We are in the midst of a climate emergency, facing droughts, storms, and ecosystem collapse of an unprecedented intensity. The lives and livelihoods of billions are at risk, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people bearing the brunt of a climate crisis that fans the flames of injustice everywhere.
In October, the world’s scientists made clear that to limit warming to 1.5ºC – a goal set in the Paris Agreement – we must take immediate action, including policies for stopping all new fossil fuel projects, drastically scaling up finance and technology transfer from rich countries to the global South, and eliminating dangerous distractions like carbon market schemes. To be truly effective, we must do this in a way that is fair and just for grassroots and frontline communities, ensuring that the burden does not fall on the poor and those who are most affected by – but least responsible for – the climate crisis.
As people of the world, we demand climate justice and a safer climate with under 1.5ºC of warming. Governments must take responsibility and provide real leadership to halt climate breakdown. They are failing completely to do so, and their failures are on full display here at COP24.
These negotiations are not on track to pass the tests of science and justice. The forces of fossil fuel corporations and the politicians they pay are strong – industry logos are plastered throughout the conference and their influence is felt everywhere. Rich country governments who are heavily invested in fossil fuel production – including the US, EU, Australia, and Japan – have abandoned their responsibilities. They say they will not provide real money for real solutions in poorer countries. Nor will they cut their own emissions, begin a managed decline off the fossil fuel industry, or support communities facing irreversible and devastating impacts from climate change.
In this context, it is no surprise that the rules for the Paris Agreement which will be agreed at this COP are not going to be strong enough to give us the transformative action we need. Nobody expected one conference to solve the climate crisis by itself. But we did expect better than this – and we do deserve better.
That is why hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have launched the People’s Demands for Climate Justice, laying out a clear vision for the world we need. We are already taking action to stop fossil fuel projects on our land, resist the corporations profiting from climate destruction, and target the merchants of chaos in banks and the financial sector. Now we need everyone to join this fight.
We welcome the fact that school children, responding to the call of 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, are going on strike – not for their tomorrow – but for their today. And we stand in solidarity with environmental defenders around the world who are laying their lives on the line to fight dirty energy and false solutions on the frontlines.
Inside these halls, we are calling on the rich polluting countries to stop obstructing progress and to support the just transition we need. Outside after this conference, we join with existing movements of impacted communities to support their demands – the People’s Demands – refusing to accept world leaders’ failures to keep fossil fuels in the ground, to reject false solutions like carbon markets, bioenergy and techno-fixes, to invest in real solutions, provide finance and technology for developing countries, protect environmental and human rights defenders, and address the needs of communities hit hardest by climate impacts.
The recent IPCC report underscores a stark reality: we must act now to define a just and equitable path forward to avert climate chaos. To that end, we call on all rich polluting countries to immediately commit to revised global commitments and enact domestic policy that ensures a managed decline and just transition off fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy within the next 12 years.
Today, we demand that countries commit to action in line with the urgency of the crisis. Tomorrow, we will continue to build our movements at home calling for these governments to implement that urgent action to create a just and sustainable world.