International

Green groups walk out of UN climate talks in Warsaw

Greenpeace, Oxfam and four other NGOs say the talks are a waste of time

Members of NGOs walk out of United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 19 in Warsaw on November 21, 2013.
Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Six green groups walked out of U.N. climate negotiations in Warsaw on Thursday, declaring that the ailing talks were "on track to deliver virtually nothing."

The annual round of talks are meant to pave the way to a climate deal by 2015 that will peg global warming to a maximum of 3.6 degrees over pre-industrial revolution levels.

But deep faultlines have emerged between rich and poor nations.

The negotiations, which opened in the Polish capital on Nov. 11, entered their penultimate day Thursday with the two sides still squabbling over funding for poor nations to deal with climate change, and apportioning curbs in climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace spokesman Gregor Kessler told AFP news agency that the groups were "leaving this year's conference for good today."

He said the delegations, or at least that of Greenpeace, would not leave Warsaw altogether, and would "follow the discussions from the outside."

"We will not be part of the internal discussions," Kessler said.

The other signatories were the World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, ActionAid, the International Trade Union Confederation and Friends of the Earth.

On Wednesday, the G77, a group of developing countries including China, walked out of a meeting about compensation for the impact of global warming. Representatives accused wealthier nations of failing to show willingness to discuss aid or compensation for losses and damage widely blamed on global warming, such as rising sea levels and creeping desertification.

Governments 'failing'

Green groups attend the talks as observers and advisors, and do not take part in decision-making, which is reserved for U.N. member states.

"Organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks," the signatories said in a statement. "The Warsaw climate conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing."

Oxfam's executive director, Winnie Byanyima, said governments gathered in Warsaw were failing in their primary responsibility of securing the security of their people.

"They must... come back in 2014 ready for meaningful discussions on how they will deliver their share of the emissions reductions, which scientists say are needed, and their share of the money needed to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt" to climate change, said Byanyima.

Al Jazeera and AFP

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