U.S. President Donald Trump's representatives at the U.N. climate talks in Poland were openly laughed at on Monday.
Disrupting the Trump administration's attempt to promote planet-destroying fossil fuel production during a side panel at the COP24 climate talks in Poland, hundreds of indigenous and youth climate leaders captured the international community's collective disdain for U.S. President Donald Trump's subservience to Big Oil by laughing loudly at U.S. envoys as they attempted to speak, chanting "Keep it in the ground," and taking over the panel to demand bold and just solutions to the global climate crisis.
"These false solutions are a joke," declared one demonstrator after the derisive laughter subsided, "but the impact on our frontline communities are not. We hold the solutions and we know that we must keep it in the ground."
The moment that the Trump administration’s panel promoting fossil fuels is disrupted by demonstrators at global climate summit #COP24. Protesters chant ‘Keep it in the ground!’ and ‘Shame on you!’ pic.twitter.com/gUa7gtVfoW
— Griff Witte (@griffwitte) December 10, 2018
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) December 10, 2018
"Our communities, whose very survival is most directly impacted by climate change, have become a living red line," José Bravo of the Just Transition Alliance said after seizing one of the panel's microphones. "Our air and water are being poisoned by fossil fuel extraction, our livelihoods are threatened by floods and drought, our communities are the hardest hit and the least protected in extreme weather events—and our demands for our survival and for the rights of future generations are pushing local, national, and global leaders towards real solutions to the climate, economic, and social crises."
Aneesa Khan, a 23-year old youth delegation leader with SustainUS, added that the Trump administration's "only priority is ensuring fossil fuel CEOs get every last dollar of our communities. I wake up every day worrying that my grandpa in Chennai, India will drown in a climate-induced flood like the ones in recent years. No one should lose loved ones to a crisis that can be prevented."
Incredibly powerful action as frontline youth & community leaders took over Trump’s fossil fuel panel at #COP24. Standing up to corporations and corruption, walking on shouting 'shame on you'#KeepItInTheGround pic.twitter.com/Pj83Mve9XH
— Caroline Rance (@CaroRance) December 10, 2018
Titled "U.S. Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Dynamism," Monday's pro-fossil fuel panel marks the second year in a row the Trump administration has used the annual United Nations climate talks as a platform to advocate increasing dirty energy production rather than dramatically curtailing and ultimately eliminating it, as the science says must be done in order to avert planet-wide devastation.
"Trump's attempts to pander to coal industry executives despite deafening alarms that burning more fossil fuels will lead to more destructive climate catastrophes, air pollution illnesses and fatalities, and will leave U.S. workers out of the inevitable renewable energy transition is more than just willful ignorance—it's criminally irresponsible," Naomi Ages, a senior climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said in a statement. "Let's hope other leaders at the COP who listen to scientists will drown out this 'pro-coal' sideshow and the abdication of responsibility and leadership from the world's second largest emitter."