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Latest news on COP24 climate discussions

Greta Thunberg, 15-year-old climate activist, speaks at COP24

Greta Thunberg, 15-year-old climate activist, speaks at COP24.

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Article
5 December 2018

Youth delegation advances climate justice demands at COP24

Author: Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard

"Long frustrated by the slow pace of climate action and what they view as the tendency among the United Nations' members to cave to industry interests, the gathered activists found little to be optimistic about in the opening ceremonies of the summit this year, where world leaders spoke repeatedly about the complexity of the negotiations and the need for compromise.

These activists are no longer interested in compromise, and, on Tuesday, they delivered the People's Demands for Climate Justice, an official list of climate action demands that organizers say are endorsed by 330 organizations and hundreds of millions of people from 129 countries. Still, these fundamental concerns too often go overlooked in the negotiations at events like COP24. Phillip Brown, a COP24 delegate for the youth-led non-profit SustainUS, set the tone for the action event: 'We've been negotiating in these halls for over 24 years,' he told the crowd, 'and global leaders continue to fail us.' "

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Article
4 December 2018

5 calls to action to ensure climate action respects human rights

Author: Center for International Environmental Law

In Katowice, Poland, the climate negotiations (COP24) will overlap with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Join us in calling on negotiators to adopt rules for implementing the Paris Agreement that ensure human rights drive all climate action.

We will deliver your signature to every negotiator attending the climate talks in Katowice. Our massive showing of public support for these demands from around the world will demonstrate that delivering on the promises made in Paris are what we expect from our negotiators at COP24.

Please add your name in support of these calls to action:

  1. Countries at COP24 must commit to more ambitious, aggressive climate action to keep temperature rise below 1.5ºC. This follows the report from the world’s leading climate scientists warning that we only have 12 years left to keep global warming below that maximum before the risks of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty significantly worsen.
  2. Governments must adopt a Rulebook of guidelines on how to carry out the Paris Agreement and ensure its commitments are fully realized.
  3. This Rulebook must specifically address human rights, gender, indigenous peoples, participation, and food security. Governments must also ensure that human rights are integrated in their own domestic climate action.
  4. Governments should sign a declaration reaffirming their commitment to promoting a just transition of the workforce. Workers should not be impoverished by efforts to combat climate change. This declaration would recognize the importance of including workers in decision-making affecting their own lives, such as in decarbonizing the economy and taking into account communities impacted by revenue losses.
  5. To ensure that the knowledge and perspectives of local communities and indigenous peoples are included in implementing the climate policies that would affect them, governments must finalize the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform.

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Article
4 December 2018

Ammesty Intl. calls for inclusion of perspectives of communities most affected by climate change in COP 24 talks

Author: Chiara Liguori, Amnesty Intl.

"Climate justice clashes with an increasingly intolerant Poland", 30 Nov 2018

[I]n the build up to COP24, environmental activists around the world have been ramping up protests in a bid to pressure their governments into taking drastic action...But there will be few protests outside COP24 itself. Earlier this year the Polish government adopted a bill that prevents activists, NGOs and the general public from holding spontaneous assemblies outside the talks. Demonstrators must notify the city authorities in advance or risk prosecution. The bill also gives police extra powers to put conference participants under enhanced surveillance without their knowledge. Essentially, the Polish authorities can treat COP24 as an opportunity to gather data on NGOs and strengthen their police powers. This comes in the context of an escalating crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Poland...It is an incredibly dangerous moment to stand up against the destruction of the environment. The bitter irony is that this is exactly the moment when the world needs to hear the voices of all those affected by climate change. We need to hear the perspectives of communities from around the world who are most affected by the effects of heat, drought and floods in their daily lives. Everybody, and especially those most affected, have a stake in what it is being discussed and should be able to express their voices including through peaceful demonstrations. The Polish government is denying these people a seat at the very table where their fate will be decided...Last week the Polish Ministry of Energy published a statement defending the country’s reliance on coal, and argued that raising targets would harm the Polish economy. However, a poll commissioned last year by Greenpeace Poland showed that 74 per cent of Polish people support a shift from coal to renewable energies...

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Article
4 December 2018

Frontline Defenders issues digital protection advice for civil society advocates attending COP 24

Author: Frontline Defenders

"Front Line Defenders Releases Digital Protection Advice for Activists & Journalists Attending COP-24 in Katowice, Poland"

To help civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists attending COP24 in Katowice, Front Line Defenders has today released advice related to digital protection, outlining key security measures that should be taken to enhance the safety of data..."Given the assault on climate change science by right-wing nationalist governments, the green light given to the security forces and police by this law to target civil society and human rights defenders is gravely worrying. Front Line Defenders urges all who will attend the conference and side activities in Katowice to take and use this advice to enable better digital protection.” [said Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders]...

In May 2018, UN Special Rapporteurs John Knox, Michel Forst, David Kaye, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule and Joe Cannataci urged the government of Poland to ensure free and full participation at the climate talks. They noted that the legislation “appears to give sweeping surveillance powers to the police and secret services to collect and process personal data about all COP24 participants” and “appears to prevent spontaneous peaceful assemblies in Katowice.”...Front Line Defenders echoes the call of the UN Special Rapporteurs, and urges civil society activists, human rights defenders and journalists to take all necessary precautions outlined in the Digital Security Bulletin.

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Article
4 December 2018

Polish Government Issues Terrorism Alert in Katowice Days Before Start of UN Climate Talks

Author: Chloe Farand, DeSmogUK

The Polish government has implemented a terrorism alert in the province where the annual UN climate talks are about to start. Climate campaigners are warning of a “tense atmosphere” in and around the city of Katowice in southern Poland, where the global climate negotiations, known as COP24, are due to kick off on Monday...In a statement, the government confirmed the heightened security measures had been introduced in connection with COP24 and will remain in force for the entire length of the talks, until December 15...The news comes after...the Polish Parliament approved a bill that banned all spontaneous protests in Katowice during the talks. ..Sébastien Duyck, a senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, told DeSmog UK that there were “strong tensions” around the law...Duyck added that the data collection powers granted to the police under the law had led some climate campaigners from developing countries with no democratic institutions not to attend the conference in Katowice, fearing repercussions in their own countries...The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), a Thailand-based network of feminists and grassroots climate organisations, described the bill as “setting a dangerous precedent” and one that “undermines human rights and fundamental freedoms”...“By closing spaces for voices of the people to come into global platforms like the COP, the profit making exploitative industries and the states continue business as usual at the cost of the planet.”

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