Five thousand people flood Copenhagen for climate justice

12 December 2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, December 12 - More than five thousand people from around the world have joined Friends of the Earth International's 'Flood for climate justice' this morning in Copenhagen to demand climate justice and an end to offsetting carbon emissions.

The spectacular, blue-coloured crowd flooded through the streets of Copenhagen with a clear message to decision makers that offsetting carbon emissions - the practice whereby rich industrialised countries pay developing countries to cut emissions rather than making cuts at home - is unfair, and does not lead to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.[1]

Friends of the Earth International believes that carbon offsets, which currently form part of a UN climate agreement, do not lead to any overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. [2]

The 'flood for climate justice' was made up of Friends of the Earth activists from more than twenty different countries, as well as allies of Friends of the Earth from a wide range of social and environmental movements, and a large number of Danish people.

The flood began outside the Klimaforum09, civil society climate conference, with speeches from Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, (Chair of FoE International), Mr. Henry Saragih, (General Coordinator of La Via Campesina) and Ms. Amparo Miciano, (member of the World March for Women's National Coordinating Body in the Philippines) to highlight the social and environmental impacts of climate change, and the struggle against false solutions such as carbon offsetting.

The participants, a majority of them dressed in blue ponchos, then 'flooded' through the streets of Copenhagen, in a colorful procession carrying flags and banners, chanting 'Demand Climate Justice' and 'No Offsetting'.

The event ended in front of the Danish Parliament with the creation of a massive human banner reading "No offsetting'.

The flood also carried messages from people who are directly affected by climate change, or who are struggling against false solutions such as carbon offsetting. These messages form part of a 'climate capsule that is on display at the venue of the UN climate negotiations, and in the Klimaforum civil society climate conference.[3]

Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International chair, stated: "Carbon offsetting has no benefits for the climate or for developing countries - it only benefits developed countries, carbon speculators and major polluters who want to continue business as usual. Friends of the Earth International denounces carbon offsetting as a false solution to the climate crisis, and urges governments to search for fair and sustainable solutions."

Palle Bendsen from NOAH / Friends of the Earth Denmark stated: "It is amazing to see so many people from around the world coming together to form a flood of public opinion against offsetting and to demand climate justice in Copenhagen. The flood for climate justice sends a clear signal to decision makers that the world is watching, and we expect them to find fair and strong solutions to the urgent climate crisis."



[1] Friends of the Earth International believes that it is the rich industrialised countries, who have the historical responsibility for emitting greenhouse gasses, that must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. These cuts must be made without offsetting.

[2] More information on the problems of offsetting carbon emissions can be found in the publication: 'Carbon Offsetting: A dangerous distraction'

[3] The "climate capsule" project of Friends of the Earth International has gathered statements from people and communities affected by climate change, and those struggling against false solutions. See some of the materials online here.

    • Agriculture

      Food and farming in Europe and its global impacts

    • Agrofuels

      Plant-based fuels from agriculture. Also known as biofuels

    • EU-US trade deal

      What’s at stake in negotiations for a transatlantic trade agreement

    • Food speculation

      Betting on foodstuffs, and how to regulate it

    • GMOs

      Genetically modified crops and organisms

    • Land

      Measuring Europe’s land footprint and tackling the drivers of land grabbing

    • Nature

      Standing up for our right to nature

    • Nature

      Standing up for our right to nature

    • Resource use

      Europe’s consumption of land, materials, water and carbon

    • Shale gas

      Unconventional oil and gas, and the ‘fracking’ process

    • Tar sands

      Unconventional oil, also known as oil sands

    • Water use

      Measuring Europe’s water footprint