Copenhagen: A Disaster for World's Poorest

For Immediate Release

Copenhagen: A Disaster for World's Poorest

COPENHAGEN - Commenting on the failure of rich country
governments to secure a strong and fair UN agreement to tackle climate
change in Copenhagen, Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth
International, said:

“Copenhagen has been an abject failure. Justice has not been done. By
delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s
poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change
accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the
developed nations.

“We are disgusted by the failure of rich countries to commit to the
emissions reductions they know are needed, especially the US, which is
the world's largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases. In contrast
African nations, China and others in the developing world deserve praise
for their progressive positions and constructive approach. Major
developing countries cannot be blamed for the failure of rich
industrialised countries.”

A confidential United Nations paper leaked on December 17 predicts that
average temperatures rise will far exceed the 2 degree threshold set by
the UN even if current international pledges are fully implemented. This
is effectively a death sentence for many in some of the world’s most
vulnerable countries, including small island states, who had demanded a
limit of 1.5 degrees.

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, added:

“Instead of committing to deep cuts in emissions and putting new, public
money on the table to help solve the climate crisis, rich countries have
bullied developing nations to accept far less. Those most responsible
for putting the planet in this mess have not shown the guts required to
fix it and have instead acted to protect short-term political interests.

“The only real leadership at the conference has come from the hundreds
of thousands of ordinary people who’ve come together to demand strong
action to prevent climate catastrophe. Their voices are loud and growing
– and Friends of the Earth International will continue to be part of the
fight for climate justice.”

Friends of the Earth International has been one of the key contributors
to the alternative people's summit known as the Klimaforum with allied
organisations such as La Via Campesina and the World March of Women.

Friends of the Earth will continue to fight for a strong and fair
agreement to tackle climate change.

“There is a growing climate justice movement and more and more people
are getting involved. This is the beginning of change. Everyone can
pressure their government to take a stronger stance. Everyone can take
action to tackle climate change, consuming less, saving energy and
improving energy efficiency for instance,“ said Palle Bendsen from NOAH
/ Friends of the Earth Denmark.


* Rich, developed countries did not commit to cut their greenhouse
gas emissions by at least 40% in comparison with 1990 levels by
2020. These cuts should be made at home - with no offsetting.
Offsetting, including through the 'Clean Development Mechanism',
is a false solution and should be rejected.

* Rich, developed countries did not acknowledge the climate debt
that they owe to developing countries as a result of decades of

* The World Bank and its climate funds have not been rejected
despite the fact that they are set to increase developing country
debt and promote dirty energy such as “clean” coal.

* Forests are still included in ‘carbon offsetting initiatives’ and
this does not help to combat climate change. It diverts attention
from the real solutions to climate change and deforestation.
Copenhagen talks did not state that plantations are not forests.
Damaging monoculture tree plantations have not been excluded from
the UN climate negotiations.

* False solutions like nuclear energy and agrofuels have not been
excluded from the UN talks.


Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International: + 45 61 72
57 01

Meena Raman, Hon. Secretary, Friends of the Earth Malaysia: + 45 52 68
46 29

Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth US President, + 45 30 74 47 09

Elizabeth Bast, Friends of the Earth International: + 45 61 27 63 06

Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland, +
44 7720 147280 (+45 6178 2833)

Lars Haltbrekken, Friends of the Earth Norway chairman: + 47 916 12 191

Palle Bendsen from NOAH / Friends of the Earth Denmark: + 45 30 13 76 95

Helen Burley, Friends of the Earth International media line: + 45 53 99
59 27

Henry Rummins, Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland
email: or call +44 776 16 01 666 (UK mobile) or
+ 45 617 20 747

Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth US communications: +45 30 48 31 73 or

Rikke Rasmussen, NOAH / Friends of the Earth Denmark press officer: Tel:
+45 21 68 18 05 or email


Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

Share This Article

More in: