Copenhagen negotiators "playing Russian roulette with the future of humanity"
14 Dec 2009
"You can't negotiate with the atmosphere. Physics doesn't compromise" according to leading Irish scientist
Friends of the Earth has accused negotiators at the UN climate talks of "playing Russian roulette with the future of humanity". As ministers begin arriving at the summit in Copenhagen, the environmental organization has called on Presidents and Prime Ministers to end the short-sighted jostling for national advantage and focus on "our common interest in a safe climate". The first week of the conference has been marked by bitter divisions between Western countries and the global south on targets for reducing emissions and finance for coping with the climate change already underway.
From Copenhagen, Friends of the Earth policy officer, Molly Walsh, said:
"So far Western negotiators have showed more interest in limiting progress than limiting climate change. They are constantly looking to minimize commitments and maximise loopholes. They seem intent on ignoring the science and abandoning those on the frontline of climate change, the poorest people on the planet, to their fate."
Before leaving for Copenhagen, Prof John Sweeney, one of Ireland's leading climate scientists, who will be attending the second week conference as an observer at the invitation of Friends of the Earth, observed:
"The offers on the table at Copenhagen so far simply aren't enough to limit global warming to 2C. The trouble is you can't negotiate with the atmosphere. Physics doesn't compromise. We either cut emissions enough to prevent dangerous climate change or we don't. The presidents and prime ministers arriving in Copenhagen this week will have to show real leadership if we are to get a fair and effective deal"
Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director,
"Our negotiators are playing Russian roulette with the future of humanity, and right now all the chambers are loaded. The political leaders arriving in Copenhagen need to put an end to the short-sighted jostling for national advantage and focus on our common interest in a safe climate. They can still turn these negotiations around and do a deal, but it must be real deal that safeguards the climate and the poorest, not a political fudge to save face."
1. An analysis of the offers currently on the table estimates that they would put us on a path to global warming of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. The EU and the G8 agree that 2C is the limit beyond which climate change becomes dangerous. More than half the countries at the summit, lead by Tuvalu, are pushing for a 1.5C limit.
2. The IPCC suggestions of cuts by developed countries of 25-40% by 2020 and 80-95% by 2050, as part of a halving of global emissions, would give us a 50/50 chance of limiting warming to 2C.