22 Nov 2013

Climate campaigners protest slow progress

4:28 pm on 22 November 2013

Environmental campaign groups have walked out of a United Nations conference on global warming.

Several hundred people left the talks at Poland's national stadium in Warsaw expressing anger over the slow pace of negotiations on Thursday. However, some of the Government negotiators indicated that a deal was possible on contentious issues.

The talks began almost two weeks ago in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan with an emotional plea for rapid movement from the Philippines' lead delegate, the BBC reports.

Yeb Sano, said it was time to "stop this madness" but his call has fallen on deaf ears according to many civil society groups such as Oxfam, WWF and Action Aid.

"Governments are not doing enough," Oxfam's Celine Charveriat said as she walked out of the talks. We need to tell them you are not allowed to make a mockery of this process. We can't continue to watch in silence. Enough is enough."

Earlier, Japan surprised the meeting by announcing that it would have to significantly revise its targets on emissions cuts, and instead of being able to cut their carbon dioxide by 25% below 1990 levels, the Japanese admitted they would actually rise by 3%.

Australia annoys

There was also annoyance among negotiators from developing countries about the attitude of Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has signalled a more sceptical approach to climate issues.

But campaigners reserved most of their wrath for Poland's government, which gave its backing to a meeting of the coal industry in the capital on Monday, and on Wednesday, sacked the environment minister who was chairing the climate talks.

Participants are trying to develop a framework for a global deal in 2015, that would be legally binding and applicable to all.

Aome richer countries are fighting tooth and nail against the idea of a legally binding compensation arrangement, that in their words, would see them on the hook for every storm in every part of the world, forever, the BBC reports.

The talks are expected to finish on Saturday.