UN climate summit gets 'occupy' warning

S Africa police not to tolerate "criminal acts" as activists demanding "climate justice" gear up for protest in Durban

    The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wants to achieve a reduction in emissions by 2050 [Reuters]

    Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, environmental campaigners calling for "climate justice" are set to protest on Monday at the opening of the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

    Patrick Bond, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, told the AFP news agency that "negotiations have begun with the city on an authorised protest space".
     
    A website dedicated to "Occupy COP17" echoed the frustration of many poorer nations already facing climate-change effects with the slow pace and low ambition of the talks.

    "Inside their assembly and inside their declarations, the needs of the 99 per cent are not being heard," read the declaration on a the site.

    Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa's police minister, said on Friday his country would deploy 2,500 officers at the UN climate talks starting this week.

    "With respect to climate maybe we need an Occupy Durban"

    - Jose Maria Figueres, former Costa Rican president

    "Police will not tolerate criminal acts that are disguised as demonstrations, which in some cases include destruction of property and intimidations," he said.

    The possibility of an Occupy COP17 protest was raised earlier this month by the former Costa Rican president, Jose Maria Figueres, at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Bangladesh.

    "With respect to climate, maybe we need an Occupy Durban," he told OneWorld TV.

    Some climate-vulnerable states have criticised recent proposals from wealthy nations that a legally binding climate pact can wait until the end of this decade.

    Such proposals are "both environmentally reckless and politically irresponsible", Joseph Gilbert, Grenada's environment minister, said several weeks ago on behalf of the 42-nation Association of Small Island States

    The US, along with Saudi Arabia, is refusing to sign the global climate fund as negotiations intensify in the run-up to the UN climate summit, according to the Financial Times.

    Countries had agreed to create the fund last year to channel up to $100bn a year by 2020 to help developing countries help fight climate change.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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