Archived press release
Press & Media

Commenting on the outcome of the UN climate talks which concluded today, Friends of the Earth's International Climate Campaigner Asad Rehman said:

"The world needed strong and determined action to tackle climate change in Cancun - the outcome is a weak and ineffective agreement but at least it gives us a small and fragile lifeline.

"Russia, Japan and the US, backed by powerful vested interests, have pursued a selfish agenda which has opened the door to a hazardous system where emissions targets would be decided on the whim of politicians, rather than by science.

"The emissions cuts on the table could still lead to a global temperature increase of up to five degrees which would be catastrophic for hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people."

He added:

"Establishing a Global Climate Fund is a vital step forward in providing developing countries with the money they need to tackle climate change - but the pledges of funding are very far off what is needed.

"We don't think that that the World Bank, as one of the largest lenders for fossil fuel projects in the world, should have been given a role as trustee of the Fund. The real test will be if the money flows to developing countries, because these promises have been broken in the past.

"Moves to expand carbon markets will increase massive loopholes in the already weak targets - and widen the escape hatch for rich countries to avoid making the deep emissions cuts we urgently need. They also raise the risk of a speculative trading bubble and a double whammy of financial and environmental disaster.

"However, the UN negotiations remain alive, giving us the possibility of more progress next year - and Friends of the Earth will be working for talks which treat all involved fairly and equally.

"We will be working hard for an agreement in South Africa where rich country emissions targets are set fairly and in line with science, and dangerous loopholes closed before the deal is finally sealed.

"We are nearly out of time and the peoples of the world cannot wait any longer."


Notes to editors

1. At the talks in Cancun, Friends of the Earth called for rich countries to cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020, without resorting to carbon offsetting, and for them to commit to this under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol - the internationally agreed mechanism for legally-binding emissions reduction targets.

Friends of the Earth called for sufficient money to be made available for developing countries to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change already causing damage to their people's livelihoods and families.

The green campaigning charity called for this money to come from public sources, not a global expansion of carbon markets, and to be governed and distributed by the UN through a new Global Climate Fund.

Friends of the Earth believes the World Bank should play no part in providing, managing or distributing this money because it is one of the largest lenders for fossil fuel projects in the world.

Finally, the green campaigning charity called on Governments to agree an approach to protecting forests which works with, rather than against, the interests of those which rely on them, and not to agree measures which would simply mean they end up in the hands of the highest bidder.

2. Friends of the Earth is supporting the campaign for a tax on financial transactions - a Robin Hood Tax - to provide finance for developing countries to develop cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change. For further information visit

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust