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Warsaw UN Climate Talks: leaders need to change direction for the climate

How many people does it take to rescue a global climate deal? Lots. In fact, we can only do it with massive public pressure from people like you. And the time is now. 

The latest round of UN discussions trying to solve the massive issue of climate change ended today. Sadly, this year’s negotiations, in Warsaw, Poland, were something of a farce. As Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said:

“Commitments are being flouted. Governments … are acting recklessly and the pervasive influence of dirty energy is wrecking the prospect of a food secure future. Very few countries can walk out of these talks with their head held high.” Australia, the US and EU have refused to say how they will deliver the money they’ve promised to deal with climate change. The US, Australia, Japan, Canada, China, India, Brazil and others have pushed through a blueprint for a new climate deal which will allow countries to choose their own weak targets for reducing emissions. And Japan has pledged to increase their emissions!

No one will be a winner in this race to the bottom, but it’s the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people who stand to lose the most.

Australia was one of the worst offenders and was awarded the Climate Action Network’s ‘colossal fossil’, deeming it the most disruptive of all 194 parties to these talks. According to media reports and a number of observers Australia played a negative and obstructive role across all key aspects of the negotiations.

In fact, organisations including Oxfam were so frustrated with the lack of progress in Warsaw that we walked out of the conference early. “Polluters talk,” we declared, “we walk. But we’ll be back, stronger.”

800 people walking out of the talks sent a strong signal to world leaders. And people and organisations from around the world have been making their voices heard throughout the negotiations. We’ve been stunned by the photo stunts, marches, vigils, petitions and fasts – people just like you couldn’t be clearer: we need a safe climate now.

If there’s one positive thing we’ve taken away from these talks, it’s belief and hope in the power of people. Now, more than ever, we have to shout louder than ever – and ensure world leaders know we won’t stand for delays and weak promises any more.

Check out some of our favourite civil society actions from the last two weeks below (courtesy of our friends at TckTckTck). In the meantime, here’s the last word from Winnie. We hope it inspires you to join the fight against climate change and help push world leaders to act now.

“It’s time to press the reset button.  We need to take critical decisions for our planet’s future out from behind closed doors and give them back to the people. A global climate deal still offers the best hope of avoiding climate catastrophe but it’s going to take every one of us to make it happen.”