ban on new coal projects as a formal submission to the talks.