Politicians in fossil fuel era left behind by global movement for change

18 November 2016

The momentum for global action on climate change refused to be overshadowed by the election of a climate denier to the US Presidency, according to Friends of the Earth International, as the international climate conference in Marrakech came concluded today.

Benjamin Schreiber of Friends of the Earth US said: "Climate change is not going to wait for US action and the rest of the world is clear it is moving forward. Trump's election must unify the world in treating the US as a climate pariah, and respond to his Presidency by redoubling ambition."

The renewable energy transformation is already taking place globally, and must continue to be led by people, according to the organisation.

Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo said: "COP22 was billed to be an African COP, and was the launchpad for the African Renewable Energy Initiative; an initiative by Africans for Africans, to leapfrog dirty fossil fuel development and bring clean community-based energy instead. Friends of the Earth groups have fought long and hard to make this initiative a reality and it's a testimony to the work done by African civil society in the fight against energy poverty."

However, little progress was made on crucial issues such as finance, according to Friends of the Earth Togo.

Kpondzo continued: "Dodgy accounting and fishy finance reporting by rich countries means that the millions already experiencing floods and droughts in every corner of Africa will be left to help themselves. Broken promises will not help us survive a crisis we did not create."

Existing pledges are still insufficient to stay in line with the Paris agreement, according to the organisation and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and could lead to over 3ºC of global warming – incompatible with a safe existence for millions on Earth.

Susann Scherbarth, climate justice campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "International discussions on climate change return to Europe next year. Europe needs to take its responsibility seriously and do its fair share, but what we see so far are plans for a 'winter package' that locks Europe in the fossil era and leaves us little chance of meeting the goals of the Paris agreement."

Ann-Kathrin Schneider of Friends of the Earth Germany said: "Next year the COP goes to our country, to Bonn. With Germany also hosting the G20, this will be an important time for citizens to come together to make their voices heard. Leaders must come to Bonn with genuine and ambitious political will to meet the global challenge of climate change, including helping those already being displaced by this crisis. We will be there in our thousands to make sure they don't falter and we will hold our leaders accountable on behalf of people all over the world."

Friends of the Earth International asserts that this powerful movement of people is key to solving the climate crisis.