Katowice, Poland – TODAY – Another round of the annual UN Climate Summit (known as COP24) began today in Katowice, Poland.
350.org Executive Director May Boeve offered the following reaction:
“After the most devastating wildfire in California’s history and other worsening impacts across the globe we will see if governments have paid attention to the recent IPCC report. That report sets out clearly what needs to happen to a ensure a just transition for the world to meet the 1.5C temperature limit goal.”
The first day of the summit was delayed in starting due to procedural wrangling by Turkey over its categorisation as a “developed country” under the UN climate treaty.
A coalition of Turkish civil society organisations responded by releasing the following statement (full text here):
“As the civil society representatives active in Turkey, we believe that it is crucial for the country to approach the UN Climate Summits with a broader presence, including pushing to improve its climate pledges rather than limiting itself to the issue of access to the Green Climate Fund.”
In setting expectations for the remaining two weeks of the conference 350.org Executive Director May Boeve continued:
“We expect to see a way forward to upgrading action on climate prior to 2020, as our representatives promised in Paris. But the choice of fossil fuel companies to sponsor the conference casts a long-shadow over such hopes.”
“We also expect a strong and comprehensive Paris Agreement rulebook agreed in Katowice. A rulebook that ensures that governments stop all new fossil fuel projects, turn off the funding tap to dirty energy, and actually prepare, plan and invest in a just transition to 100% renewable energy.”
“But no matter what happens in the negotiating corridors in Katowice the change is already happening the world. Cities in Ukraine and Georgia have committed to go 100% renewable; community activists in Poland are shaping a new consensus on what the economy and development should look like; and financial markets are increasingly black-listing fossil fuel industries like coal.”
In response to suggestions that the Trump Administration was intending to host an official side-event promoting coal at the Summit. May Boeve said:
“Trump’s COP24 coal convention is a disgraceful clown show. As the world transitions away from coal, oil, and gas, fossil fuel CEOs and their political puppets are trying to keep us hooked.
“Instead of propping up sunset industry, we should be investing in a Green New Deal that prioritizes frontline and coal-communities, nurtures a livable planet, and creates millions of good jobs in the process.”
“Led by Indigenous Peoples, youth, and frontline communities, people across the US are already hard at work building real solutions to the climate crisis: from solar panels in the path of Keystone XL, to offshore wind, and a community-owned solar plant in Brooklyn. In the face of a federal administration exploiting our health and safety, we need to pressure elected officials at all levels to take action at the scale of the crisis; that means stopping all fossil fuel projects and transitioning to 100% renewables for all.”
350.Org will have several accredited observers at the Summit and is actively engaging in the public civil society space the “Climate Hub” located outside of the official UN precinct.
We will be promoting several stories that are important context for the UN negotiations.
- A clear statement from people across the world on their “test” for what the negotiations should achieve;
- That the recent IPCC report requires urgent action to stop new fossil fuel projects – and we profile 8 such projects that will blow us through the 1.5C Paris temperature goal:
- But that change is happening – including in Eastern Europe, Poland, and in the financial sector – with new reports and profiles of this transition;
- However this is coupled with increasing state repression of climate activism which threatens lives as well as progress on climate goals.
350.org would be delighted to work with you to cover these stories and to help you dive into their details.
In the lead up to the Katowice Summit a global alliance of civil society groups released a set of People’s Demands.
They already have 284,000 personal signatures, in 129 countries, from 335 organisations across the world.
The easiest way for the world to assess the progress of the talks is against these demands.
We will be promoting a press conference on the People’s Demands as well as helping link to subject-matter experts and/or in-country activists.
There will be actions/photo/video opportunities accompanying these demands throughout the two weeks of the Summit.
It is particularly likely that the United States will be singled out as a target for this activism given its historical antipathy for climate action and its current Government’s approach to the negotiations.
2. The IPCC Report Means No New Fossil Fuels
The other objective measure of progress at Katowice is against the IPCC (the UN science panel)’s latest report.
