Tuesday 28 November 2023, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Rich countries most responsible for climate change must take the lead in pursuing a just and equitable transition away from all fossil fuels and providing finance to developing countries, rather than wasting time on carbon markets, risky technofixes and other false solutions,(1) affirm Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), as UN climate talks begin amidst a dire global political context.
The world’s largest grassroots environmental federation will be present at COP28 in Dubai, to call for climate action based on justice and equity, challenge big polluters, and stand in solidarity with oppressed peoples in the United Arab Emirates, Palestine and across the world.
FoEI anticipates that developed countries, such as the US, UK and EU member states, will continue their efforts to erase key principles of the global climate framework, pushing back on their responsibility for causing the climate crisis and consequent obligation to cut emissions first and fastest and provide climate finance for just transition, adaptation, and loss and damage in developing countries. This impacts discussions on almost every negotiation topic and is likely to lead to conflict and deadlock in the negotiating halls.
Further endangering the possibility of just outcomes is the fact that delegates tied to the world’s biggest polluting oil and gas firms have attended UN climate talks at least 7200 times over the last 20 years and will be there in force at COP28.(2) Revelations that the UAE COP28 president is using bilateral meetings with countries at the summit to advance fossil fuel business deals are highly disturbing.(3)
Lise Masson, from Friends of the Earth International, says:
“While climate impacts intensify, COP28 is rolling out the red carpet to Big Polluters, the stars of greenwashing and false solutions to climate change. Carbon markets, offsets and removals won’t save the day, they are a dangerous distraction propped up by rich countries and polluting corporations desperate to carry on business as usual.”
In a context of extreme state repression, FoEI comes to COP28 to raise the voices of all those who defend human rights, democracy and environmental justice around the world, including many who chose not to attend this year’s summit. Along with other internationalist organisations, FoEI calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, and for an end to settler colonialism and climate colonialism everywhere.
Abeer Al-Butmeh, from PENGON/Friends of the Earth Palestine, says from the West Bank:
“Our struggle against Israel’s colonial regime is intrinsically linked with all struggles for human rights and climate justice. COP28 is being used as a greenwashing tool by Israel, to deflect criticism from their systematic oppression of Palestinian people and project themselves as climate saviours, while committing environmental genocide in Gaza. As a Palestinian, I am not attending the COP28 in the name of climate justice.”
Lise Masson, adds:
“Conflict, colonialism and corporate power are fanning the flames of environmental breakdown and destroying lives deemed disposable, from Palestine to the frontlines of climate impacts in the South. We are here to remind world leaders of the urgency to act, and the justice and equity that must accompany every decision.”
Notes for editors
COP28 is shaping up for fights and decisions on:
- rich countries’ responsibility to finance climate action in developing countries – and their attempts to avoid it;
- governance of the finance facility for loss and damage – worryingly likely to be hosted by the World Bank, with only voluntary contributions;
- details of a global carbon market under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement – set to accelerate false solutions which do not cut emissions at source and cause grave harm in the Global South;
- a global target for renewable energy – without the finance for implementation and guardrails to protect people from a new wave of extractivism it risks becoming another burden for developing countries;
- attempts to delay a just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels by including loopholes to allow for continued pollution;
- a global stocktake of countries emissions reductions efforts to date – currently weak as it fails to ramp up ambition or include finance and support from developed countries for action in developing countries.
(1) See FoEI’s recent resources on false solutions:
- Position paper: Don’t fall for the hydrogen hype! (Nov. 2023)
- Toolkit for fighting climate false solutions (Nov. 2023) which includes: Bank of evidence on the negative impacts of ‘nature-based solutions’; List of resources; Opposing carbon markets guide
- Factsheets on ‘nature-based solutions’ and soil carbon farming (Jul. 2023)
(2) Kick Big Polluters Out campaign press release, 21 Nov.
(3) Climate Reporting and BBC story, 27 Nov.
For an overview of FoEI’s activities and spokespeople, see the media advisory, 20 Nov.
Thursday 30 November 11.00-11.30 (GMT+4) – FoEI demands and expectations for COP28
Speakers: Lise Masson (FoEI), Abeer Butmeh (FoE Palestine/PENGON, recorded statement), Meena Raman (FoE Malaysia/Sahabat Alam Malaysia), Kirtana Chandrasekaran (FoEI)
Room: Press 2, Zone B6 – Building 77
WEBCAST link to follow.
Friends of the Earth members are available to provide comments in various languages.
To arrange interviews, contact: Madeleine Race, madeleine[at]foei.org, +31645198654 on Whatsapp/Signal. Remote 30 Nov-6 Dec; in Dubai 7-14 Dec; speaks English/French/Spanish.