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For Immediate Release

Press Release

"They Are Killing the Paris Agreement": Civil Society Slams COP26 Failure and Demands Bold Action in Final Hours

WASHINGTON -

On the last scheduled day of COP26, against the backdrop of civil society protests and unmitigated outrage at lack of equity, urgency, and ambition by world “leaders” and wealthy nations, climate justice leaders slammed the proposals currently being discussed in the final hours of the negotiations. As the clock ticks on COP26 and the window closes to keep warming below 1.5ºc, the climate justice movement has provided an alternate decision to governments—there is still time to act.

As government negotiators exchanged diplomatic niceties and congratulated COP26 President Alok Sharma on his tremendous “leadership,” civil society filled the halls, protesting the great injustice that COP26 is shaping up to be, and condemning the empty promises of supposed “world leaders,” who while pledging to keep 1.5 alive fail to deliver on any meaningful pathway to do so.

While Mr. Sharma sought to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on a deal described as “the worst deal for climate change,” (Ivonne Yañez, Acción Ecológica), climate justice activists from around the world poked holes in Sharma’s so-called “success” and left nothing unsaid at a presser convened by Demand Climate Justice and Friends of the Earth International. The deal on the table is a death sentence for millions of those on the frontlines.

Despite all the cause for anger, activists who have been fighting for real action since COP1 reminded people that this is no time to give up. Until the gavel at COP26 drops, and way beyond, we must continue to fight. Hope lies in the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who took to the streets earlier this week to demand justice, and in those fighting on the global frontlines to stop extractivism.

Ivonne Yañez, Acción Ecológica:

“What has been approved [at COP26] is probably the most land grabbing ever during a COP or during any climate change negotiations. All of these net zero emissions, all of these nature-based solutions, all of the agreements about forests, the agreement about methane—everything that they are approving will be carbon offsets. There will not be enough land and enough oceans...that will provide enough carbon offsets for all of the plans that will be approved here.”

Asad Rehman, War on Want:

“The wealthiest have said that their coffers are empty, treating climate finance as if it were some loose change to be found down the back of the sofa. Whilst in the last decade alone, they've created $25 trillion in quantitative easing to protect their own industries and economies. If only the poor were the banks that we would not be talking about the unmet sums of $100 billion.

Under this UK leadership, this has not been the 1.5 degree COP—it has become closer to the 3 degree COP. And the UK has continued to treat critical issues such as loss and damage as if it's an act of charity: burning someone's home and then offering to buy them a door knob.

In 2021, this new text may have plenty of warm words to acknowledge and “urge” when what we really needed was will, and what we needed when your house is on fire. And for those trapped in that fire, not for us to acknowledge that there is a fire or that we should ring the fire brigade, but to actually act.”

Meena Raman, Third World Network and Friends of the Earth Malaysia 

 “[This draft decision] is massively killing the Paris agreement...No finance, no technology transfer, no adaptation, no loss and damage. If you think that this is what we should be applauding, please, you have to look at it again...There is absolutely complete dishonesty and hypocrisy...You can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. And you cannot fool the climate justice people anymore. We have seen through this illusion and smoke.”

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland

“Neither [Scotland nor the U.K.] are on track to meet their inadequate climate targets, and both have come up with plans that rely on fantasy techno-fixes to keep the fossil fuel industry going while hiding behind a smokescreen of ‘net zero’ and false solutions. The good news, however, is that all over the country, communities are resisting…The people understand what needs to happen, even if the politicians refuse to say no to their friends in the fossil fuel industry. And it’s this kind of resistance, the kind of people power that we’ve seen here in the corridors of COP26, today that is growing here in Scotland, here in the U.K. on every continent.”

Sara Shaw, Friends of the Earth International

“We are witnessing the ‘great Glasgow get-out’. After making a series of flashy announcements full of caveats and loopholes, rich countries and the UK COP Presidency are rushing to close a deal that heaps responsibility for emissions cuts on developing countries, without providing the money they need to move away from fossil fuels. At COP25 in Madrid, big polluters like Shell, Total and BP launched offsetting schemes for so-called ‘nature based solutions’. Now, at COP26 we see nature-based solutions in all but name bang in the middle of the draft agreement. But there simply aren’t enough land and trees in the world to soak up the emissions that big polluters are planning."

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