The report outlines what is required to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5C – a “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems.”
In Katowice we will be releasing a report and linking to spokespeople from campaigns against 8 key pieces of fossil fuel infrastructure that must be stopped if we are to meet the 1.5C goal.
3. The Change is Happening – Even Where You Least Expect It
Although progress in the UN talks is slow – there are plenty of bright sparks and green shoots of climate action to look at. Many of them are occurring where you might least expect it.
In Katowice we will be profiling:
Eastern European Cities Committing to 100% Renewable Energy
Including a panel of 5 Mayors from the region outlining their plans to embrace renewable energy;
A report overviewing their plans and proposals;
Interviews and profiles of the activists who achieved this shift.
With the release of a video highlighting inspiring examples of grassroots activism in Poland;
Hosting events in the civil society space telling local stories.
A new milestone in the global campaign to “divest” from fossil fuels
We are expecting an important divestment announcement in the second week of the negotiations
We will have a report outlining the history and trajectory of fossil fuel “divestment” movement and its successes
We will also link to experts on broader trends and changes in global finance and its role in driving climate action.
4. But state repression threatens lives and climate action
Given the setting of Poland and recent developments in Brazil we will also be using the Katowice Summit to highlight examples of state repression against climate and environmental activists.
This will include panels of speakers from countries and campaigns impacted by this repression, internal and cross-organisational strategy meetings to prepare for the threat, and links to stories and interviews from in-country campaigns.
5. Spokespeople Available from 350.Org at COP24
MAY BOEVE is Co-founder and Executive Director of 350.org. As director, she has helped lead the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, coordinate the growing fossil fuel divestment movement, and mobilize hundreds of thousands around the world. She is the co-author of Fight Global Warming Now. She can comment on U.S. policy and actions as well as general developments in the COP.
In English and Arabic:
HODA BARAKA is Global Communications Director for 350.org. Based in Egypt, she coordinates global communications for all of 350.org’s worldwide campaigns. She is a long time COP observer and can comment on the latest policy developments on a range of issues.
In English and Polish:
PIOTR TRZASKOWSKI is the Poland Organiser at 350.org. He is an Eastern European energy expert as well as an activist in the fields of food sovereignty, climate change and the defence of democracy. His latest endeavour was establishing a Polish Avaaz-style online campaigning organisation Akcja Demokracja, which became one of the leading forces in protesting against government’s attempts to ban abortion and to strip the Polish judiciary system of independence. He can comment on Polish policy and activity.
In English and Turkish:
CANSIN LEYLIM is a Global Projects Manager at 350.org. She is based in Turkey and manages 350.org’s global projects and iconic fights against fossil fuel projects. Aside from energy and climate, she has experience in issues pertaining to human rights, child labour and agricultural labour. She can comment on climate action, climate justice, and climate activism across the world.
In English and French:
NICOLAS HAERINGER, is the Global Organiser for 350.org, supporting our Fossil Free campaigns and mobilizations across the world. He is the author of Zero Fossile, a book that makes the case for fossil fuel divestment. As a leading environmental and climate justice activist in France, he can comment on European climate policy, as well as the latest updates from the climate campaigns underway in Europe and globally.
In English, Ukrainian, Russian:
SVITLANA ROMANKO is the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia Coordinator for 350.org. A lawyer with a background in environmental governance and community rights and participation, she has been working with cities and municipalities across the region on climate solutions to plan for their transition to 100% renewable energy. She can comment on climate action, activism, and policy making in the Eastern European region.
In English and Spanish:
ALEX RAFALOWICZ is the Global Communications Manager at 350.Org based in Bogotá, Colombia. He has been following COP negotiations for almost ten years and also brings a background in climate finance campaigns. He can comment on general progress in the negotiations, climate finance issues, and climate activism.
Spokespeople on other issues and from other regions available in Katowice or remotely are available upon request.